Challenges and Rewards

​By Ongachi Simuli

My Servant Year work placement is with the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown. Here at St. Luke’s I wear many hats; I am the Director of Youth Ministry and Christian Education. I will also be taking over as Director of the Food Pantry.  I am very excited and honored to be in this position. My vision for the church is to ignite a familiar enthusiasm towards Christian education in youth as well as adults.  In addition, I seek to implement more art, music, trips into the curriculum. My first major goal this year is to establish a solid framework for Christian education classes. I look forward to exploring Christian education with the parishioners of St. Luke’s and am blessed to be working with such open minded people. Currently, I am in the process of starting new classes after Sunday mass this November. Youth ministry is taking off this year with our “House of Chaos” Halloween Party on October 25th. I will be hosting the event and hope to see some of you there!

St. Luke’s Food Pantry has been one of the places I have found solace. The staff creates a very relaxed, homely atmosphere where we can service the community with food. When we bag food on Thursday mornings it is truly a family event. We have staff members and their kids and even grandkids helping out; the room is full of stories and laughter. On Fridays, when we distribute the bags of food, it really makes my week. Yes, we hand out food, but we also pray with the patrons too. It is a great feeling to be a part of a good cause.

This year embarks a challenging, yet rewarding spiritual journey for me. Success in every area of my life centers on me simply being happy and healthy. So I am reorganizing my life from adding meditation, journaling, exercise, positive affirmations to praying with my imagination, hugging myself and laughing at nothing. One of the hardest things for me to do right now are activities that require me to sit still (my housemates would agree!) So, I have fashioned my worship to fit my personality. I am a hardcore daydreamer and visual/kinetic learner; when I pray using my imagination I like to envision what I am praying for and feelings of the joy, love, etc. that go along with it.

I accept that my spiritual journey is going to be lifelong; I am still learning to accept the unknown. It has been one month into the program and I have had hard tear-filled days, but it is okay. We all go through ups and downs in life and it is those moments that make us stronger. I figured out that sometimes God just wants to see what I will do with what I have—will she encourage myself and still sing high notes when her day ends on a low note? Yes, I will! I will try because that is all I can do and all God wants me to. If I can walk halfway, He will carry me the rest and you too.

Ongachi serves at St. Luke’s Church.