Friday, February 10, 2012
My Best Day in Ministry: Andrea Ward
Today's guest post comes from a new friend, Andrea Ward. We met through blogging and Twitter, and I have become an avid reader of her blog- Jesus, You & Me. I love her heart for ministry and I know you will too. She lives in Hickory, NC- a place where I spent one glorious (and as yet unblogged!) year as a student at Lenoir Rhyne College back in 1977-78. You can follow her on Twitter @citrus_sunshine. Enjoy her post.
This is not the post I wanted to write when I volunteered to do this guest post. My husband and I are new to youth ministry. We are only a few months into full time ministry and 2 years into youth ministry at all. I wanted to write about overcoming challenges with our very broken youth. However, those words weren't coming to me. The words that are coming to me are from several years ago before I was married. I'm not even sure I was out of college yet. For about 5 years I was a counselor at a small inter-denominational youth camp. Being inter-denominational means it is small and not really modern and fancy like other camps I have heard about. This camp and the board that runs it very specifically keep the cost low, $35 for the week. Any child 10-21 is welcome. Of course most who hang around until the 21 age are often drafted into service to the camp. This was me and I was comfortable with that.
This particular "day" is really just a handful of hours in my mind. I really don’t remember anything from the morning or afternoon. What I remember most is the church service. And from the church service, I don’t really remember the sermon. I remember the altar call afterward. As a counselor, I always pray with any kids at the altar. Rarely would they tell me what it was about and I didn’t push them to tell me. I would just pray with them and hug on them if they needed it. Then we would go on to other activities. However there is one girl that sticks out in my mind, one prayer service that keeps running through my head when I think of my best day in the ministry. During the prayer service, I do remember that the directive was to pray about lies Satan tells you.
One girl came forward. We had been worrying about her because of her choice of male accompaniment. You all remember the camp romance right? Anyway, she came forward to pray. I prayed with her and she bared her soul. I prayed with her and told her that all of that was certainly a lie from Satan. I also said that it would be a slow process of retraining her mind to not listen to those lies. Well I was wrong about that because God showed up and changed everything. I’m not for sure about exactly what happened next. If I had to guess one of our girls who had a gift for imparting the Holy Spirit, prayed with her. She regularly prayed with kids and God showed up in big ways. She probably did that again with this girl. After the prayer session was done with for most kids, this girl and 2 others were not done. We took them down to the cafeteria to keep praying. I’m not sure if I stayed by myself or if someone was with me. Anyway, the rest of the campers went on with their games for night activity. I stayed with those girls. God showed up and the room was filled with a nearly tangible presence. The girls were speaking to God in a very intimate way that was only understood between them and God. I remember they were on the floor praying. There was crying and there might have been shouting and there was speaking in tongues. (Yes, tongues. Yes, it was God. Yes, I believe that happens sometimes.) This went on for an hour and half or so. I just waited for them to be done with God. This has happened a time or two before and I was just there as a monitoring presence. I was there keeping God in and others out. So I continued monitoring. When they were done, we joined the other kids and there was a difference. This girl who was broken and used was whole. God healed her then and there. She was a different girl for the rest of the week and every week after that. She eventually went off to some kind of missionary training. She came back a wonderful, beautiful, whole Christian girl who was in love with a great young man and ready to spread the gospel. This was my best day in the ministry that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. Isn't that the way it should be?