by Joanne Itagaki
I’ve attended Evergreen for most of my adult life. So, I was familiar with Pastor Cory’s call for “Opportunities to Serve – OTS” but what can I do? Before our boys were born, my husband and I were involved in various ministries at Evergreen. We were college advisors, small group leaders, worship leaders, and core members of various ministries at Evergreen. But, as our boys started their education, our participation in these ministries began to fade. More time was spent in supporting various groups at school; PTA, room mom, field trips, baseball games and band events, fundraising, booster clubs, etc. Three years ago, when my youngest son began his sophomore year and my older son began to attend college, I felt God’s hand directing me back to serving at Evergreen. But where should I serve? What ministry needs help? What ministry needs me?
About that time, I began to notice announcements in the bulletin for help in 2 specific ministries; Baptism and Community Pantry. I knew God had drawn my eye to these ministries because when I saw the announcements I felt excited and at peace. One ministry, Baptism, would not take a lot of time but would be a very special way to serve at Evergreen. The other ministry, Community Pantry, would give me an opportunity to continue serving the community like volunteering at school. The Community Pantry would also give me an opportunity to meet other members of Evergreen.
I began helping at the Pantry soon after it began in February 2013. I met Evergreeners of all ages and backgrounds: Harvesters, college-aged, families, new-comers and long-timers to Evergreen. Some people I knew, some people I recognized but had never met, some people I’d never seen at Evergreen. I’ve met many new friends while serving at the Community Pantry all with the heart of service. The Pantry has also given me an opportunity to serve in a ministry with my oldest son. But more importantly, my heart for ministry has been refreshed by God’s hand!
I was asking the wrong question for Opportunities to Serve (What can I do?). As I look back, I should have been asking “God, where are you leading me to serve?” Where is God leading you?