By Marilyn Good
Stephen Ministers undergo 50 hours of training and role-playing in preparation for being active listeners for our care receivers. But nothing fully prepares you for some events that lead to spiritual growth in unexpected ways. Praying aloud with another was a challenge for this contemplative, but I learned at our first meeting it was important to my new care receiver. The fact that our first meeting took place in a Starbucks was challenging. The fact that the man at the next table decided to hit on my care receiver was even more challenging. Let’s just say women of a certain age don’t expect that thing at the coffee shop. Nonplussed, I suggested we take our coffee to go and we adjourned to stand under a tree in the parking lot. Not knowing what else to do I just set my purse down on the ground, took her hands, took a deep breath and waited for the Spirit to bring me some words.The Spirit did not let me down. Months later, as we were ending our caregiving relationship, she told me that was one of the best introductions we could have had and how it had brought her a chuckle in the midst of her life’s challenges to think of me just plopping down my purse and praying there in the parking lot. I’m more comfortable praying with another now, and I’m certainly more trusting that the Spirit will give me words when my own fail—unexpected gifts of service.
Stephen Ministers at First United Methodist Church help serve this congregation and community. We are here to help in a time of need. If you or someone you know needs a Stephen Minister, someone to listen and care, please contact the church office at (512) 478-5684 and ask for a Stephen Leader or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All contacts are confidential.