Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Anna Metzger reflects on giving her gifts and talents to all those she encounters. Through a happenstance reply, she recounts how God has provided through her with a renewed gratitude and awareness.
In my last blog, I challenged you to “be attentive to the present and step into the moments where God calls you to be in ministry.” This goes hand in hand with the phrase God gave me as I sat down to write this next blog.
Give what is given to you at the time presented to you.
Each month, I send out an e-newsletter to update my supporters on my time in Bolivia. After sending out my last update, a dear friend responded and said, “I love that you are using so many of your strengths while there – leading worship, making awesome videos, keeping up with relationships, teaching… you got it all!” Her words hit me as I hadn’t even stopped to think about all the different ways the Lord has been using me. Throughout life, I have developed different strengths and skills; some God-given talents, and others learned and practiced. God didn’t simply draw out of a hat to choose what strengths, skills, and talents He would give me. Rather, He intentionally created me with certain capabilities and placed me in situations to learn others so that I may use them to shine light on His kingdom. While I thought I have simply been stepping into the moments where God calls me, my friend helped me realize I have also been giving what was given to me.
To follow suit with her response, let’s go through the strengths she has listed:
First up, leading worship. For our first Mass at CLIMA, the priest looked at us, and said, “What are we going to sing?” The professors and I were caught off guard and weren’t really sure what to do! Since that first Mass, we learned to plan the music. For a while we sang acapella, until Viviana kindly begged me to play guitar. Out of the small CLIMA community to gather for Mass on Fridays, of course God would provide a musician. I wasn’t convinced that musician was to be me, but then I remembered the Lord gave me a talent, and it is to be used for His glory. So now, every Friday, you can find me leading music in the chapel during Mass with the CLIMA students and professors. When you pass by, you will hear clapping and cheerful voices as everyone happily sings along.
Second on the list is making awesome videos. Also at CLIMA, the professors turned to me one day and asked if I could film a student interview. I said yes, not knowing what exactly they wanted to do with the footage. Later, I learned they wanted to use it to create promotional videos for the language center. Without even asking, I knew they were hoping I would put those together, and I got started with editing. A couple weeks later during a break between classes, I said to one professor, “CLIMA now has their first video on YouTube!” The next thing I know, all four professors are huddled around me watching the video on YouTube. The joy that filled the room in that short moment is unexplainable! Their smiles and cheers of excitement said it all. They were elated, and immediately started sending the video link to their friends and family. What was easy for me to do, would have been very difficult for them. God knew it, and He sent me.
Strength number three is keeping up with relationships. If you walked into my room, you would see a wall full of pictures with smiling faces. These smiling faces are the precious relationships the Lord has given me, both near and far. While you can often hear me talking to a long-distanced friend or family member on the phone, more often than not, you will actually find me disconnected from my phone and out and about. I stay busy away from home, constantly spending time with people in my life here in Cochabamba. My schedule may be full, but wherever I am, I am relishing each moment with the people I find myself. My wall of pictures continues to grow bigger and bigger because each person God puts in my life, I truly cherish and appreciate.
Lastly, teaching. Since my last blog post, I have been consistently serving at a ministry site where I assist with online classes and help kiddos with homework in the afternoons. Online classes with 6th graders can be rather difficult, especially when there are 5 kids in the same room with one computer. When their friends are sitting next to them, the last thing they want to do is listen to a teacher on a screen. And what they dislike most is math! Yet, they find themselves with a volunteer who loves math. Can you believe that? Of course, God would put me in a classroom where I can utilize my love of teaching and numbers. Each morning when I walk in their classroom, I am greeted with smiles and excited waves. It warms my heart to see their joyous faces, even when tuning into, what for them, is a boring class.
With all of that, my friend concludes by saying, “You got it all!” And you know what, she is right. I do have it all, and so do you! I have all that I need because the Lord has given it to me. God has not only provided me with strengths, skills and talents, but also the awareness of them so that I may walk alongside Him in this mission of life and love. When we are aware of these God-given strengths and utilize them in the opportunities presented, it brings joy to all involved: ourselves, others, and the Lord. This unmistakable joy is always attainable when we step into the moments where He calls us, and give what is given to us in the time presented to us. Just as the Lord has called me to give in the events mentioned above, He calls you, too, to give of your unique divine gifts in the moments you find yourself. May we all believe that we have it all, and give thanks to the Lord for choosing to use us where He sees best fit.
Reflection Questions: What strengths, skills and talents has the Lord given you? How are you using them to bring joy to yourself, others, and God?