I had my Walk to Emmaus experience with the Chattanooga-Lafayette Community in 1993. At the time, I was raising a small child who had been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer at birth. So, my Walk found me in a state of shock and tiredness from much traveling to and from the hospital that was 7 hours away. I loved my Walk, but for obvious reasons, I wasn't able to take it all in at the time. However, it gave me hope as I embarked on my Fourth Day.
Over the years I have been on various event teams, but an event I attended 5 years ago impacted me the most. Previously, whenever I was invited to be on a team, it was always during a low time in my life, and I really needed it. This particular time I was excited to be a table leader again, but then again I wasn’t. I prayed to God to send me participants who weren’t needy or had other problems. But we all know how that goes—be careful what you ask for.
One woman was said to be bossy and overpowering, and her family even prayed that God would keep her from being that way. But guess what happened? We fell in love with each other. We each had something the other needed. By the end of the weekend, she had asked me to accompany her to a weekly Bible study, and I was happy to accept. It was an international Bible Study Fellowship that, at the time, was studying the book of Revelation. By the end of the season, we were both asked to become group leaders. Over the next 4 years, we shared in early Monday morning team meetings and Bible studies, and we had the privilege of leading many wonderful women and middle schoolers to Christ.
I share these things mainly to say that many years ago, Emmaus helped me laugh again, and it brought joy back to my life after the loss of my child. I am now stronger in my walk with the Lord than I ever have been. And, to this day, I continue to sponsor pilgrims to the Walk to Emmaus.
I am now in seminary with the hope of being ordained as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene. As part of my course of study, I am doing some work on John Wesley and the Methodist movement.
In my local church, for over 30 years, as part of my response to God’s calling on my life, I was a children’s leader. Since my Walk to Emmaus, I have led our discipleship team. In this position, I have had the opportunity to start new Sunday school classes and various women’s ministries. I also believe that my witness has resulted in my son and his new bride responding to their call to be youth workers at our church.
In the future, I would love to write and share my story with others, but for now, my desire is to graduate from seminary, be able to use my education to grow God’s kingdom, and see my family grow and continue to be involved in God’s work.
Susie Gilley attended her Walk to Emmaus in 1993 with the Chattanooga-Lafayette Community. She is now in seminary, seeking to be ordained as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene.
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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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