Testimony Time

          I am still working on the Seoul stuff but I have some testimonies to share. The first portion is part of the end of my Seoul series but I can’t wait.

It was my first communion after returning home and it was a great day. After foot washing, one of my church members tried to get everyone together for prayer and I grabbed her hand.

“Let’s get this circle started.”

“How are you? How was Korea?’

“Teaching wasn’t for me but I loved living there.”

“You working now?”

“No…”

“Want a job?”

“Yes!”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when you start in a couple of days.”

          So can I get an amen? Just like that, my prayers had been answered. I had been praying for a job for ages. I have done a lot of temporary jobs and I wanted something more stable. This too is a temporary job (at the time I wrote this) but it is at a university where I have worked twice before thanks to that very same sister in Christ doing the Christ-like thing and filling a need where she saw one. It turns out that someone broke their leg and would be unable to work for a few months but God is all up in this situation. He did not answer my prayers the way I hoped but He worked it out for my good and to his glory.

          I feel pretty comfortable at my job, which, as a shy person, is a blessing; however, I always wonder how I can represent God in the workplace. My mom is wonderful at this and I admire her for it. She has started a prayer circle at work, which is going strong, and she regularly talks to and encourages her coworkers in Christ. I am so proud of her, she has come a loooong way. I am nowhere as social as she is so my methods and movements are not as spectacular but I prayed that I could show Jesus at work if only a little and He answered!

          I heard my boss listening to a gospel song and I told her about Urban Praise, which is a wonderful online gospel station that even has two-minute sermon snippets and life advice regularly. It is not an SDA station so there are bits I disagree with but to combat my coworkers’ music and conversations, it is great! I emailed my boss the link and she was pretty excited and thanked me for it. Next, there was a visitor in the office who quoted a gospel song on her way out. I found out her name and sent her the link plus a video of Andrews University’s Deliverance Mass Choir and she loved it. Then I sent the same to my sister in Christ, who works in the same office, so she can have it when she needs a praise break. Last, was another woman in the office who asked me to fix her computer. While in her office, I noticed she was playing gospel music from her iPad. When I was finished, I asked her if she liked gospel and gave her the link too so she could use the online player and save her iPad battery. She really appreciated it and I thought, “God, you are amazing”.

          All of the people whom I had the opportunity to share with have important positions; Coordinator, Associate Vice President, Director, and Associate Director, which makes even more of an impact. They all have offices so they tend to play their music without headphones. They also get many visitors for meetings and whatnot so anyone who steps into their offices can hear it too so it is like passive witnessing in a sense. Even though it was not a huge life-changing thing, I am glad that I could inject a little spirituality into a secular environment.

          One more thing I wanted to write about was my jury duty adventure. I had jury duty on April 23rd and if you have ever gone, you know it is terribly dull, for the most part. I will be the first to say that I am directionally challenged and I consider it a huge victory whenever I get somewhere I am unfamiliar with without incident. Unfortunately, this day was a #fail.  I have no idea what causes this phenomenon but no matter how much I stake out a location, Google it, or write my own tips and tricks, about 85% of the time I come out of subway and walk in the opposite direction of where I should be going and don’t let there be more than one exit, I will wander aimlessly in the labyrinth. Anyway, what should have been a 5-minute walk, most of it around the perimeter of the courthouse itself, turned into a 30-minute excursion.

          I walked to the end of the block and asked someone to point me in the right direction and after two blocks and a left, I arrived at the federal courthouse…not the civil courthouse where I was supposed to be. And now I know that there are two courthouses…in close proximity to each other. I asked a security guard for help. After two more blocks and another left, I was on the right track. There was a girl talking to a guard a ways ahead of me. As I got closer, I could hear the guard giving her directions so I asked the girl if she was going to the courthouse for jury duty, she was so I told her to come with me. She had a hard time navigating and was anxious since she was not familiar with the downtown area. We walked and I told her what to expect since it was her first time serving.  Even after all that, we made it on time.

          A few years ago, I would have overheard the guard giving directions as I passed by and walked ahead on my own, not to purposefully be rude and unhelpful but just to avoid interacting. Putting in earphones, sometimes with no music playing, taking the long way to circumvent people, reading, talking on the phone, or pretending to so I can avoid speaking to anyone; I still do things like this sometimes but not nearly as often as I used to. I do not want my ways to prevent me from being kind and I definitely do not want to miss out on helping someone in need or showing the love of God because Jesus did not but sometimes I get overwhelmed and quickly revert to old ways (that’s a lesson in itself and Peter comes to mind). These things may seem like small potatoes but it is progress for me so these small things make me excited about my spiritual and personal growth.

*Bonus I found out the next week that my job term is likely to be extended, this week someone asked me was I still interested in another job and a contact I have in Korea said he will be contacting me about a job there.

 

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I Have to Tell It!

            A while ago, I had the opportunity to share a testimony with my church family as well as pray as special prayer during the Sabbath School program in regards to attendance. And it goes a little something like this:

Good morning church,

            The testimony I would like to share with you is that lately, I have really been enjoying church. I am changing mentally and spiritually in a good way and I am excited about it. My favorite part of church is Sabbath School. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy the sermon and the music but if the sermon is the main course, the music is the appetizer and Sabbath School is the salad. It whets my appetite for the spiritual meal to come. Not only that but Sabbath School is the only part of the service where we get to interact with each other on the mental level and have a meeting of the minds. I think it is wonderful that we can share our thoughts with each other as well as learn from each other. Because I enjoy Sabbath School, it makes me a little sad when so many people miss it. I have dreams of Sabbath School being attended like 11 o’clock service and of 11o’ clock service being packed! I want to come to church to fellowship with like-minded people. I have been too blessed not to come. I have truly been showered by God’s grace and I am so happy that I want everyone to feel like I do. I feel so happy that I want to sing about it. [In fact, I will (insert “Amazing Grace” here)]. Have a blessed Sabbath.

