TiffaniaI had not looked as seminary as a calling before coming here, but I feel like I was called to be a student at Candler. This semester I am taking HC 501: History of Early Christian Thought, OT 501: Interpretation of the Old Testament, DS 511: History of Methodism, and EV 501: Enabling an Evangelizing Church. Those classes are in addition to my weekly contextual education as a chaplain at Gwinnett Medical Center.

Now that I am here, I have been able to integrate my faith and my theological education in ways I had never imagined. It is life giving to be in a place where real conversations to challenge and refine Christian theology are taking place, all within an understanding of God’s grace.

The overarching theme for me this fall has been belonging. I have felt so welcomed by the community at Candler and at Glenn Memorial UMC, where I have started attending worship. That is not to say that everyone here is like me. There are people in these communities with many different theological views and from many different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, but we come together to discuss our differences with grace.

Seminary has even more strongly confirmed my call to ministry. Every day I feel more empowered to lead God’s people and to empower them in their own ministries. And while ministry looks different for me now, since I am not "serving" as my full-time job like I was as a missionary, I am taking the time to renew my spiritual practices and form habits that will stay with me when I leave this special place and go into full time ministry.

As the semester is coming to a close, I am so thankful that I had the chance recently to attend Exploration 2015, a conference for young adults exploring a call to ministry in the United Methodist Church. In many ways, it was the completion of one chapter in my faith journey.

I first attended Exploration in 2011 as a senior in college, and it was where I first felt God calling me into ordained ministry. It was also where I first heard about the Mission Intern program, now called Global Mission Fellows, which has impacted my life in ways I am still discerning.

This year I attended Exploration as a representative of Candler, talking with young adults about why I chose Candler for seminary and their own calls to ministry. And as I partook in worship and led a small group over the weekend, I was struck by the faithfulness of God. God called me to ministry four years ago, and looking back, I can see how God was really calling me all along. And God has been faithful through that call. God has provided for me spiritually, financially, and emotionally every step of the way.

So I would encourage you to ask yourselves: where is God calling you? Not everyone is called to ordained ministry, but every Christian has a call for her or his life. God is faithful, and God will work through you, not just around you, for God’s kingdom. You just have to take that first step of faith and trust that God will sustain and lead you where to go next.

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I give thanks for my call. I give thanks for the faithfulness of God’s promises and God’s faithfulness to always be with us.

Tiffania originally posted this piece on her personal blog, Missioning in the Margins.