When I was in high school I had lots of opportunities to share with strangers about God, but the people I really wanted to tell – those friends and family closest to me, I felt like I couldn’t because I wasn’t always the best daughter or sister or friend. Satan did a great job making me feel guilty enough about misbehaving at home or bad choices I made that I had no opportunity to be a witness for Jesus to those family and friends closest to me. For years I have felt that I was actually a hindrance in them seeing how awesome God really is.
I have had a heart for ministry for a long time. When I was in elementary and middle school it started with the elderly… spending time with those in nursing homes, playing games, reading, listening, praying, singing. Some of my fondest memories of my 5th-8th grade years are of the hours I spent volunteering at the nursing homes where my Mom worked. There is so much from those years that I don’t remember… but I can still clearly hear Catherine, this tiny little Jamaican woman, stooped over from age (99 years on this earth if I remember correctly), her eyes foggy, and her mind sometimes foggier, reciting the 23rd Psalm just as strong and clear as can be:
Psalm 231The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
I am sure the 23rd Psalm never sounded so lovely as when Catherine recited it in her thick Jamaican accent with eyes closed and hands lifted toward heaven. I cried the day she went home to be with Jesus, but I also smiled because I know that she was dancing on streets of gold, standing up straight and eyes seeing perfectly. She liked to do this funny little jig when she got really excited and started talking about going to heaven and being with Jesus. I can still picture her, eyes all lit up and sparkling, gazing off into the distance as if she could actually SEE heaven.
When I was in 8th grade I began working with children and LOVED it. The summer after 9th grade I taught VBS for the first time and was hooked. I had almost every job with kids that you can imagine in the years that followed… Sunday school teacher, camp counselor (overnight and day camp), babysitter, Nanny, tutor, after school care counselor. I helped start and facilitate a Bible Study in my secular high school, and then the year after I graduated God gave me a heart and vision for youth ministry. I began serving in the youth ministry at my church and did so for the next year before I left to attend Bible College to pursue a degree in teaching (my first love) and youth ministry.
I had always had a heart for international missions, especially orphans, and while in college I tried several times (unsuccessfully) to go on a mission trip. In my junior year, while taking a semester off from college, I felt the pull toward international missions more strongly and thought this would be the path God would take me on. Senior year I met and married the man that God brought me to share my life with, and let’s just say, international missions is not his calling at this time. 🙂 We had our first child 19 months after we got married and I have stayed home ever since… over 3 years now. So I have prayed for God to give me some area of ministry where I am.
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