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By Helena Smrcek

Picture 1

Standing in a large auditorium, my voice blending with hundreds of others, I think to myself: only in North America. A similar experience happened to me a couple weeks later, at a Canadian writers’ conference. The gathering was a bit smaller, yet the room was filled with tangible power. I knew I belonged. These were my people, Christian writers, united in the efforts to share our faith with the world.

As most conferences go, the attendees split up during the day to participate in sessions design to teach and encourage them, but there is more to that. Sharing knowledge, experiences, and cheering on your brothers and sisters, is much more that a transfer of know-how. When we sincerely strive to build one another up, I believe God shows up in our midst.

Writing has been a part of my life since the day that I understood that the squiggles on the page actually mean something. As I always say, I was one of the few school kids that ran out of paper before running out of words. This year marks the 20th anniversary of my professional writing life.

The credit always goes to God first, but also every single person who took the time to say a kind word of encouragement to me as I struggled along. There were countless instructors, editors and industry professionals, who shared their knowledge with me. And then there were those special people God placed in my path, my mentors.

I’m not a fan of name-dropping, therefore I won’t single them out, besides you may know some of them. They are my tribe leaders, individuals who have influenced many lives without expecting anything in return. Mentors not only help with skill development, but also invest themselves into your life. When I met one of the first of such guides, along the unclear path of writer’s journey, not only did he offer to critique my work, but he also committed to pray for me every day for one entire year—without my ever asking. I don’t need to state the obvious. My life has changed. Significantly.

In my mind’s eye, I can track my progress through the maze of the publishing world. God has selected special people to direct me. Some may have spoken with me once, searing their words into my memory. Others mentored me for a specific period of time. And there are those who became my life-long friends, or should I say eternity-long, for I believe that what we are called to do here, on this Earth, will carry on home with us.

Yet this past Sunday I realized that the greater part of my tribe is right here, a short drive from our house. My scribe-friends and I, scattered all over this continent, may share our special-kind-of-crazy, but standing in the sanctuary surrounded by hundreds of people worshiping in unison, I knew I was amongst my own. When God speaks directly into your present life situation, through a song, a prayer or pastor’s message, you know deep in your heart He is in your midst.

Cherish your tribe. Take time to know your people. Be the one to point the way to a wide-eyed new-comer. Pray with those who hurt. Fight for the weak. Go after the lost sheep. Be present when someone needs you. Our brothers and sisters, our family, our tribe, they depend on us. But what is even more sobering, God is also counting on us, He expects us be the hands and feet, the listening ear, the mouth that offers kind words and a prayer, the gentle touch of comfort. He gave us our tribe, and a fearless leader, His name is Jesus.

About the author

Picture 4 Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.