I joined my husband at the table with six others, thinking I wouldn’t have much to contribute as they began to plan our church association’s western region conference. Our district superintendant revealed details about the main speaker, venue and other things that had already fallen into place. Then the group began to discuss workshops. These are, typically, focused on topics pertinent to pastors and lay leaders in the church.
That’s when I felt that little niggle - offer a writing workshop. I pushed the thought away. I knew the attendees at the conference would be a group of highly qualified, highly educated people, mostly pastors. What could I possibly teach them? I reasoned.
But the niggle wouldn’t go away. So finally, in a soft voice I asked, “Do you think anyone would be interested in a workshop on writing their testimony?” Our superintendant’s eyebrows rose a bit and his words surprised me. “Good idea,” he said. Then he grinned. “And do you know someone who could teach it?” I smiled back and volunteered. As I prepared I wondered who, if any, would show up.
The majority of the conference was over by the time the workshop was scheduled and I was very much aware that God had been at work. The preaching and teaching had been excellent and the general mood was upbeat. I had facilitated a session for pastor’s wives that morning that had gone very well. So it was with a lightened spirit that I made my way to the room where the workshop was to be done. But my heart sank as I stepped into the room.
One man sat in a corner with his head in his hands, obviously praying. I hesitated. Did I have the wrong room? The man raised his head, smiled and stood to introduce himself. Franco’s English was halting. As we waited for others I hoped would join us, I asked where he was from and discovered he had been in the country for only a couple of years. I was about to ask him why he wanted to take this workshop when two women arrived. The four of us sat down and I prayed for our time together.
As I taught, my three students began to scribble notes. Now and then one of them would ask a question. The ninety minutes flew by. At the end of the time they gathered around my small book table, each choosing a purchase and each of them thanking me over and over again for the teaching.
Franco’s face beamed. “Now I can do this,” he said. “Now I can write to my friends and my church back home.”
The younger of the two women nodded. “I know God has been nudging me to write,” she said, but with little kids it’s hard to find time. This has shown me that I can do it. It’s just what I needed.”
“I’ve only ever written things for my children,” the older woman explained. As I encouraged her to reach for a wider audience, the light in her eyes told me she would.
As I packed up the remainder of my books I was smiling. Such a small class. Such wonderful potential for God to do mighty things through them. I thanked the Lord, over and over again.
“Who dares despise the day of small things...?” (Zechariah 4:10).
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel, A Tumbled Stone has just been short-listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards.