Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

May 31, 2013 | Cassandra Henderson

If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand about ministry it’s that you never really know what to expect. The two-day ACMNP training was no exception to that rule. I must have passed the church where the training was held at least a million times in my life—on foot and in a car. I’d never so much as given it a second look or thought. It’s funny how we have these subtle introductions to our future and never really know how or when or why things will turn out the way they do; but inevitably strangers become friends, and easily overlooked places become anchors for the beginning of new journeys or memorials marking the end to yet another of life’s experiences. Just like that, this church that sat tucked away on the outskirts of a quaint little historic town square became my beginning.

I’d spent a vast majority of my life living less than 10 minutes away, and never had any idea that we would be inextricably connected one day—or in this case, for two days. It’s really beautiful when I consider it. Walking down the paved walkway, and entering through the cascading white doors, each smile comforting, welcoming, and new. Who would I meet? How would we change each other’s lives forever? These were the questions I carried with me. These were the thoughts that danced across my mind.

While the training itself was flooded with do’s and don’ts of worship and rules of engagement. I walked away better—not merely for the information I had gained, but for the people I met. Even those who I may never see again—they too had left me a different woman. I was different from who I was when I had arrived. We sang, we prayed, we worshiped together. We broke bread and we talked. We were excited
together and learned together and in the course of just 2 days, we grew together.

I marvel at these simple little things that happen in life. The moments that so easily find themselves being taken for granted. I met people who drove 15 hours just to make it to the training. In that space, in that time we were all made stronger for the work and the journey ahead, even though we didn’t and don’t necessarily know what we will encounter. That’s perhaps the best part of ministry—you may not know what to expect, or like the box of chocolates in Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re gonna get, but undoubtedly, in ministry you always walk away having given and gained something.

"Our daughter...worked in Glacier Park with ACMNP for two summers. The experience was life-changing for her."
– Karen and Bruce

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