Several years ago, I found myself in a life situation that took me by surprise. My cancer had returned after almost two decades of remission, and I was instantly flooded with fears and despair. When I was offered a Stephen Minister, I quickly said no. And that was even after having served in the ministry before! Thoughts of telling my concerns to someone I didn’t know made me very uncomfortable and overwhelmed, even though I knew how much training and supervision the ministry required to prepare and support the volunteers in doing their job. I also remember saying that I was sure someone else needed the help more than me. Through the work of the Holy Spirit and with encouragement, I prayed and quietly listened to what God was telling me in my heart. My human nature felt embarrassed to take that step of faith and say yes, but God reminded me that HE had chosen the exact Stephen Minister for me, and HE was the source of their strength and talents. So, I accepted the offer and began my journey of receiving Christian care.
My Stephen Minister is living out her faith and loves me because of Christ’s love in her. I’m honored to have my very own person devoted to loving me through the ups and downs of my illness. She is God’s visiting angel called to support and encourage me. My Stephen Minister truly wants me to experience God’s love, to hold my hand, to walk with me during all of my emotions to get to the other side of what is causing me to be discouraged, disappointed, helpless, hopeless, and in pain. She listens. She hears me and responds without judgement- even when I have moments of anger towards God for my circumstances. She keeps all that I share confidential- even though I am certain we share many friendships. I trust her. She has helped me to continue to live with purpose and in faith. I can’t believe I ever hesitated to have this experience… and can’t imagine having missed out on one of the greatest benefits through this whole experience…I’ve gained a true sister in Christ! Don’t say no.
If you would like to hear more about the possibility of receiving care from a trained Stephen Minister through this ministry at St. Michael’s, contact Rachel Ash, Care Ministry Director, at RAsh@smlcb.org or call 952-324-5731.