Pentecost Offering Sparks a Flame

This blog post, written by Ashley H. Hostetter, Ruling Elder of Beulah Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, was originally used as a Minute for Mission.

Whoever decided to make the Pentecost Offering a youth-focused gift really knew what they were doing. I can think of no better metaphor for a child’s potential than fire. A spark that becomes a flicker, which becomes a flame, and blazes high into the sky, sending other sparks upward and outward. I’m going to share a little bit of how this journey has played out in my life.

I’ve been attending Beulah Presbyterian Church since I was 9 years old. Back then, I had the wisdom of Mrs. McCauley and Mr. Green as my Sunday School teachers. I learned some of the most wonderful songs, which we all know, at Vacation Bible School with Mrs. Tackett and Mrs. Stepro. I grew relationships with other youth and learned to love helping others on a mission trip to Gatlinburg when I was in middle school. Then, in 2005, having heard my brother talk about the wonder that is Montreat, I signed up to be a chaperone, at the tender age of 23, for his last trip to Montreat. Anyone who has been there can understand how I instantly fell in love with that place.

From there, I asked to be a chaperone for the middle school conference and the middle school mission trip to South Carolina, and when it was offered that we might take a group from Beulah for our first ever attendance at the College Conference at Montreat, I jumped at the chance. While at that conference, I met a pastor from South Carolina who takes a group of college-age Presbyterians every year on an experience called, “Qwest West,” where you spend two weeks hiking and camping in the American West. I signed up while I was talking to him at that booth!

Ashley at the Grand Canyon

Ashley at the Grand Canyon

So, imagine…I’m one of 15 students on this trip out West. Not one of us had ever been to the Grand Canyon before. To make it extra special, they lined us up in a long line, had us hold hands and close our eyes, as they let us trust in them to walk us close to the edge of the canyon. At the moment we were told to open our eyes, not only did the visual beauty take my breath away, but a gush of wind came up the canyon edge and knocked the entire line backwards a step or two. In that moment, my eyes opened up to the fact that it was Pentecost Sunday. The fact that I had that knowledge, and made that connection to that gust of wind, to the Holy Spirit being present in my life, was directly related to the journey I had to that moment. So, to me, there’s no greater offering in the church than the Pentecost Offering, because what you’re doing is you are ensuring that children and youth will be able to have a solid foundation in their Christianity; to be able to carry that forward, out into the world, to make other disciples. It’s a phenomenal thing.

Please consider giving to the Pentecost Offering. You have no idea how many flames you will light!

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