I am grateful for both my family and those who surrounded me at Oak Park Friends Church. It is easy to see God was present in our daily lives. I was surrounded by Christians who lived faithfully before God, serving him and encouraging others to find their path with God. Scriptures were taught and memorized. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Here I was also introduced to a strong sense of purpose in life. God loves and redeems us, but he also has a plan for us in the Kingdom.
In elementary school I wanted to know how God would use my life. I wanted it to be one of service. When I announced I wanted to become a teacher I thought it might surprise a lot of people. It didn’t. Apparently others could see the direction my life was developing. From that time on my choices would reflect that decision. It was not always easy, but God gave me a determined spirit.
I was called to a “ministry” but needed to figure out what ministry meant. Here, I was blessed with examples and practice. At Oak Park the youth group was given time on a regular basis to be in charge of the Sunday evening worship service. That involved organizing and some speaking. I helped start a Youth for Christ group in our high school. That involved a lot of organization and speaking. I helped in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, Children’s Church, at Girl’s Camp and Tween Camp, and taught Sunday School classes. I learned ministry was being faithful to represent Christ in life, and being the face of Christ while working with others. I learned that I needed to prepare and pray.
I was an elementary teacher in the public schools for 30 years, and continued to feel called to a ministry within the school system. I might not have been able to teach as I did with kids in a church setting, but I could serve the needs of children. I prayed for the children and the concerns of their lives. I encouraged them in their spiritual development as I taught values and a higher standard to strive toward. I enjoyed their conversations of faith. Some of our subjects brought an expression of their spiritual backgrounds. There were times when I saw a direct fulfillment of God’s leading. Other times I trusted that God would finish where he had given me an opportunity to plant a seed. It was a ministry where I could serve God’s purpose and give God the glory.
I am retired from the public schools. But I still carry a concern that children learn about God’s love and are cared for as they learn God’s Word and direction. This summer I plan to help with the Peace Playhouse at Camas Friends Church.