So tonight some of us shared our call stories. Posted below is not the one I shared tonight, but it is the one that I shared on my application to become a mission intern. I encourage you, as you feel lead, to let me know how God is working in your life, and share your stories with me!
I was raised in a Christmas/Easter Catholic sometimes family. Some of my fondest memories revolve around my Grandmother praying with us when we would visit her house. Grandma would sit on the pull-out couch in the living room with my sisters and I, as we asked God to watch over everyone–from Mom and Dad, to our dog and the class fish. As we grew older and my parents divorced, God was someone that was there, but I was entirely too busy for church especially since we moved around too much for any kind of stable church life. That is not to say that we did not run the gambit of churches over the years.
I came to the United Methodist Church when I attended to Winthrop University. A good friend invited me to come to this group where there would be a free home-cooked meal and awesome people–who can say no to that? I soon found home. The community and love radiating from the Wesley Foundation resulted from the love we had for our Creator. It was so different than the religious communities that I had experienced as a child. For a while I attended a very conservative Baptist church, and when I visited Mass with my father, I dodged the holy water fearing it would burn my skin. We tried out a very (at the time) frightening church where people hollered and fell out into the aisles. I was told that the fear was the devil, and if I continued to be scared I would go to hell. Needless to say, though I believed in a benevolent, loving God, I was also in complete fear of His wrath; I was a bit confused… It did not help that none of this was explained to me at all. So I showed up at this Wesley Foundation, and I find, for the most part, the complete opposite of my previous religious experiences. It was about love, service, and community. It was the most accepting, non-judging place I had ever been. Wesley was what I had thought, deep down, that church should have always been; I had been missing out on the good stuff for my entire life. In fact, I enjoyed Winthrop Wesley so much I joined the United Methodist Church and was finally baptized about two years ago.
Winthrop Wesley has shown me so much about the love of God, what it means to be a child of God, and how, as God’s people, we are called to serve with each other for the betterment of our world while bringing God’s kingdom to Earth. During hundreds of hours of domestic and international service with the Wesley Foundation, I have come to realize that my life might need to be about missions. We have served in a variety of ways: construction, men’s shelters, raising money for Church World Service, and so on. I share a common philosophy with Rev. Narcie Jeter, Director of Winthrop Wesley: direct hands-on service is amazing and wonderful, but we, as a part of this world and as Christians, cannot turn a blind eye to the problems of our people. We must strive to be informed about what is going on with the people with whom we share this planet. My eyes have been opened to true poverty, hunger, human trafficking, and many other injustices that are not occurring just in Africa or India, but right here in Rock Hill, SC–in my back yard. I have been blessed with so much; the worst thing I could ever do is squander all I have been gifted in an office helping rich old people. That is not the lid to my pot. I want to serve with people to bring God’s kingdom to Earth, here and now. To show even one person that the love and grace of God is endless and here for each of us would be my greatest blessing. God’s work is my passion. I want to devote my life to missions domestically and all over the world.