Some of you know that I have been on a journey to become a Licensed Methodist Minister. This was definitely something that just happened to me seven months ago. I have reflected on how in the world I got here. I knew my faith was growing the last fifteen years of my life, but really how did this journey happen for me?
I moved to Jacksonville in May 2014 and joined the Jacksonville First United Methodist Church the following year. I had already recognized my need to volunteer in Mission 5000 as I know we have hungry people living here. I was encouraged by the members of Mission 5000 which meant a great deal to me. That was just not enough. I then decided I needed to try to get certified as a Lay Speaker, so I started taking classes.
I love my Church, and I mean, I love my Church! I have made so many friends there. I really felt whole here at this Church. I was taking Bible Studies on Wednesday nights and gave Nathan a hard time some times. He took it well. He always gave me a helping hand when I needed it.
I found out that I was special and that all of God's children are very special when I went on my Walk to Emmaus. Carolyn and Bart Gray gave me another helping hand there on my faith journey. I can't list the names and number of people at the Church that encouraged me and challenged me on my faith journey. I can't say thank you enough to you - my Church.
I finally realized I was not doing enough for God and His people. The opportunity to preach temporarily at two small churches was offered to me, and I said YES. What in the world was I thinking? I did not reach this point by myself. I had plenty of support from my family, church and friends. So many helping hands had gotten me this far.
Then GOD has to step in and say, Marilyn, it is time for you to step it up. I want and need you to go further. My goodness has God lost His mind or have I lost mine? I decided to go into the Ministry as a Licensed Pastor. There have been so many people that have given me a helping hand. I can't name all of you as there are too many.
I finally made it through the District Committee and was approved for Licensing School. I had to read books, do assignments and sermons on a variety of subjects. It has been a long time since this old gal had gone to school. It was so hard, and I almost gave up. But, I count this as one of God's miracles in my life.
Looking back, that is what a Christian does for the Christian community. I am not saying become a minister, but grow the faith in each other so that we can bring people to God. I have experienced so much from my Church family and friends over the years. I want everyone I know that your helping hand is part of God's grace to me.
Marilyn Lecy, Lay Servant