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PO Box 220
Senatobia, MS 38668
551 N Robinson ST
Senatobia, MS 38668-2118
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Monday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Mission Mini U Glory Sighting
August 26 2019
I FOUND MY CALLING AT MISSION u
By Crystal L. Strawder
Member, Charleston UMC
By Crystal L. Strawder
Member, Charleston UMC
I was honored to be asked to write you about my experiences as a first-timer to Mission u. There are so many things I could tell you, it would turn into a book.
I was excited to attend, yet nervous. When my journey began, I was concerned about the cost. Almost immediately after I learned about Mission u, I learned about the scholarships. There are scholarships available for members who are first-time attendees and for those under 40. Since I wasn't yet a member of UMC, I didn't qualify. However, I spoke with my local pastor and my church sponsored me. I was lucky enough to get to share a ride and a room with two ladies from my district, (Senatobia), Mary Jo and Nancy. That meant the cost of transportation and the room was greatly reduced for each of us.
My next hurdle was that I didn't know how many people to expect, most of whom were new faces to me. I am a quiet person who usually keeps to myself. Since I began attending the UMC and UMW, I've really come out of my shell. Everyone is very friendly and this helped me to feel right at home. It has been even more so when I was baptized and affirmed in the Charleston UMC on June 23, 2019.
The classes were split into manageable sizes, making it easy to get to know each other and feel comfortable speaking up. The instructors made sure everyone felt at ease to speak their minds by ensuring a safe atmosphere. We were all adults, but there are times even we can get carried away by our thoughts and beliefs.
I had the privilege of spending time with many ladies, (and the few gentlemen), who came, as well as a few military veterans who were at the hotel undergoing various treatments at the local VA hospital. One gentleman in particular, (I'll call him John), has mesothelioma. His condition is terminal and his treatments are meant to extend his quality of life. I learned, during one of our first conversations, that he was "once a Methodist." I asked him what happened to cause him to leave the church. His response was that God and his wife both left when he got sick. I started to cry. I had just come through a series of personal battles and was facing yet more. I, too, had started to question His reasoning. What do you say to someone who has lost so much and yet knows his time is coming to an end. All I could think to do was ask if he minded if I prayed with him. "John" consented and we prayed for peace and guidance during our times of tribulation. He called me shortly after I got home to tell me he started going back to church and thanked me for being a shoulder.
On the second day, things started happening quickly for me. As I was walking to our "150 Years of Women" class, I saw a pamphlet sitting by itself on the table. I grabbed it, flipped it over and read, "For more information...call." I stuck it in my bag and walked into class. We started discussing the deaconesses and laypersons toward the end of the class, which started my wheels turning. After I'd read the book two months prior, I texted Mary Jo and asked if there was more I could do to be active. I was curious about being a deaconess, but wasn't sure what it entailed nor how to proceed. After class that night, I asked Mary Jo and Nancy what they knew about the deaconess program. They told me I should discuss it with Bernice, but that there were different fields for the deaconesses. The one that jumped out at me was social work deaconess. I've always been interested in social work, so it seemed like a good fit. I then remembered the pamphlet and realized what had actually been printed on the back was "For more information about becoming a Deaconess or Home Missioner, call..,." I went downstairs to call my aunt and tell her what had been happening. I was getting really excited. I felt I was being called. My aunt asked what field held my interest, so I told her. Shortly after, as I was preparing for bed, Bernice became available. I won't go into details about our conversation, but suffice it to say that I found my calling at Mission u. With the help of God, Bernice, my district, local unit and family it is becoming a reality.
I had a wonderful time at Mission u 2019 and look forward to more fellowship, new friends, new information and more fun at Mission u 2020! I hope to see you there!
Your Sister In Christ,
Crystal L. Strawder