I've been studying with Diane since September of last year. She wrote in for Bible studies after having found a GLOW tract at her dad's door. Over the last few months, we've become good friends and she has grown alot. She has been a dream Bible study contact in a lot of ways. Because of my busy schedule, I didn't know how thing were going to work until she mentioned that she could only meet every other week, since she would spend a week at home and a week with her dad at his home. This gave me plenty of time between studies to prepare. She is always on time and always has her studies filled out. She is also a retired CPA, and has been filling me in on tips and encouragement as I'm undertaking the daunting task myself. But there are two things that have made this one of the more challenging things I've done in a while.
First, Diane is really struggling with her mother's recent passing. I'm not a counselor, and I haven't experienced grief to any kind of extent. I've mostly just tried to be there for her, but feeling a little inadequate in the process. Sometimes I wonder though, if she would be open to studying had her mother not passed away and was looking for something to meet her hearts need.
Secondly, she's Catholic. And her mother was Catholic. She was basically raised by nuns, went to see the pope when he came to LA a few years ago, and even has a picture of the pope in the flyleaf of her Bible. I knew this topic would be a major hurdle. Sure enough, when she studied our lesson on the Mark of the Beast, our usual email correspondence throughout the week went quiet. I expected the worst. Then her following email really got me worried. "There's too much Catholic bashing in this study. You're going to have to share something positive with me in the next study, because I stopped studying since I did the last lesson."
This past Friday morning, even though it's one of my three days in the week to sleep in, I got up early. I was nervous, not sure if I was going to blow it. This topic has got to be the hardest, scariest Bible study to give to a devout Catholic. I kept trying to stay encouraged, thinking to myself, "if we put ourselves out there, God makes himself responsible for our success right?"
Diane arrived on time as usual. Our study started at 10am and we weren't done until 2:30pm. Diane had so many questions and shed some tears in the process. But she didn't storm out, or throw something at me, or get completely confused which is what I was worried about. And the beautiful thing is, not only is she still open to studying and learning more, I have a clearer understanding of the topic myself, and it doesn't seem as scary anymore!
There's one more challenge I'm praying God works out. Diane needs a church home. Because of Teddy's work, we are constantly on the move each weekend. Today we are in San Diego, next weekend we'll be back in Riverside, but who knows about the following week? This is especially a busy time of the year with recruiting. And once the summer starts, we may be alternating churches in San Diego, Orange county and Loma Linda depending on where the teams are staying. Somehow, I need to integrate Diane into a loving church family that will embrace her, because I think she's ready.