Where Does God Want to Use Me?
Originally posted at: https://anglicanfrontiers.com/where-does-god-want-to-use-me/
Reflections on the New Wineskins Missions Conference
by The Rev. Canon Tad de Bordenave, Founder and first Executive Director of AFM
The sweet fragrance and beautiful colors of autumn covered the Ridgecrest campus in Asheville, NC. In the same way, the winds of the Holy Spirit blew over all and into the minds and hearts of all present at the New Wineskins Missions Conference.
It was a full five days. We had plenary talks and presentations, a dozen or more short talks that covered mission opportunities, and booths of every sort imaginable. Plus, we had the entire Royer family. Their presence truly enriched our time together.
We felt the Spirit in our conversations and our worship, in our prayers and our walks. There was, though, one special place where the Spirit hovered, and that was the cafeteria. He was with us both while standing in line and when looking over the smorgasbord of dishes.
When waiting to get our tray, whoever was ahead or behind us was a stranger no more. While getting knives and forks, we shared our journeys. After all, each of us arrived at Ridgecrest with something on our minds, with questions, interests, or semi-formed goals. Rumbling in our minds were things like: Can God really use me? How could I fit in? And if so, where?
And so the conversations began. Maybe next to us was a cross-cultural worker from Saudi. Or a church member looking for ways to connect. Or a family perched to leave. Or a staff member familiar with each and every angle of AFM.
Whatever their backgrounds, as these friendships emerged, so did a challenge, or an encouragement, or maybe greater clarity. The Spirit’s setup was welcomed, even if not recognized as such.
Then came the smorgasbord, the variety of dishes from western North Carolina. Some were familiar, others a new take on an old favorite, and one a total surprise. There was a similar smorgasbord there, one that displayed the Holy Spirit’s ways in the world today.
These ways emerged as we listened to the testimonies of AFM cross-cultural workers:
- Translators who now had the Gospel of Luke in a Kurdish language. This has revived that language and brought a spiritual identity to them.
- One whose specialty is “poop.” She has brought sanitation to women and familiarity with toilets to her people in Nepal.
- A couple perched to leave. They are only missing destination and passport.
- A worker using Discipleship Bible Study in Cambodia. This has introduced several villages to Jesus and his love.
- And of course, a family facing obstacles in getting to their destination—everything from seemingly unattainable documents to overthrow of the government and mandatory shutdown for weeks.
- The worship expressed our joy and our praise. The Rt. Rev. Quigg Lawrence of the Diocese of Christ our Hope brought inspired and pointed teaching from the Bible. Bishop Lawrence took our attention to the Holy Spirit’s rule over the expansion of the church and the servants he uses.
We continued with prayer—devoted, applied, communal, and specific prayers. We surrounded our cross-cultural workers with our love and support and the laying on of hands.
Throughout the conference we listened for what the Spirit has to say. We left after hours of talks, countless conversations, and pages of meditations and personal insights. And that takes us back to the rumblings in our thoughts and what the Spirit may have spoken to us:
Can he use me? Yes! Those people we heard–not to be personal about any of them but– if God can use them, then, pardon me, he can use anyone! (Full disclosure–I am more ordinary and less qualified than any I met in line.)
How can he use me? The answer to this fits us all. First, prayer. God works in response to prayer. Every cross-cultural worker will tell you that. Learning. The more we learn about God’s forgotten people, the more we grow in love for them. Giving. We met families who are leaving much behind to serve people God wants in his kingdom. We share their mission in the privilege of our financial support. And going. Why not?
Where does God want to use me? That answer comes from recognizing the place he has put on your heart, or the people or family that have held your attention. Now you know where you can dig in—prayer, learning, finding ways to connect, building a support network. And who knows? The wind of the Spirit might be leading you to a next step and deeper involvement. If so, it will be more rewarding and more fulfilling that you ever imagined.