My first weeks as an intern with Sowing Seeds of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization here in Marion, have been wonderful and challenging. But, for me, this is the most challenging and surprising element of a summer ministry opportunity:
Much of my job as an intern is to do whatever needs to be done. And I LOVE that! If a mission group needs a ladder to work on a home in the area, I get to call local people and then call the people who know those people in search of a ladder. If someone runs out of water, needs directions, or forgot to drop the plywood off at the other construction site…I get to hop in the car with my supervisor, visit the mission groups, and get them what they need. I rarely see the office, I’ve met so many new faces in Marion, and I’m already enjoying reconnecting with some of the kids in town that I met last summer (more about that later).
All of the “running around” is exciting, and taking care of even the smallest things reminds me of my value in Christ and His purpose in Marion, but I never really realize that until the end of the week…on a quiet Sunday evening when I, honestly, have nothing to do.
Student.Go, the student mission board that partners with Sowing Seeds of Hope, really stresses one thing about serving in a summer ministry:
I’ve come to have a love-hate relationship with the idea of reflection because this activity of pausing and dissecting has proven to be the most revealing element of my summer thus far. Student.Go has challenged all of its summer participants to read Psalm 23 each week and reflect on some specific questions related to the daily life of service, and one of the first week’s questions really struck me.
Are you listening for God in whispers or shouts?
Pretty difficult to think about, right? It has been for me. We all have communication problems, but I’ve never even considered the communication problems I have with God. Often times, at the end of the day I lie in by bed, fighting sleep, and pour into pages and pages of my journal trying to explain my life to God. During daily challenges or life-altering moments we all, I think, yearn for God’s guidance and wonder why we can’t hear Him. Sometimes I even feel guilty for not waking up earlier or coming home sooner to have some momentous quiet time with God. Not that that alone time isn’t important…but I still wonder.
Am I listening for God in whispers or shouts?
Today seems like an appropriate day to consider something new and to commit to listening more closely. So far I’ve heard whispers of patience as I tutor a local student who has Down syndrome and shouts of perspective and understanding as I encounter the new faces of those who are drastically different than me. I’ve learned the importance if Godly influence from observing the subtle actions and words of ministers and friends in the area, and I’ve had to face myself, encountering the lies I allow myself to believe about God, service, and Marion.
The summer is just getting started, and I know that there is much left for me to learn and reflect upon…I’m looking forward to sharing even more of both the whispers and shouts that I encounter this summer.