Journal # 12

                January 17, 2010: Back in November, when I promised my supervising minister that I will go and preach at her two point charge on January 17, 2010, my thought was “Oh, we still have a lot of time”… WOW! The day arrived faster than expected. Yes, today was one of those days that sneaks up on you without any warning. It ended up being an amazing day, however, a day where I am assured once again that I am on the right path, on this journey of life. Despite the hardships and the obstacles that come my way, I am realizing more and more that God is with me no matter what. The funny part is, whenever I realize this, all the hardships become nil next to the blessings – What a concept…

                It has already been over eighteen weeks for my being here, at the pastoral charge to complete my internship. I have gotten used to being at the same churches for this long, but once again I had to stretch out and go to another charge. My favourite phrase, “Get out of my comfort zone” was ringing in my mind repeatedly. Every time I have to do something different, it is very scary. I am certain that most of you agree with me on that.  

                I asked myself why I do this to myself.  Why would I bother to go to another charge to preach – it is not part of my learning goals. Please do not get me wrong, I have not conquered the art of preaching and I have a long way to go, but I have been doing services, preaching, etc, since 2002, so why would I bother? The only answer I got in my heart was, “Because your supervisor has been such a great person to work with. She has been an encouraging power to help you grow; and it is only fair for her to hear you preach first hand”. I cannot argue this one for sure! God always wins. How do I know that is the discerning Spirit of God? Because God always demands us to get out of our comfort zone. I believe being a Christian is an ongoing struggle between doing what is right for the GOOD of all and doing GOOD for the GOOD of the Self. So, whenever you ask the question and the answer is a selfish “ME”, then evaluation is needed. Our motives must be Christ Driven, Christ Centered and the self has to be denied.   

                Most of you know by now that one of my favourite hymns is “How Great Thou Art” and as a gift to the congregations, I promised to sing it to them in Armenian. I had not practiced the song with the musicians of the charge; but, I trusted God and drove to the first church in Newboro. A small, quaint, and newly finished floor in the sanctuary called out to me, “God provides all our needs”, was the first service. Just last summer or fall, the church was having some bat issues in their attic. By prayer, trust and community unity the issues were solved and the bats had a brand new home to live in and all the debt for the renovations were paid up. When I say community I do not only refer to the community of the church but the entire community outside the walls of the church.  Talk about a provider, God! The Words of Jesus, “Ask and you shall receive” were not just written in the Bible anymore for this community, they had become living words. What a gift to be able to smell the scent of just finished floors… I apologize to all who are allergic to varnish, but I just love that “new” scent (It will give me a headache after a while too, but I just love it).

                The service went well. Right after the sermon I offered the gift of music to the congregants. For the first time in my life, I sang a solo accompanied by two guitars. The musicians did a wonderful job accompanying me. I do not know how they did it. No practice, except once before the service and on top of that they had to accompany a solo in foreign language to them. It truly sounded like we had practiced for so long. These guys are pros and they pulled it off amazingly. Thanks be to God.

                After the first worship ended we rushed to the second church. When I say rush, I mean rush… There was no grace period in between churches. We literally had to put the pedal to the metal and get there…  

                Well, this second sanctuary is a little bigger and has a circular shape. Its shape almost tells me that all who are sitting here are embraced by the invisible loving arms of God. Isn’t that a beautiful image? I think so. The choir had a special song for me, yes, for me and it is called: “The Longer I Serve Him”, Words and Music by William J. Gaither 1965.

 Since I started for the Kingdom,
Since my life He controls,
Since I gave my heart to Jesus,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.

The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him, more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.

Ev’ry need He is supplying,
Plenteous grace He bestows;
Ev’ry day my way gets brighter,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.

I was there to share my story and offer the gift of music to them; here I was blessed, assured and nourished by this poignant song… I was in tears (it does not take much to get tears flood my eyes).

                At the end of the service, I was able to shake everyone’s hand and wish them a blessed week. A gentleman came up to me with tears in his eyes and told me in French, which I will not attempt to write here, “You have touched my heart, thank you”. This made it all worth it. This one comment stuck with me and I do know that his image will not leave my mind anytime soon.

                I believe that when I meet someone who shares such a moment with me after I have done a service or a visit; I am reminded of why I am where I am. I may not have the riches that the world brainwashes us to have and to work hard for, but I do know now that TRUE RICHES are invisible and they can only be attained in our memories, hearts and souls. Isn’t that worth living/working for?

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