“Has God ever called you to ministry and you have no idea what that ministry is supposed to be? That is where I was a year ago.”
Cynthia Defibaugh knew God was calling her to “step up” but just how and where was a great mystery. Cynthia discerned through prayer that God was nudging her to enroll in the West Ohio Conference Certified Lay Ministry Academy (CLMA). She applied to enter the 2015-16 CLMA, and by her second class, with the guidance of the spiritual directors and a simple piece of paper with a grid, God revealed more clearly His will and her calling. “God has called me to become a fire chaplain and serve our firefighters and those they help,” Cynthia shared.
Cynthia had previously been an emergency medical technician on a volunteer squad, married a volunteer firefighter, and became an American Red Cross disaster volunteer to assist local families displaced by fires. In her Red Cross duties, God placed her at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the aftermath of 9-11. She then became a United Methodist Early Response Team volunteer. Cynthia continued, “I had not seen it before, but God had been preparing and training me for this ministry for years.”
Cynthia is a member of Lewistown-Trinity United Methodist Church. It is a small, rural church in the very small, unincorporated village of Lewistown in Logan County, just a few miles from the resort area of Indian Lake. In the summer, the Indian Lake area population triples in size. “The fire departments of Lakeview and Indian Joint Fire serve this area and have had their share of experiencing lives lost through fire and accident. Those victims are sometimes family, neighbors or friends,” Cynthia remarked. “Both departments saw a need in having a fire chaplain and welcomed me aboard. And although fire chaplains on large city departments are commonplace, the need for a fire chaplain in a small rural setting is just as important. Tragedy affects us all. I am there for them to remind them of God’s presence in life’s darkest moments. I am there for their families in a time of crisis or tragedy. This is my God calling.”
Cynthia further commented, “The Certified Lay Ministry Academy helped me to discern God’s plan for me with clear vision. The academy equipped me with the additional tools and support to accept my call. I was certified as a Certified Lay Minister (CLM) and serve faithfully in my calling.”
How is God calling you? To learn more about the West Ohio Conference Certified Lay Ministry Academy, visit www.westohioumc.org/conference/certified-lay-ministry or email rstreet [at] wocumc.org. The deadline for submitting a 2016-17 Certified Lay Ministry application is August 15, 2016.