I've Been Keeping A Secret

December 03, 2015

I'm a big believer in prayer and few moments are sweeter in life than when a prayer is answered. As the title of this blog post suggests, I have been keeping a bit of a secret for the last 4 months and I am so excited to finally share it on this little space of mine - I have been employed by my old high school as the Chaplain Intern/Youth Pastor for 2016.

I think a little bit of a back story is necessary... I have been a Christian for many years and served on my school's Student Christian Association (SCA) for three years. In Matric I was made the chairman of the committee and I was the head preacher for the entirety of 2012. I loved my time serving on the committee and I had such a passion for bringing young girls to Jesus. I developed close relationships with the school's Christian leaders as well as the girls and I really was in my element. Our school's Chaplain, Di, become a close friend and mentor of mine over my years at the school and especially so in my last year as head of the committee.

When I got to Rhodes, there was no weekly Chapel services, organised Christian rallies and camps with other people my age and no SCA meetings. All of these things that provided me with a sense of being close to Jesus as well as the fellowship I so desperately needed were gone. I took these things for granted when I was at school and a large part of me being unhappy at Rhodes when I was, was due to my lack of fellowship and Christian lifestyle. I learnt very quickly while at Rhodes to invest in my relationship with the Lord on a more personal and private level. This was so necessary for me to do for the sake of my faith, but I missed the rallies and Bible study evenings and I missed the opportunities I had to preach.

In June I was sitting in my room in Grahamstown listening to an online sermon from a local church, and I remember just longing for an opportunity to preach again. It's something I love to do - share my heart for Jesus. It really is my form of worship. I absentmindedly said a little prayer that went along the lines of asking for an opportunity to preach again one day.

A month later, around the 5th of July, while listening to a sermon, someone shared something that had been placed on his heart and it went a little like this "there's someone here longing for an opportunity to use their talents to serve God again. It's been a while since you've had any sort of opportunity to use your talents for the glory of God, but I just want you to know that He's working on something and making something available to you." I laughed because that message was so relevant to me in that moment, but it couldn't possibly be for me, could it? I went on with life not thinking anything of this message being shared.

Then, exactly a month later, I woke up on a Wednesday morning in August to a message from Di - my school's Chaplain. I hadn't seen her much since leaving school, however we'd always maintained contact. Her message said "Hi Shan. I'm in Grahamstown for a Chaplain's conference for a couple of days, would you be free to meet for coffee this evening?" I excitedly said yes and spent the whole day looking forward to catching up with someone who had played such a big role in my life. That evening we met up for a quick catch up. Di briefly mentioned that she was busier than ever at school and before she could say any more there was a knock at her door and in walked a young guy, Justin - a Chaplain Intern/Youth Pastor in Cape Town. We met and chatted briefly before I had to be off. It wasn't long after that that Di contacted me and asked whether I would be interested in becoming the Chaplain Intern at her school - the position didn't exist yet, but she had been thinking about putting the idea forward to the board ever since our catch up. I thought about it and it jut felt so right. I immediately got so excited at the whole idea. I was planning on doing Honours through UNISA next year and wanted to begin looking for a job to keep me busy and this just seemed like the perfect situation.

I didn't want to make any decisions without saturating them in prayer first. I've gone into situations before without handing them over to God first and they haven't worked out well for me. So before letting Di know whether I would be interested/available I spent a few days praying about it. Throughout the whole process, I was just so at peace with the whole idea. It honestly felt like this internship would put me exactly where I needed to be. I didn't want to get too excited or ahead of myself though, because the whole idea of this internship was just that - an idea.

Knowing in my heart that this is where the Lord wanted me, I told Di to go ahead with putting the idea forward to the board - I was keen. What followed was a couple of weeks of phone calls organising and setting up an interview, compiling CV's, getting reference letters, shopping for the perfect interview outfit and of course, handing this all over to God through prayer.

My interview was scheduled for the end of August - perfect timing as I was home for a 10 day holiday. At this point, the internship was still just an idea. The school was just interviewing me to get a sense of who I was - no decision on whether the position would be created or not had been made yet. The interview went so well. I have to say though, it was so strange to be back at my old high school! All the girls greeted me with a happy "good morning ma'am" and I almost wanted to look around to see who they were calling ma'am. It was very strange and I think being back there as a member of staff and not a student is going to take a while to get used to.

Towards the end of September, in the middle of an Anthropology lecture, I got the phone call from Di offering me the job. I wish I could explain to you all the sense of joy I felt. I honestly feel that this is where the Lord wants me and I can't wait to see how He's going to use this internship to grow me and bring girls to know the Lord. I've always had such a passion for Jesus and ministry - especially among young girls. It's always been my heart to help girls realise their worth and realise just how loved they are. Next year I have the opportunity to organise SCA meetings, rallies, Bible studies, teach divinity lessons, preach in Chapel and at events and simply just serve the Lord. I couldn't be more grateful.

I start in January next year and I've got so many people who are excited for me and supportive of this whole thing. When I mentioned it to a friend of mine before I'd had the interview, their response was "You know that I don't know where I stand with the whole religion thing. But the fact that you sat on my couch a few weeks ago and told me about how you wanted an opportunity to get involved in that again, and now this is happening - that, that is God." I never thought I'd be back at my old school, walking across those lawns again or standing up in that Chapel again. But I can't wait for this new adventure. It just feels so, so right.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is so amazing Shan, and so special. What a great and intentional year it is going to be for you x


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