July 2012 - Vol. 61
I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in the autumn of 2011 to do a Kairos GAP year of service with the Ann Arbor University Christian Outreach (UCO) chapter. I had previously been involved with the UCO chapter at the University of Pittsburgh, so I was looking forward to continuing that kind of service in Ann Arbor as part of my Kairos GAP year helping other people come to know the Lord. And I was asked to serve with UCO’s Asian outreach program. I enjoyed my involvement with the staff and getting to meet Asian students. A key lesson for me occurred in January of this year. The UCO staff had decided to do a six-week Life in the Spirit course, referred to colloquially as Life in the Spirit Fridays (LSF) beginning in mid-January, and I was asked to serve as a discussion group leader for any Asian women who might attend.
I was pretty excited. Finally, the opportunity to serve the Lord doing something I felt I was already good at: listening to women share about their experiences, and praying with them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I spent most of December encouraging Asian women already in contact with UCO to attend the course. I was confident that the Lord was going to use me to build his kingdom, if only I worked hard enough.
But not a single women I had contacted came to the first session of the course. I was pretty hurt, because I took their lack of attendance personally. At course team meeting after that first session, I asked my supervisor what I had done wrong. He simply asked if I had spent any time the previous week interceding for the course. I blushed and sheepishly admitted that I had not. He suggested that I take an hour to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance before following up with the women I had invited.
That evening, as I prayed, the Lord led me to a passage from 1 Corinthians 3: 5-7 that altered my attitude about serving in that Life in the Spirit course as well as my whole my GAP year. Paul writes:
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.I realized in reading the passage that what I had done wrong was to trust in myself rather than relying on the Lord. I did not trust that the Lord would bring the women to the course, so I tried to compensate with get-togethers over coffee, Facebook messages, and clever e-mails.
Until the course, I had fought hard to maintain control over my work. Since the GAP year was such an experience of relinquishing control over all other areas of my life and giving them to the Lord, I clung tightly to controlling this particular area of my service. Interceding for the course showed me that my work was not my own, but the Lord’s, and I had to offer this area over to him. I began to pray that these women would personally desire to know the Lord Jesus Christ even if they would never attend the course.
A couple of days later Shuyi, one of the women I had invited to the course, agreed to attend. Over the next several weeks, she learned about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and charismatic worship. We had rich discussions together on topics such as “How do you know God exists?” and “What is the difference between faith and luck?” At the final night of the course, at her request, we prayed for her to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Praying with her was definitely a highlight of my GAP year.
Since the course, the Lord has given me a lot of freedom about my control issues. He has taught me the importance of coming before him each morning in prayer and offering him my day. Learning to trust in the Lord has strengthened my relationships with my housemates, supervisors, and co-workers. Trusting in the Lord also made me more patient, compassionate, and willing to accept authority. Most importantly, learning to trust the Lord as my Master has made me a better servant.
[Rebecca DePoe, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, comes from a Presbyterian background. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 with a degree in history and literature. In the autumn of 2012 she will be returning to Pittsburgh to continue to serve the Lord on staff with UCO at the University of Pittsburgh.]
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