International Ministries

The Winds of The Spirit

September 26, 2016 Journal
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In Solitude and Silence

Marlena Graves in  A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness, shared this idea: "In solitude and silence we can become still enough to hear the whispers of God, still enough to feel the winds of the Holy Spirit flying through our lives and observe the effects of these winds on our Spirit. We go on a retreat in the hope of delight, with the hope of savoring the good, the true, the beautiful.”

Glimpsing a Student's Heart

Its not an exact quote because it is translated from a student’s journal.  His name is Alonzo.  He’s from Mexico City. I added the italics because Alonzo was writing about his experience with a reading assignment about the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence. He wrote it during the fourth week of  the new Online Masters of Theological Studies in Spanish program offered by Palmer Seminary and supported by International Ministries.  Joyce and I are teaching the first class in this brand new program.  The course we are teaching is Spiritual Formation.

Laying Foundations

The director of the program, Mayra Picos Lee, is a professor at Palmer.  She wanted Spiritual Formation to be the first class in the program.  Mayra hopes it will prepare the hearts and minds of the students to look at each class not as simply information for knowledge, but as information that continues to form and transform hearts and minds in Christ.  This first class is laying the foundation for the next eleven classes over the period of two years.

A Direct & Deep Impact

This new adventure for Joyce and I as regional missionaries is a tremendous opportunity.  We are able to participate in offering an available, affordable, and accredited online education at the masters level to students who could only dream about a masters degree.  The impact on their lives and on churches will be direct and deep.  One of the students is a teacher at a seminary in central Mexico.  She is not allowed to study at the masters level because she is a woman.  She was in tears, filled with gratitude during the residency in Mexico City at the end of August.  She is one of nine women among eighteen students.

A Hunger for God

We will be sharing more about this experience.  I will end with what Alonzo shared about the opening words of “the winds of the Holy Spirit flying through our lives” from Marlena Graves.  He said, “Me llena de emoción poder decir al final de este curso que estas palabras pueden ser una realidad en mi vida.” (“I am filled with emotion to be able to say that by the end of this course, these words will be a reality in my life.”)  Alonzo is a pastor and he says his church is hungry for the deeper winds of the Spirit.

What a tremendous opportunity to participate in the (trans)formation of hearts, minds, and spirits.  We may never know what God does with it - but for now, it's a beautiful thing.