The second blog in our "Thankfulness in Ministry Series."
How did you get called into the Shine ministry?
Growing up, I hated school. Really, really hated it. I felt like it was a total waste of my time, and viewed my teachers as the leading experts on soul crushing and fun killing. The smell of the place (yup - elementary, middle, and high all smelled the same), the sound of the bells, the look of the portable buildings…they all give me this anxious nausea.
Why would I ever go back?
Along with the nausea-inducing sights, smells and sounds, public school brought me into close contact with the most precious creatures this world holds…people. And these people, they made a deep, lasting mark on my heart.
Sam, undoubtedly the smartest kid to ever attend Manzano High, lived in abject poverty just across Lomas from me. He made me laugh every time I talked with him. Kelly often passed out at her desk. She sought comfort from the horrors of her life through cutting and probably drugs. Heather’s sister showed up at lunch one time to say good-bye to her…she was 16, and had decided to run away. I cried with Heather through the day. Tamara’s mom was a Buddhist, her dad an atheist. She taught me how to ask great questions, how to listen, and how to be a great friend to a person who completely disagreed with my worldview.
Ms. Fletcher could have been a professor at an Ivy League school, but she loved us NM kids. She cried when we experienced sudden strokes of “brilliance”. Oh, I could go on and on all day. Public school is the place where the extraordinary, the needy, the hopeless, the anxious, the noble, and the hurting collide. It is an incredible slice of society, and a surefire place to find people who are desperate for the hope only God can give them.
When Mountain Christian Church first had the opportunity to be partnered with a Title 1 APS school through Shine, I just felt like God was saying, “Here you go, Ash….all you’ve ever wanted.”
Did I ever think I’d want to go back to public school? Of course not. However, to invest in the lives of the needy, to be an agent for change in a young one’s life, to bring relief to the suffering, to strengthen the trembling hands of those on the front lines (teachers), and to do it all in the name of Jesus Christ? Honestly, it seemed too good to be true. It is the ministry of my dreams.
How have you seen God work in you and your volunteers through your ministry?
Wow…has my faith, and the faith of my Shine teammates…grown by leaps and bounds through this ministry! We have had such little control over this thing, and have had to simply trust God at every turn. Would the principal and staff of a public school really welcome the help of a church? Would we have enough volunteers to help at the events we were actually invited to help with? Would the love of God really be communicated through our efforts? Would we have enough resources to actually make a difference there? And, what does making a difference even look like? What are we supposed to do with all the overwhelming need that exists there?
We have prayed hard; and at every turn, God has opened doors, built relationships, and lavished abundance in ways that only He can. We often find ourselves giggling over His goodness, because it bowls us over time and again.
What has been the hardest aspect of saving and how did God use that to grow you?
Uncertainty. Shine is an uncharted ministry. I often say, “I have no idea what I’m doing”, because I really don’t. I like routine, and I like to have a plan, and Shine lends itself to neither. The wonderful thing about this is that I know that the success God brings to Shine has nothing to do with my efforts….it’s ALL Him; and the uncertainty of it all keeps me coming back to His throne for wisdom and grace.
What are you most thankful for in your ministry?
I am most thankful for the relationships that God has built between us at MCC and our A. Montoya family. What a privilege it is to share laughter, tears, victory, and struggle with the kids, parents, and staff at our school. While we’ve been honored to serve them, they have blessed us in countless ways. Diving into another’s world when you don’t “have to” always begs the question: “Why? Why are you doing this?” Our friends at A. Montoya don’t really ask us this anymore.
The love of Christ that inevitably sloshes out of us and onto them is obvious. They get it now…we don’t serve them so we can feel good about ourselves or gain converts or show off our generosity. We love them because God loves them. That’s it.
We are so grateful to Ashley for sharing her heart for God and the Shine Ministry with us! What an inspiration to see how God uses His ministries to transform lives! Click here for the rest of Ashley's insights on how serving through Shine has made her more grateful, trusting and aware of God's presence in a few days!
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Men’s Bible Study Fellowship starts THIS Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30pm in the MCC Library. This year they will be studying “Acts and Letters of the Apostles”. BSF provides an in-depth, international Bible study that helps people know God and equips them to effectively serve the Church. Contact Tom Young.
Women’s Community Bible Study begins this week; September 10th and 11th! The evening group meets Tuesdays at 6:30pm in the Fellowship Hall beginning September 10 and the morning group meets Wednesdays at 9:15am beginning September 11! Childcare is provided for the Wednesday study only. Contact Pam Cravens.
The Women’s Peacemaking Study is Thursdays at 10:00am in the Conference Room beginning September 19. This study offers a meaningful, lasting message to lead you out of conflict and into a state of peace where you can live as a representative of Christ to other women and unbelievers. Contact Christine Leggett.
MCC Elders are hosting a 4-week Foundations Class starting September 15. This class is designed to better help you get to know MCC - who we are, what we believe and why, and how to get connected. Please sign up with Sarah.
With winter coming the Wood Ministry is already getting calls requesting wood but we need men, women, and couples to serve as sponsors! For those interested in learning about Wood Ministry sponsorship, there is a training Saturday, October 12th at 9:00am in the conference room. We would love to share what it means to be a sponsor and how sponsorship through the wood ministry changes lives by helping people see their own value and build their own support systems by sharing our time and a few cords of wood. Contact Sarah at the church office.
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Are you interested in being a witness for Christ in a remote part of the world? Have you wondered if a short-term mission trip is right for you? If so, join us for an informational meeting to discuss our Spring 2020 Bolivia Mission trip with Food for the Hungry next Sunday, September 8th after 2nd service in the Youth Hall. Contact Jennifer Ward.
Sisters in Stitches is meeting Wednesday, September 11 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm in the Fellowship Halll. All SIS and interested women are encouraged to join us to fellowship and discuss on-going plans for this ministry. Snacks will be provided. Contact Davra Clayton for more information and to RSVP .
ABQ Biblical Counseling is hosting "A Biblical Response to Mental Health Conference” September 13-15 at Desert Springs Church. Registrations will be accepted until September 12th! Visit abqbcc.com for more information.