Meet an MTS Apprentice – Carmen Zheng
“I had gone into my MTS Apprenticeship preparing myself for the worst, thinking that it would be tough and that there may be some days where I might even regret the decision…but God is so good, and though these days and moments may still come, I have already experienced just a small taste of the joy that serving God as a vocation can bring, and feel even better equipped to face those hard times having tasted the good”
About Carmen: Having grown up in Brisbane and being blessed with a loving family, a few of my favourite things include: picnics, reading the bible one-to-one with women, being absorbed in a good book, quality time with my family and friends, and the hope and life held out in the good news about Jesus!
Tell us about your MTS apprenticeship:
I have been an apprentice at my church Grace Christian Community since February 2015. I am interested in both sharing my love for the good news about Jesus, and continuing to grow in my love for this good news. As I am trained and stretched in my ministry skills, character, and thinking about God, I want my love for the gospel to grow as I experience first-hand the need for the gospel in our world, and the joy it is to proclaim this truth.
Your prayers are necessary and greatly appreciated! Please pray for ongoing love and conviction regarding God’s character and the gospel – that this would spur me on to be a faithful servant and witness to my family, church and workmates as an MTS Apprentice.
Describe your journey so far as an MTS apprentice?
I have been known to teasingly say to my trainers that this is the ‘softest apprenticeship ever’. The reason I say this is not actually because it’s been a breeze, but that I didn’t expect to love what I am doing so much! I had gone into my MTS Apprenticeship preparing myself for the worst, thinking that it would be tough and that there may be some days where I might even regret the decision…but God is so good, and though these days and moments may still come, I have already experienced just a small taste of the joy that serving God as a vocation can bring, and feel even better equipped to face those hard times having tasted the good. My journey so far has been encouraging, uplifting and valuable as I have been stretched in my thinking about theological issues, been invested in on an incredibly personal and intimate level, and had the opportunity to initiate some new projects and read the Bible with non-Christians and see God at work in all these things.
What’s the best advice your trainer has given you so far?
Take a full day of rest and work out what ‘rest’ looks like to you! It’s been made clear to me from the beginning – from trainers, fellow MTS apprentices, and well-meaning friends – but unfortunately, I’m a bit stubborn so was reluctant to follow the advice. In learning the hard way, I can now see the importance of this day of rest, not feeling guilty about resting and being intentional in working out what rest looks like to me and making sure it happens!
Tell us a story from a day on the job?
One of the first things I did as a MTS apprentice was starting one-to-ones with a non-Christian. One story in particular, I have been meeting weekly to read Mark together with someone and we are now 2 months into it. Over our meetings, we have gotten to know each other better and she revealed to me that her interest in meeting with me was initially purely for social reasons as she felt lonely, having just moved from overseas with no family and friends nearby. However, each week as we began to read through Mark and discuss Jesus and who He is, she would ask many questions and would say to me that she had never thought about these things before but was now so glad that we had discussed it. Most recently, we read through Mark 5 and discussed Jesus’ power over even death. She was struck by this and when we discussed the different responses people had to Jesus, she said (remembering our previous studies about the parable of the sower), that she was definitely not the first 3 soils but was thinking that she would like to be the final good soil! She said she wanted to believe in Jesus and was looking forward to continuing to read through Mark so that she could know Him better and make a firm, committed decision!
What is something you didn’t expect to have learnt from being an apprentice?
That writing prayer newsletters take an incredibly long time!! It may seem silly but I hadn’t really thought of all the work that goes into prayer newsletters and how easy it was for me in the past to ignore a newsletter from another ministry worker. Now, having been on the other side, I see how much work goes into it and will not be so fast to ignore a newsletter from others, especially considering how little time it takes me to read and then pray for those things.
What do you plan to do once you have finished your apprenticeship?
I am open to the different options of either going to Bible college or returning to secular work and using the skills I have learned to serve and train others at church!
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