Once I got in touch with Pastor Watt and initial pleasantries were exchanged, I had to tell him what I actually wanted. You'd be surprised how difficult this was for me… I fancy myself to be a direct and forward person, but when it comes to things I'm uncertain about, that God is leading me through, I'm usually scared, and well know that I am not in control. My thoughts went something like this:
"…I would like to come for around a year (ideally starting in late May/early June 2014). As far as what I'd like to do, the Lord has really put it on my heart just to serve in any way needed. Since I haven't been back to the Cornerstone community in years, I was wondering if there are any needs that your community specifically has that I might be able to address? I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Management, experience (obviously dealing in an American cultural context) ranging in education, recreation, childcare, worship, music (singing and basic chords on a piano), media (sound and video), legislation, social services, etc. BUT know that I would be willing to do anything that there is a need for..."
After sending this message things got more real, as I had to think my plan through a little. I've become an Orthodox Christian since I was in SA last, and Orthodox Church services are drastically different than the ones I remember attending at Cornerstone. I knew what to say to Pastor Watt to some extent because I generally know what I could do relating to a protestant church service and assumed I could plug into whatever else they had going on, but I was concerned about missing out on the Divine Liturgy… and I wondered how I could adapt Orthodoxy to my life in SA while attending Cornerstone, so I decided that it was time to mention things to Father Chris (my priest in Roseville) to get his incite.
I happened to be at a holiday celebration lunch with the religious education workers from our parish when the topic finally came up. Father Chris was sitting across from me and I mentioned that I had been thinking about going on a longer term mission trip to SA; holding my breath a little and pretending that I was somewhat indifferent to what he had to say… I wasn't. I really cared. He seemed interested, so I continued on about how I had been before and that I had contacted the church that I previously assisted. At that point he asked if I had looked into any of the Orthodox churches in the area and seemed excited because he remembered having a connection to a priest in Johannesburg. I think he may have even shot off a quick email from his phone right then and there, but he told me that he would look into his connections and that I should do a little research to see if there was an Orthodox parish that I might be able to serve with (and also to craft another letter of interest geared towards serving with that parish).
This got me thinking.