Hey, it’s me Paul again.
I’m writing to talk about what I had the chance to do for the past three days in Fremont, CA. A week or so ago, Elizabeth and I talked with the district’s NMI President, Pastor Joe. He asked us how we might be able to get involved on the district level here. We each shared our experiences and interests, and for me that meant talking about Spanish.
I shared that I had helped the Southwest Ohio District (when we lived in Cincinnati) by interpreting in meetings between Spanish-speaking pastors and district-level employees that needed to meet with those pastors. Pastor Joe was really interested to hear that, and subsequently asked whether I would be interested in interpreting for the district credentials interview process, which happened these past days (Thursday-Saturday).
So, Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday I got to spend at Journey of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Fremont, California.
They set me up with an office, and I got to spend three days there, learn a ton about the inner workings of the credentials board process, and interpret for a lot of great candidates seeking to renew their district ministry licenses or become ordained as preaching/teaching church elders/deacons. It was a great process to learn more about, and I am grateful for the opportunity.
During meals and breaks, I had the opportunity to fellowship with some of the board/committee representatives, and even met a friend of an administrator in our seminary program (who Elizabeth and I had heard a story about during our time back in Kansas City in January!). The world is small, but the Nazarene Church world is smaller. Elizabeth jokes sometimes that I sometimes know more Nazarenes than she does, despite not being involved in that world until going to college.
First, I got to interpret for candidates talking with a group of three people about their mentorship relationship process, their education process in the Nazarene course of study, and their application for license renewal or ordination. I was pretty comfortable interpreting for these meetings (and was originally told I would be interpreting only for these meetings). I thought “I can handle this pretty well.”
When I got there, I was also asked to interpret for candidates for license renewal/ordination recommendation before the larger board of ministerial credential representatives. There were twelve or sometimes more members in this committee, and these were all pastors from throughout the district. This was definitely more “outside my comfort zone”.
These interviews meant a much greater depth of content, and proved a pretty good challenge to interpret. Candidates were asked more personal questions, but also asked deeper questions about calls, faith, scripture, and even about the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene. Interpreting these types of technical church language and scripture references, as well as different personal stories was pretty challenging.
But it was also incredibly rewarding, since I got to hear so many powerful stories of calling to preach or teach, and hear about peoples’ passions for the Church.
Overall, it was an incredibly enriching experience, and helped remind me a little more of the place that Elizabeth and I can fill while we’re serving here in this year in mission. We have unique skills and experiences, and those can be used in the service of the Church and to build the Kingdom. It’s a joy to watch some of the pieces come together. Like this:
Beginning Spanish in high school -> studying Spanish at MVNU -> Gaining fluency in Costa Rica -> Interning with a Spanish/English congregation in Philadelphia -> interning with a Spanish/English church in South Carolina and getting to do some minor interpretation -> working as a medical interpreter in Cincinnati, OH -> being asked to interpret for the Southwest OH district of the Church of the Nazarene -> using SWO district interpreting experience to interpret for district credentialing.
That whole trajectory (and even thinking through it all to type it just now) is incredibly humbling to me. Too often I want to see the purpose, the end goal, the long-term. But I know that at all times God is preparing us, shaping us, and guiding us into who we might be.
Thank you all for your support. Without financial and prayer support from readers like you, we would not be able to live here, contributing to the work this district is doing. As always, please reach out to us. We want to hear from people whenever you have questions/comments/encouragements/conversations.