I wonder if, like me, spreadsheets give you a sense of fear? Maybe you have traumatic childhood memories of being made to use Excel in school. A bit like Brussels sprouts, you’d rather not go there again but will pinch your nose and force yourself to try every once in a while.
What if I told you that some people out there actually enjoy spreadsheets, and are good at them? Wouldn’t it be great if God had given some of us the skills to spread those sheets (or whatever the term is) so the rest of us don’t have to?
Louise (better known as Lou), our finance manager at OMF (UK), is one such gifted person.
Serving at home…
Spreadsheets weren’t necessarily Lou’s first love. She was studying sociology at uni when she first came to help process cheques at OMF one Christmas.
This led to part-time work in various departments during her holidays, then permanent part-time work which helped support her master’s degree, and finally a full-time, long-term position in finance once she finished studying.
God graciously provided work experience and the right opportunities at the right time.
Working in finance might not sound as glamorous or important as moving abroad, but Lou’s role contributes to the bigger picture of God’s global plan.
As she told the Serve Asia podcast, ‘Finance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and actually it terrifies some people! So, what’s been a really great encouragement for me is being able to help people understand the OMF finance system, which is wonderful but complex, and serve in a way that means people are less burdened by it.’
Lou admits it’s ‘not the most exciting job at times’, but she loves the pastoral care element to it which frees people up to do their work on the ‘frontline’ overseas.
…but not in isolation
Her awareness of OMF’s wider mission and her place in it isn’t only theoretical, though. Nor is finance Lou’s only gifting.
At her church, Lou’s been a youth leader and had the opportunity to go to Tanzania to support a charity school project.
She’s also been to Thailand and Vietnam with Serve Asia, OMF’s short-term mission programme.
When she went to Thailand, someone had heard about her involvement in youth work and suggested she did some of that while she was there.
This was a moment when Lou felt like an ‘imposter’, but it was ultimately an enriching experience. At the end of her time there, one of the team took her aside and told her, ‘You really have a gifting for youth ministry, this is what you should be doing.’
She came away with a deeper understanding of different cultures, OMF’s work in East Asia, and her own unique gifts and place in it all.
Members of one body
Lou may not be called to permanent overseas ministry, but she’s a great example of how God will use us and grow us right where we are.
Her life isn’t defined by spreadsheets or youth work, but by Jesus. Her work and her service at church go hand in hand as she grows her gifts and looks outward to the big picture of God’s global plans.
Much like Rob, she does her day job to the glory of God and seeks to live for Jesus in all areas of her life.
Like Joelle, Lou has been willing to follow God’s lead and take the opportunities he’s presented her with, even if it’s not the most glamorous option out there.
They and we as Christians are all members of one body in Christ, using our different God-given gifts to serve each other and share the good news of Jesus with those around us (1 Corinthians 12:18-20).
As Lou says, ‘You can literally bring whatever you’ve got … I definitely felt like, “What have I got to give? What could I possibly do?” But God will use anything.’
He has equipped us all with different skills for a common purpose: bringing glory to him.
‘Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Hebrews 13:20-21)
Hear more of Lou’s story on the Serve Asia podcast:
Use your finance skills in God’s global plan:
Dan graduated with a Liberal Arts degree in 2020, and will spend the rest of his days explaining what Liberal Arts is (‘humanities pick and mix’ is his favoured description). He came to OMF (UK) for a media internship in September 2021. He loves tennis, books and caramel, and hopes to find work in publishing or writing in the future.