Warm greetings to you all. Thank you for standing with us through this difficult season. Many of our MARK Centre events have been postponed or cancelled, but we are grateful for what we have been able to do and confident opportunities will increase in the days ahead.
Two “Come Away” retreats will happen at our chalet in the next few weeks. Your prayers for Cathy Hardy as she leads both retreats will be much appreciated. We are grateful for partners like her and other ministries like Barnabas and CLBI (story below) who are working with us to help people embrace a lifestyle of listening to God.
One of our biggest needs right now is to find a staff member to help us with cleaning our chalet. If you know anyone who is willing and interested in a part time job please email or phone Theresa at the office.
We invite you to consider a year-end donation to the MARK Centre. As it has been for many organizations, our income is way down. Yet through the generosity of friends and donors we are still in business and optimistic about the future. You can give through our website or mail us cheque.
The Lutherans are listening
It’s very good to be back at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI) this fall in Camrose, Alberta. This school has valued listening to God for a long time. One way they’ve demonstrated this priority is by having me come and teach on a lifestyle of listening to God every fall for the last decade and a half. The pandemic kept me from being here last year, but it is great to be here again and see a new group of young adults eager to listen for God’s voice. Their staff team is a joy to partner with as MARK Centre continues to serve some who will inspire others to embrace a lifestyle of listening to God. In mid-September I started a month-long class with two days of teaching and today I am finishing it with another short visit to CLBI. In the weeks in-between visits, the students have been listening for God’s voice and sending me a reflection per week.
We’ve been looking at some common ways of listening to God that people are practicing all over the world. We are taking seriously the promise from Jesus’ lips – “my sheep hear my voice.” So we’ve been listening to God through Scripture, through creation all around us, the circumstances of our lives, the good people God has placed on our path, and through our own hearts. One highlight for me was taking time for a little “date with God” after we had reviewed the story of Jesus’ interaction with Bartimaeus in Mark 10. The attention Jesus gave Bartimaeus and the beautiful question – “What do you want me to do for you?”- gave us confidence to spend some time in God’s presence tapping into our own longings and desires. We dared to believe that God was right there with us asking us, “What do you want me to do for you?” We took time to listen to our own hearts as we sat quietly or walked by the beautiful Mirror Lake and then we came together and I gave opportunity for people to share their experiences. What followed impacted me. Students acknowledged their hunger to know God personally, to hear his voice, to be forgiven, to be touched by God, to be healed physically and spiritually, to experience God’s nearness and be transformed by God.
These Lutherans are listening! And as usual, some are hearing God in significant ways and they, in turn, are inspiring the whole group. Some have experienced “little coincidences” in the circumstances of their lives. Others have enjoyed God’s creation in intentional ways and been impacted with peace and wonder. Many have seen the Bible come alive to them as they’ve read and meditated on it. Some have discovered that their hearts are longing for beautiful things and that listening to their hearts is truly another common way of listening to God. Yes, there are frustrations and disappointments and questions unanswered, but there are also experiences of peace replacing anxiety, forgiveness being received, rest and refreshment coming as we listen. I’m a grateful Mennonite with new Lutheran friends who are encouraging my heart on the journey of listening to God.