—Ed. Note: This month, I invited Sue Kiefner, the IBOC communication assistant who joined us in March, to share her thoughts on her first run through the process of developing the Moravian Daily Texts. Please join me in wishing Sue continued success in her work with the IBOC.
God’s plan is bigger than what my mind can comprehend. I recently lost my job at a local church due to funding and I was on a quest to find my next venture. I believe God wants me to work in ministry, and following that “call” one night led me to the Moravian Theological Seminary website. The next morning I got a message from Mike Riess stating he was looking for a communications assistant at the IBOC. Coincidence? I think not. Now I know the Seminary and the IBOC are two separate entities, but just the idea that God is once again putting me in a place filled with His Word makes me feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.
After going through the interview process, I began working at the IBOC on March 14, right in the heart (more like heat) of Moravian Daily Texts season. Although I have some publishing experience, I’ve never worked on a project like this.
How hard can it be? Twelve writers choose the hymns and write the prayers, so all I have to do is put it in chronological order, right? Well—not quite. Prayers need to be edited for grammar and punctuation. Hymns need to be checked to see if any repeat within a few months of each other. If there is a repeat, the search is on for another hymn—preferably not copyrighted—to replace the duplicate one based on the bible verse and prayer for that day. There were 183 hymns that needed to be replaced this year.
I then had compiled each month into a single document, which meant aligning the borders, prayers, hymn numbers, scripture readings, etc. All of this formatting, copying and pasting gave me the opportunity to review and fix mistakes. I must have read the Daily Text 20 times from front to back, correcting errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. (If I missed any additional ones, please forgive me!)
This project has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is rewarding to work on a book that so many people read daily to enhance their spiritual journey. During this time I’ve learned a lot reading the many scriptures, prayers and hymns. I learned “out of the mouths of babes” is a quote from the bible (Matthew 21:16). My heart was touched by Hebrews 2:18, “because Christ himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested,” not only because Christ is able to help me with my pain, but that through my pain, I can help others. I also learned about true grace in reading John 21:17, “Jesus said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'”
Everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time. Mike and I have known each other for years, and I believe the reason we worked together before was to get us ready for now. I believe God wants me to learn something through His words and placed me here to do just that. His will is beyond my comprehension. This path continually unfolds before me and I look forward to finding out where the journey takes me next.