Working While Waiting: Using Creativity to Form Connections
For those waiting to go into the mission field, support raising and the planning needed before moving overseas can make being involved in local ministry a challenge. Add on the restrictions and health concern of COVID-19 and it can seem nearly impossible.
But for Carly Dean, a GEM appointee waiting to serve God in England, she has found this time of waiting and preparing to be a great avenue to find unique ways to serve her community.
After moving into a new apartment in Chicago as part of her pre-field training, Carly found herself unable to meet her neighbours in traditional ways due to the lockdown procedures. She had to find creative means to make new connections. Using her love for baking, she decided to make cookies and leave them for each neighbour with a note introducing herself and giving them her number. This sweet introduction has led to texting conversations and several friendships.
“God’s not restricted, even though we have been,” Carly says about the relationships that have developed through her simple acts of obedience to love her neighbours the best that she can during this difficult season.
Through this, Carly has been able to build a relationship with a family that lives in the apartment below her. This family has struggled with challenges that have intensified due to isolation. Carly has been able to be present emotionally with the mom and encourage her. When the restrictions loosened in the fall, Carly invited them to partake in one of her favourite activities—art. She was able to connect with them in person as they painted pumpkins together.
By taking a cake to another family nearby, she has connected and discovered that they are Buddhist. Carly has used this opportunity to let them teach her about their faith in hopes they will let her talk about her own faith.
Turning to the medium most have had to rely on so fully,—the internet—Carly has also taken her efforts of getting to know her neighbours online. She’s utilized a neighbourhood page on Facebook to meet new people and even start an online community bible study group. This led to two women attending the Alpha course with her and asking great questions as their curiosity blossomed into interest in Jesus.
As societies withdraw from speaking with strangers now more than ever, Carly continues to shine a light and reach out to her neighbours. The challenges of COVID persist, but God is still working to use creative means to connect Christians to those around them. “This is why I come with cake,” she explains. “It breaks down barriers.”
What creative gifts and means has God given you to connect with people around you? Ask for God to reveal ways you can form connections with neighbours and colleagues using unique mediums and pray for GEM workers around the globe to have the courage and creativity to live on mission no matter what restrictions remain.
About the author:
Katey Leavelle is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission preparing to serve in Spain. Check out thegroundedwanderer.net to learn more.