Last month I was given the opportunity to be a traveling minister for Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), to visit Jamaica Yearly Meeting. The committee that receives requests for traveling ministers had discerned that this request from JYM was for me; now it was my turn to discern if I felt called to go.


I listened to my mind and heart, weighed the pluses and minuses, did everything I normally do… and was getting no sense of “yes, this is for you to do.” With a bit of disappointment I thought, “Well, if it’s not yes, then it must be no.” But I felt a stop, not a rebuke but a sure sense that I also was not free to say no.


How odd. This continued for three weeks. Doubts about our Quaker process, about my ability to hear my Shepherd’s voice, about the reality of this faith tradition began to creep nearer.


But the “not yes, not no” was strong.


Finally, just a couple weeks before I would have to leave, I wrote to the committee and apologized and explained that I was going to call some trusted Friends at West Hills and get a “rapid-response clearness committee” around me, and that I hoped to have an answer to them within 24 hours.


I asked my husband to be on this clearness committee; he said, “Of course.” I began making calls and sending emails. In the course of doing this contact work, which took a few minutes, I got a clear sense of “Yes; this trip to Jamaica is for you.”


It wasn’t embarrassing to meet with my Friends the next day, to explain that I had my answer already and the answer came exactly while I was asking then to serve, because I knew what I would ask next: I asked them if, since they were willing to serve on a clearness committee would they be willing to be my anchor/support committee while I was traveling. They all said, “Yes.”


Three weeks home now I am still processing the lovely experiences and lessons learned, and soon I will meet with my anchor committee and we will talk.

—Julie P