The Role of The Holy Spirit

Until the beginning of my year as a missionary with NET Canada, I really lacked the understanding of who the Holy Spirit is.

To me, He was obviously the third person of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but other than saying His name, I had no idea of who He was or the influence He has over each of our lives. At certain points He is spoken of more; Pentecost, confirmation, even my parish was named Holy Ghost, but I didn’t really experience the Holy Spirit until I gave Him permission to enter my life - to be a part of my mission year. Of course, I had been called by the Holy Spirit many times in life prior to NET, but without an open heart, I could not see that it was Him who was working.

Throughout fall training, we had the opportunity to learn about many things, the Holy Spirit being one. He was spoken of as a guide, a counsellor, a giver of gifts, our helper; but I could not see how all these titles could be true without actually experiencing them. I was pretty closed minded about the work the Holy Spirit could do in me and in others. I doubted….Until we had a session at fall training dedicated to learning more about the Holy Spirit, and inviting Him to work in us.T hat night I was particularly restless, feeling unworthy and confused. I didn’t know what to do, the band was playing worship music. I was trying to take control, trying to lead myself through the evening but what I didn’t realize is that things work best when we let go and invite the Spirit to lead. When I finally did, I cried and gave in, telling the Spirit I would accept whatever He felt I needed most. It took a little while but then there was this peace, one that I could not undo. There was nothing I needed to do other than just BE, and I was indescribably content. That night I got a small taste of this giver of gifts, just enough that I would learn to trust.

Through these last few weeks on the road, I’ve called on the Holy Spirit in my prayer many times, and intern He has called on me. What I’ve come to understand most is that He asks each of us to be bold… Well, here I am on NET, but truthfully I’ve recognized this most through the others I encounter.

Some of the youth we’ve ministered to have been such an inspiration. There was this one encounter I had that changed me. During the prayer ministry portion of retreats, we give the students an opportunity to commit their lives to Jesus. At our first retreat of doing this, a teammate and I sat at the front of the church and explained to the youth that they had this opportunity to put Jesus at the centre of their lives. If they choose to do so, they could come up at any point and say a prayer of commitment to Jesus.

At first, they all just sat silently. I sat silently as well but called on the Holy Spirit over and over asking that He would at least move in the heart of one youth there. After I had prayed this, a boy stood up, passed his friends in the pew and came up to the front where we were. He seemed so nervous. The whole time breathing deeply and shaking slightly. We prayed with him and gave him a commitment card which he signed. As he walked away from the prayer station he turned to the two of us who prayed with him and smiling mouthed the words “thank you.” He then went back to his friends and tried to convince them all to do the same. He was the first and only one at the retreat to make the move to commit to Jesus. His boldness and gratitude have honestly changed me. I will not forget him. As we walked out of the church that day he walked out just in front of me. Above the doorway was a stained glass of a shining dove - the Holy Spirit.

Moving forward in this mission year, I have personally made my own commitment to allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through me. I realize that without Him, without that tug in our hearts to be bold, without the gifts He offers, and without the help He provides, we wouldn’t power to complete the missions we are called to. We are all called to accept the Holy Spirit and give Him permission to work in our lives. As a result of saying “yes” to Him, we can receive the fruits of peace, love, joy, patience, gentleness, goodness, self-control and faithfulness, if only we choose to be bold and give Him permission.

Grace Slivinski, Team 1