By Elizabeth Batuka, Student.Church Intern
As I reflect on my experience this semester, I am reminded of the instance where Jesus is presented with five loaves and two fish and he multiplies them to feed the starving multitude. This is one of the miracles recorded in all the gospels.
I sometimes wonder whether this miracle would have been possible without the boy presenting his meal of bread and fish to Jesus, I also wonder whether there was someone in the crowd hiding a better lunch. These questions lead me to ask, what role do we have to play in seeing God’s work done here on earth? I know that God is Almighty and does not need our help, but does our inaction hinder moves of God?
I relate to this story because I often feel like the boy with the fish and bread, and often, my service with Student.Church seems like a small lunch that can barely touch any life, let alone fill me up. Yet time and time again, I have witnessed God show up in unexpected ways and use tools that I would not have imagined would be used for the glory of God’s name.
One of the ways that I have experienced God this semester is through trying something new. Like teaching a class of baby boomers who might have different political and religious views than I do or by joining the Christmas choir, even though I cannot read music. I am experiencing God through these places because I am operating out of my comfort zone and allowing God to use me without the confidence of my past successes. It has been challenging yet rewarding to know that I do not need to be perfect to show up in these spaces.
Another instance that I have experienced God is through using my previous experiences. The past summer at First Baptist Church of Roswell ended with me being part of a book study on the church’s role in racial reconciliation. After this, I was not sure what the new semester had in store but as the Fall unfolded, I was asked to co-lead a group therapy session for children who had lost a loved one or witnessed a homicide. When I first heard of this, I was not excited at all. In fact, I doubted the years of training I had in social work and the few recent classes on spiritual care. Even though this was the case, I pressed on.
We met with the children on the first day and I enjoyed every bit of it. I learned so much about grief, mourning and love from these little ones yet, as I gained confidence, we had to temporarily pause the meetings due to logistical issues. During the break, I asked my supervisor if we could open the sessions up to the refugee community, and to my surprise he was ecstatic. He gave me a go ahead and we planned for some friends of mine from Clarkston to visit the church, so we could establish a connection.
This connection will enable refugee families to receive group therapy from First Baptist Roswell, starting, January 2022. I could not be happier! From the time my internship begun, I was questioning my calling and ways that I could use my gifts to better the lives of others. Through the church community at Roswell, I have been supported and trusted to do ministry. I feel honored to be part of a team that is open and willing to continually be used in God’s service.
I am excited at the possibility of what God will do with the loaves and fish that we have presented for service. Do we have to present loaves and fish? How much of our input is needed in God’s service? I am not sure; However, I want to be part of God’s work and not live on the sidelines waiting for a clear answer.
Learn more about Student.Church at www.cbf.net/studentdot.