Join me in celebrating the ordination of Ceeja Malmkar at GC Surrey Hills, OK, U.S. in March 2022. It has been my privilege and joy to walk alongside Ceeja, as a pastoral resident and now as a GCI elder. Ceeja radiates an unyielding love for God and people that is captivating and awakens a deep desire to know this Jesus she won’t stop talking about.
She shared with me her thoughts on ministry:
Ministry means everything to me. I believe that “ministry” is simply participating with the one whose breath fills my lungs. It’s natural. It’s fulfilling. It’s something that I can’t fail at because it’s not MY ministry; it’s Jesus’. And he never fails. Because of that, ministry fills me with freedom. Freedom to participate in all the things God is doing around me. And there’s no place I’d rather be than participating with him.
Reflecting on her ordination ceremony, she said:
It really meant so much to me. While my relationship and participation with Jesus was just as special to me before the ordination, it was very impactful to celebrate what God has done in my life with my local church family, as well as so much of my GCI Family. I’m often reminded because of my relationships across the denomination that I am a part of something so much bigger. It was incredibly special to me to share in the celebration with so many other elders, friends, and family. I think one of my favorite parts was afterwards, while still on stage, Tim [Sitterley] hugged me and said, “Welcome to the crazy.” I giggled and thought, thank you Jesus for including me in this “crazy” life of ministry. God is so good.
Life and ministry participation alongside Ceeja is not only inspiring, but lots of fun! I am enthusiastic about Ceeja’s leadership as the MTC coordinator in GC Surrey Hills. As a former participant in the GCI USA Pastoral Resident Program and someone who has been mentored by many over the years, I am confident that she will be an invaluable ministry partner to all who seek ministry formation at this MTC site and a force supporting our rising generations of ministers. I asked her what she would say to our young folks in GCI.
Hey! I’m only thirty-something, and that’s still young, right?! 😉 In all seriousness, if I could speak to all the young people in GCI right now, I would want to let them know that they are not alone. I would want to tell them that, in my opinion, the most difficult and trying times of my life were during my teens and twenties. You’re changing, and facing all kinds of difficult times, you’re trying to figure out how you fit in and where you want to fit in. This is the time many people run from church. I understand it because I did it. But God is so faithful that he will never leave any of you regardless of what you may be going through. I guess I could simplify my message to young people into 4 sentences:
You are never alone in anything.
You will always have a seat at the table.
You are loved beyond measure.
In my experience, to be around Ceeja is to tangibly feel that you are loved and you belong. I imagine this is how it felt to be around Jesus in his earthly ministry—thank you, Ceeja, for allowing Jesus to minister his presence through you. I am beyond thankful that our young ministers in training will have you in their corner.
Ceeja’s longtime mentor and friend, Mike Rasmussen, reflected on her ordination:
It has been a joy to walk alongside Ceeja the past 12-years. To see her heart and mind grasp the love and inclusion of who Jesus is and what he did – not just for her personally—but for all people, has been exciting and inspiring. Ceeja is driven and passionate about reaching the unchurched and de-churched with the good news of Jesus by sharing his unconditional love. Whatever Ceeja does, she does with all her might! She is hungry to learn and extremely teachable. She desires to see people impacted by Jesus and for them to make a difference within the Body of Christ and in their local neighborhood. Ceeja has been a blessing and an inspiration to our congregation, our neighborhood of Surrey Hills, and our Region – but most of all to Juli and me personally. I was thrilled to participate in her recent ordination as a GCI Elder and I am excited to see what God has in store for her in the years to come.
Join me not only in celebration but in prayer alongside Ceeja as she continues to participate in what God is doing through the Church and Ministry Training Center (MTC) at GC Surrey Hills.