Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
This passage has been the most foundational in my life regarding how I approach serving and ministering to others. Before I became an overseas missionary, I had spent a lot of time serving in various roles at churches, Christian camps, mission trips, and on my college campus. I knew how to plan, to prepare, and ‚Äòmake things happen ! But after a few months overseas of what felt like banging my head against a wall as I tried to implement all those acquired tools, I began to discover the real power in outreach that had nothing to do with my own skills, talents, or plans. It was prayer. I didn t give up planning and preparing altogether, but I definitely began to prioritize more time to spend on my knees; humbling my heart before the Lord. I began to seek His heart for the people I was trying to serve. I began to beg Him to do a work in their heart, in their homes, in their lives, and in their city. It became less about me, and way more about Him.
I find myself at the same crossroads as I approach mentoring. I can plan for an awesome hang out time with my protege. I can prepare the most top notch questions to accompany that. Or whatever I think will work to reach out to her best, and it often crashes and burns. She is quiet for the ride. She doesn t like whatever we are doing. She is unresponsive. But the times that I spend more time praying for her, for our time together, and for the Lord to be present with His Spirit, those are the times that I am blown away! Great conversations that I couldn t have imagined. Praying together. Talking about spiritual things. Open hearts. And I walk away shaking my head. There s no formula to make them happen; just a humbleness before the Lord asking for Him to use me, to empower me with His Spirit, and do all that in His timing. And honestly, maybe it s more the perspective shift (off myself and onto the Lord) that blows me away, because I m no longer needing to succeed or ‚Äòpreform ; just remain faithful to follow the Lord. Who knows! Prayer is such a marvelous, beautiful mystery in the Christian life. And while I don t fully comprehend or grasp it, I definitely want to continue to be humbled and seek Him (and my protege’s heart) through it.
-Christina Hickman, Mentor Coordiantor