The last two weeks have been fun for me, getting to know a couple of people who are new to our school, and in particular, another deaconess who has been called to teach 2nd and 3rd grade across the hall from where I'll be teaching the 7th and 8th graders. Yesterday she and I traveled about 40 minutes away to meet another deaconess and her new deaconess intern for lunch. The four of us went to a local home-style diner, engaged in lighthearted introductory conversation about our work - including lots of laughter - and finished with a scoop of ice cream and a commitment to meet together at least once a month.
Such a meeting might seem like a waste of time, but I'd rather think of it as building relationships with my sisters in Christ. It's important for us to create a solid support network with those who have common interests and philosophies. There will be times when we need to turn to another to discuss a Bible passage; to ask for guidance on how to help someone in our care; to get a second opinion on a personal issue; to find/provide a shoulder to cry on.
I treasure the deaconesses living in our local area, and those who are scattered across across the US, and those who serve in partner churches in various places around the world. I treasure them as individuals and because they often fill the role of friend as well as colleague. And I treasure them for the mercy work that they carry out in the name of Jesus.
If you know that there are other deaconesses or student deaconesses living near you, take the initiative to visit with them. Write some encouraging notes. Pick up the phone and let them know you are thinking about them. Create some sort of "local area" gathering for socializing (an activity that we shouldn't forget). Once established, this kind of network will undoubtedly also engender opportunities for mutual personal, professional, and spiritual growth.