Ministering to Myself

by Elida Y. Garcia-Dehaan

I began my singing ministry at the age of 9, but I didn’t realize that was my spiritual gift until the age of 10 or 11 years old.

Around that age, I went to an event at a church in another town. The minister asked us, “What is your spiritual gift?”

I was a child who had sung in a children’s choir for a short time, but I knew that was my gift.

I slowly raised my hand, and said, “My gift is singing”. It would be years before I sang in a church choir again…

When I was 16 years old, my mother and I returned to the church where my ministry began. After a few weeks of returning to my church and being baptized, I asked to join the choir. It was not a quick “Yes” from the choir director.

The assistant choir director had me try out to see if I was an Alto or Soprano… I was an alto even though as a member of the children’s choir I was the loudest singer.

Choir ministry, like any other form of ministry, is not for the faint of heart. Between practice sessions, church services, prayer mornings, sound checks, etc… you really needed to rely on your faith and relationship to God, but in the long run it was worth it.

Watching people praise and worship while you’re ministering through song is a blessing. In the midst of ministering to church members and visitors, I realized that I was ministering to myself. Within a year or returning to my home church, I was on my own.

The only relative I had in church was busy as a minister and with his family. I had to face criticism and ridicule from members and non-members of the church.   

That criticism led to me leaving the choir in the middle of recording a gospel CD. I was heartbroken because it felt as though my meaning in life was gone. That loss led me to leave that church, but I never left God or my relationship with God.

I went on my own just like Jonah, and just like Jonah, I was led back to God almost a year later.

While I was training for my job in the military, I was led back to my ministry. One day, while we were exciting the bus, one of my friends was approached by one the Drill Sergeants about a small choir that he was starting for his church.

I told my friend about my experience as a choir singer and she told me that there would be a meeting the next day with two other members who had been recruited by the Drill Sergeant.

That Sunday I was ministering with three other singers and a keyboardist, who were soldiers from my company. We were small, but our voices were mighty. It helped me get through some of the struggles that go along with being in the military.

It felt good to be a blessing to his church, but sadly, my time of training was up and it was time to move on to my first duty station.

I know that God is not done with me yet, and he has given me the gift to share my life’s struggles and challenges through my writing, and I am forever grateful.

Elida Y. Garcia-Dehaan is an independently published author who writes books of various genres and books for all ages.

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