If there’s one word that seems to be impressed on my heart and mind lately it is “listen.” I’ve been encouraged and challenged to listen to God and others. I’ve been reminded of how difficult, yet truly important it is to listen to others. This past week in particular there were several occasions that once again pressed upon me the important act of listening.
The first was in our small group on Sunday night. We had the privilege of having Doreen and Mark Olson visiting from Chicago and Doreen lead the group in a listening exercise as we read Scripture together. It was so encouraging to hear people share what they were hearing from God as we entered Scripture together. And as the group continued, and people shared their realities and the difficulties that they are facing, I was thankful for this safe space for people to be listened to. One person gave a special thanks to Doreen for really listening to what he was saying. We all have a need to be heard and yet how rare it can be to find someone who will create a safe space for us where we feel truly listened to. I walked away from Sunday night realizing that if there is a really vital part of our ministry here, it is that of listening to others.
The second time was on our mission retreat. Once a year we take a retreat with the other North American Covenant missionaries and this year we were able to have our Norwegian colleagues join us. It was a wonderful time away for our family to play together and to interact with our partners in ministry. Again, Doreen lead our devotional time together each day and the focus was on listening to each other. Our task was to share our stories with one another and listen attentively to each other. It was powerful to hear how my friends have experienced God at work in their life and to see their passion for serving in Colombia. It was an important time for each of us to share a little of who we are, and who God has been in our lives. It was an important experience for me in listening. At the end of the time together we are able to bless each other, with a special blessing we had written for someone else in the group.
May we continue to cultivate the discipline of listening to God and others as we journey together in this life of faith.