Adults on Mission Blog

The Mission of Listening

Many times I find myself completing my 84 year old Mother’s sentences. Now she is more than capable of being able to speak the words and finish her sentences. But in my rush to move on in the conversation I complete her sentences or interrupt with the answer. It’s become a habit birthed out of my busyness. Justified? No! Rude? Yes! Additionally Scripture warns not to give an answer before one hears (Proverbs 18:13).

Mission opportunities occur everywhere. Around the globe and in my Mother’s home. What is God saying to my missions heart lately? Simply this: It’s time to develop the Ministry of Listening. The ministry of listening reflects patience, love, understanding, my relationship with Christ and the ability to truly hear. In this season of care giving I have the opportunity to share the love of Christ through listening.

No matter the age there is always a new mission which God is calling me to or making me aware of. You are never too old or too young to develop the Ministry of Listening. What about you?

Thank you for Listening!

I am a Vietnam War veteran, U. S. Women’s Army Corps, stationed in Augsburg, Germany during my tenure. Over the years I have met veterans who were dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, PTSD is not confined to those coming home from military service. It affects people from all walks of life who are dealing with traumatic situations. The good news is we’ve come a long way in being able to recognize this disorder and offer support. You and I may not be trained counselors, but we do have the same credentials—ears to listen.

Listen with your body language. Sometimes it is not about the talk, simply be willing to be there. Listen with your facial expressions. This means good eye contact, a smile, not sighing or rolling your eyes when the individual is sharing the same scenario or event repeatedly. Listen with your heart. Be patient, don’t push them to talk, be respectful and non-judgmental. Listen without expectations and remember you are not there to tell them what do or how to move on.

“Thank you for listening to my story,” may be the compliment which opens the door for you to share His story.

Listening: A Relationship Builder

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It is an old quote and it holds the key to building deep and lasting relationships. One of the ways we genuinely show we care is by listening.

Offering Biblical hospitality in my home and office has generated spontaneous moments to listen and to show I care. Over a cup of hot tea served with scones or coffee served with muffins, what has started out as a generalized conversation turns into my guest sharing their most deepest needs. Once a person knows you can be trusted and that you truly care; pretenses crumble and the foundation is laid for an authentic relationship.

Everyone needs someone to simply listen. It isn’t that you hold the answers or can solve the problems, but there is something therapeutic about being able to voice our ‘whatever’ to someone who will accept us as we are with a listening ear and heart. Who in your life that needs Biblical hospitality and a listening ear is God placing on your heart?

 

Are You Listening?

My toddler, positioned on my left hip, was jabbering away. Suddenly he realized I wasn’t listening. With his two chubby hands, placing one on each side of my face, he turned my head so it was positioned directly in front of his face. Happy that he now had my full attention, he continued to speak to me as if I understood every word. That scenario happened almost 38 years ago and I still find myself having a problem listening with my full attention.

Listening is something which does not come naturally to us. In our selfishness we talk first and listen lastly. Listening is a skill, an art. It means consciously making the effort to listen with our mind and hearts, being intentional and disciplining ourselves to learn the skill. Listening involves all of you. It is eye to eye contact with full attention devoted to the person who is sharing.

Over the years God has placed women in my life who have listened in that way. Ears attuned to my joys, sorrows, problems, and giving me their undivided attention. They have listened, prayed and invested in my walk with Christ. Are you that kind of listening friend?

His Schedule

Reading the church newsletter, Brenda sighed. In addition to the usual activities, a baby shower, a workday, a preview of the upcoming Easter music, and a new ladies’ Bible study were scheduled.

“Lord, with work and family responsibilities, how can I do all this?” she moaned. Gently, she sensed the Lord saying, “Let me, not the church calendar, plan your schedule.”

Brenda had been considering a local service project that could use her skills and provide interaction with unbelievers. Realizing God was leading her to revamp her schedule, she decided to bow out of choir, skip the workday, and forgo the Bible study.

When she received some critical remarks for lessening her church involvement, she lovingly explained her actions. With freed-up time, she began kingdom-building relationships in her community.

By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 

 

Get Plugged In

Arriving in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, NAMB church planter Jay Parks knew building relationships was vital to building New Life Church. When his son got involved in soccer, Jay attended practices and games, looking to “plug in where families already were,” he says. He soon began coaching, and after a year-and-a-half, he has met many families through it.

Jay and his wife April also committed to engage two families a week by inviting them to dinner, hosting over 100 families so far.

“This shifts a focus from just inviting them to church to simply trying to get to know them,” he affirms.

The soccer field and the Parks’ dinner table have brought many into the fledgling congregation. “Building relationships is so important when trying to reach people with the gospel,” Jay emphasizes.

(You can read more about the Parks’ story at www.newlifekona.com.)


By Ann Maniscalco

Sowing the Seeds

Gina, Bob, and their children recently moved to a new city. To meet the neighbors and begin sowing seeds of kindness and the gospel message, they planned a “dessert on the driveway” event.

On eye-catching postcard-sized invitations, they introduced themselves and invited neighbors to drop by on a certain day and time to enjoy ice cream and cookies. Attaching a ribbon loop to each invitation, they dropped them off on the neighbors’ doorknobs early that week.

Setting up a few chairs and a table with refreshments, name tags, and balloons, Gina and Bob were delighted when a few neighbors stopped by. Children played together as the adults chatted. Soon a few more ventured over, and one neighbor volunteered to grill hot dogs the next weekend.

Friendships were formed. And doors were opened!


By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 

 

World Water Day: Pure Water, Pure Love

How many times have you used water today? Did you stop and wonder if the water was clean? Most likely you use water more times in a day than you realize and you are blessed with not having to wonder whether the water you are drinking is safe and clean. However, this is not the case in many places around the world. Did you know that more than 663 million people lack access to clean water? The need for clean water access is great as the lack of clean water leads to numerous water-related diseases. Consider the following:

Gifts of Hope Ministry Set

Gifts of Hope Ministry Set

Stuart Davidson, pastor of Eastern Shore Baptist Church, says this about these meaningful devotional books, “The ‘Gifts of Hope’ series answers the call to cast our burdens at the feet of Jesus and encourages the reader to cling to the One who provides peace everlasting—Jesus Christ.”

As we work together for His kingdom, national WMU is excited to offer a new ministry idea to serve others. We are looking for groups to offer a special ministry project within your community. This idea works especially well for small groups such as Adult Sunday School classes and missions or discipleship study groups. For $125, you receive a Gifts of Hope Ministry Set to put in a high traffic area within your community such as a waiting room for a doctor, dentist, chiropractor, diagnostic testing center, lawyer office, food pantry, clothes closet, even an auto repair service shop or tire store. The possibilities are endless. If you have 13 people in your small group, everyone contributes about $10.00. So, please purchase a Gifts of Hope Ministry Set and get started today.

Pique Their Interest

Church members’ interest is piqued when they can support something (or someone) they can personally relate to. Capitalizing on this thought, to promote our AAEO (Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®), we’ll focus on two NAMB missionary families from our home state.

Both families send out monthly blogs, so we’ll present material and photos on Sunday mornings during April. Adults, youth and kids will portray the MKs, briefly describing aspects of their ministry. Colorful displays around the church campus will show pictures and details of things the offering facilitates.

During a Wednesday night supper, one missionary family will Skype with us, sharing an update, answering questions, and giving us current prayer needs. Sunday bulletins will include the NAMB prayer guides, an AAEO fact sheet (https://www.anniearmstrong.com/about), and envelopes.


By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 


 

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