Member Mission Reflection for Sunday, May 31
by Jocelyne Erkenbeck
John 3: 1-17 says “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world… .”
I never thought of myself as much of a missionary, certainly not a missionary to far-off lands. But God works in strange and powerful ways.
Though I was educated to be a nurse, I have long had a God-given talent as a teacher. Many years ago, I started helping a neighbor’s children with their schoolwork. I found myself able to help them and others learn quickly and effectively.
A big part of my teaching is showing love, understanding, and continual encouragement. Amazingly, I am having an effect all around the world.
When I moved to the Plattsburgh area and needed work, I was blessed with a job at an organization that teaches people to read and to understand spoken English. Many of students are from foreign countries. Some will stay in the US; some will move elsewhere. But each of them will receive encouragement and love from me.
Many of my students are plagued by paralyzing fears. I understand these fears, for I have had them myself and occasionally still do. But God has not condemned me for my fears and hesitations. Instead, bit by bit, He has encouraged me, sometimes gently, sometimes more forcefully. I do this with my students, reassuring them, again and again “You can do this… You can do this; you do not have to be afraid to try.”
A few months ago a college student I work with, a woman from a foreign country, was ready to drop out of her academic program. I encouraged her over and over and over to not give up and to continually believe in the gifts she had been given. That encouragement paid off. This woman found a way to stay in her program, one which will take longer for graduation but will still take her to her goals.
Occasionally one of my foreign students will come to Trinity with me for worship. But that is not my primary goal. I want each of my students to experience God’s love, God’s encouragement, through me. That love and encouragement, bit by bit, is spreading around the world.
Are there simple ways that you are spreading God’s love beyond your immediate community?