Hope, Joy, Healing, Love…PRAYER!
Today I am pleased to welcome Cookie Cantwell as our guest blogger for Mission Monday. Cookie is the Director of Youth Ministries at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington, NC and serves as the Province IV Youth Ministries Coordinator. Cookie has been extremely active in wider church youth activities, including the General Convention Official Youth Presence and the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE’14) Mission Planning Team.
Prayer is Essential to Mission
A simple blackboard next to the Altar at the front of the Church with 25 names on it…
Some people may think this blackboard was accidentally left behind from a children’s program in the Church or perhaps it was a temporary list of people who were recognized for something they had done. This simple blackboard with 25 names on it was much more! This simple blackboard has everything to do with an essential component of a mission experience…PRAYER!
PRAYER is the foundation of any mission experience!
Spending intentional time in the presence of God and asking for God to guide you are the first steps as you discern why you are going on a mission experience, when you should go, where you are being called to serve, and who will accompany you on this journey of faith.
As each detail of the mission experience is put together and as each person is called by name to participate, it is essential to have a group of people who are praying for your mission experience, for the “work” that will be done, and for the transformation that will occur.
A simple blackboard with 25 names?
This blackboard is actually the PRAYER LIST from a mission experience that Province IV Youth Ministries shared with the people of Buen Pastor Episcopal Church in Quito, Ecuador. The parishioners of Buen Pastor created this PRAYER LIST as our participants committed to sharing their lives with them.
Each name was added long before our group met in Atlanta to board our plane. As we learned about this culture where we would be serving, this PRAYER LIST created a deep relationship between Buen Pastor and our group. Each day the blackboard with our names on it reminded us that we were there because God called us there to be in relationship with the people of this community. Each PRAYER that was spoken and each PRAYER that was said in the silence of our hearts created a unique and meaningful relationship with these people who have helped shape our lives forever.
Four months later, we are back at home and our nine days in Quito are incredible memories. This life changing experience is still changing our lives. Not only are we allowing God to use our experience in Quito to guide us as we serve God in our daily lives, we know that this simple blackboard is still at the front of Buen Pastor in Quito, Ecuador. Each time the parishioners of Buen Pastor gathers, the Province IV Quito Quest 2013 Mission Group is surrounded by prayer!
A simple blackboard…meaningful relationships…work and service…worship…sharing…hope, joy, healing, love…PRAYER!
That is the essence of mission.