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Finding God at Motown Mission

Motown Mission is a Ministry Partner in the EngageMI book

“I have these expectations that I want God to fill,” says Jacinta Kreiner. Her summer experience at Motown Mission required faith and patient waiting upon the Lord.

Motown Mission Intern

The Lord reached me, not in the way I thought God would. Does that sound scripted or what? While this is a common cliché, it happens more often than you would think, especially in my relationship with God. I was coming to Motown Mission, expecting to have all of these big “God” encounter moments where we would all be set afire for the Lord and enflamed by the Holy Spirit to go spread the gospel message. I was expecting encounters with the Lord in the way that I wanted them.

Motown intern Jacinta Kreiner

I do this all of the time in my relationship with Christ. I have these expectations that I want God to fill, and then God comes out and surprises me with something better and seemingly opposite of my original desires. No matter how many times God humbles me, I always make this same mistake of creating presumptuous, egocentric expectations. And boy, did God do it this summer!

As stated earlier, my expectations for my experience with Motown were big and bold. So, when I finished unpacking at Foundry and had a whole month of working out of the apartment by myself, there was an obvious difference in where I thought I was going to be, and where I was. Here I had taken up this internship ready for the crazy, inspirational, and exciting summer in Detroit that God had led me to, and here I was with the most exciting thing happening being my outing to the Meijer.

How could this be what God was calling me to? My work consisted of zoom meetings and even more screen time, which wasn’t helping my already couch potato vices. These were not exactly the big “God” moments that I was expecting to have. However, I started to realize that I wasn’t giving this opportunity the right chance. God was still giving me wild, inspirational, and exciting experiences, even as I sat working by myself in my apartment. It wasn’t my situation that needed to change; it was me that needed changing. 

Once I was able to let my pre-packaged expectations go, God was able to reveal God’s self to me in all sorts of amazing ways. He showed me love by the texts my friends and I would send each other, asking for prayers. God was present with me when a friend from school would call in the mornings before work and pray with me. The LORD would cherish my soul as I would sit in meditation out on the back deck. He gave me a home through the little acts of kindness that were shown to me by my co-workers and the community here in Detroit. God revealed God’s self to me in the faces of the people that I was eventually able to serve with at The NOAH Project, one of Motown Mission’s project partners in Detroit.

Northville Volunteers serve at Motown.
Prayer on the mound. Summer Spiritual Life Coordinator, Jacinta Kreiner, led volunteers from Northville First UMC in prayer and devotions to begin and end their days together. “We miss you already and hope you’re reflecting on love as a verb and what it means to be a good neighbor!” ~ Facebook/Motown Mission

God gave me crazier excitement than I ever bargained for through this whole experience of constant uncertainty and adjustment with Motown. He also inspired me through these quiet encounters and through the amazing staff with which I am blessed to work. Rather than guiding me like the pillar of fire that led Moses and the chosen people through the wilderness, the LORD revealed himself to me in the still whispering as he came to Elijah. God was present to me and leading me the whole time; I just needed the faith and patience to recognize him.

~ Jacinta Kreiner is a full-time student pursuing a degree in theology at the University of Mary. She served as the Spiritual Life Coordinator for Motown Mission the summer of 2020 through the Summer Mission Intern program of the Michigan Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. 

Reprinted with permission of Motown Mission.

Last Updated on October 23, 2023

The Michigan Conference