            I took off my glasses, held my mom’s hand and closed my eyes (insanely nervous) and I sang “Amazing Grace”. I may be going abroad soon so I wanted to do that for her before I left. I thought I might chicken out so I would have just said, “Have a blessed Sabbath” and skipped the singing but I did it y’all! I sang for my mama! A little later I said my prayer for Sabbath School.

            Father we humbly come before your throne of grace to pray a special prayer for Sabbath School. Some of us work hard all week but when it comes to Saturday we just forsake the holiness of your Sabbath and keep hitting snooze while taking your patience for granted. Please grant us receptive spirits. Change our hearts and minds so we are motivated and joyful about coming to Sabbath School. We pray that you will ease our weariness from the workweek and remove the weight from our shoulders before the Sabbath even begins so we can enjoy it in its fullness feeling relieved, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to fellowship with our church family in Sabbath School. In your name we pray, amen.

I Have A Testimony (…cont.)

           After I prayed, I waited and prayed some more. I did not worry or stress out but I prayed. The Monday morning of the taping I checked my email and there was a letter from school saying that I would not be granted my M.A. but I had fulfilled the requirements for a professional certificate and that they would retroactively enter me into the program so I could get my certificate for the Fall 2012 semester. Honestly, for a minute I was pissed. I felt like a failure and like all my hard work had gone to waste. Then I realized that God had answered my prayer. I asked for the situation to work out favorably so I would have a praise report to share and that is what happened. It did not happen the way I expected but I could have ended up with nothing at all and that realization changed my attitude in a heartbeat and all I could say was “thank you God!” (and then call my mom and tell her everything).

            Up until the taping, there was a little confusion as to whether I would give a praise report or prayer request. Whatever I had to do I was prepared for but nervous and it got worse, the closer it came for me to speak on camera and in front of the congregation. With every scheduled portion that passed I got more and more anxious. Then, something amazing happened…technical difficulties. The live feed cut out before the speakers ahead of me took the floor and they had to improvise (with some fancy iPhone technology). After that I was skipped! My heart raced as I thought about making it to the end without having to say anything. I was in the process of trying to become invisible and melt into my seat when Pastor Franklin called me up front (face palm). He asked me to give a prayer request (cool, I didn’t have to tell all my school business just yet).

            My prayer request was that in light of our congregation going through the process of discovering and utilizing our spiritual gifts, God would grant us an enthusiastic, refreshed spirit and that we would remember how we felt when we first came to know Christ and apply that attitude to our work for the church. Of course, I want to extend this prayer to cover all those who have a relationship with God and desire to do his will.

            Whew! That was a lot! I really wanted to share this testimony though and I feel like I would be doing God a disservice not to. He worked out my school situation, changed my attitude and made it so that I did not have to be on TV (looking like a deer caught in the headlights). I find that even when I pray for something, sometimes I do not even realize that God has taken care of it but this was very specific and “wow”! I had to tell it!

I Have A Testimony

           I have a testimony that I just have to share about the power of prayer. For the past six months I have been having a hard time in school. Basically I messed up big time and I was informed that I would not be receiving my M.A. in CSI after four semesters and about $80,000 of federal debt and without passing “Go” or collecting $200. Not only that, I could not reapply for admission. I was crushed. I poked, prodded and pleaded with my professors (very respectfully of course) and anyone else I thought could help me but the most pertinent thing I did was pray. I was scared, anxious, numb; all I could think was “if only I had…”.

           My parents never pressured me or made me feel like I was worth any less for making mistakes and I love them for it. In other words, the monkey on my back was me. I knew that even though I could always depend on myself to get into an unsavory situation, I could only depend on God to get me out. In the midst of all that, my pastor called me and asked me to give a praise report for the live segment of “Let’s Pray” that was being filmed at my church. Now, I am notoriously shy and usually say “no” to actions that require me to stand in front of an audience but I opened my heart and just said “yes” (then I immediately regretted it and got nervous). I was having a hard time and had no clue what I was going to share because at that point I was not a happy camper.

       From the time Pastor Taylor called me (Thursday 1/3/12) until the taping on 1/14/12 I had eleven days. I can rarely get anything involving school administration done on Fridays (everyone has mentally checked out by 12 pm) and weekends are unproductive so that gave me seven days to work on the school situation. Then I thought “eureka!” I will give a praise report about school. By then, hopefully I should have some good news. I let go of the reigns, stepped out on faith and trusted God fully. And no, I did not pray those “If you do this for me, I will never…again” or “I do not know what is going on God but your will be done” prayers (like Pastor Franklin mentioned to the effect of many an “amen” and head nods). I was open, honest and prayed for what I wanted while claiming his promises.

           I prayed something like this: God, I come before you with a spirit of boldness but humbly as well. You are King of kings and Lord of lords and capable of all things great and small. You know the mess I am in and this situation is catastrophic. I am solely relying on the faith that you require of me and asking you to handle this problem. You said that if I ask I will receive (Matthew 7:7) and that you will be my refuge in the time of trouble (Psalm 9:9). Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast (Psalm 57:1). God I want you to work out my school situation favorably so I can have a praise report by the Monday of the taping at church. In fact, I believe that it will happen and I will be waiting for it so that I can share my testimony about the power of prayer and faith so that others may be encouraged; in your holy name I pray, amen.

              To be continued…