Do you ever think of missionaries as, like, AMAZING Christians? That they are somehow on a different level than the rest of us? I think they are out saving the world and I am just simply trying to not cuss when I stub my toe.
Well Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview from friends that are very near and dear to my heart. We have known each other since before either of us were married. Names will be changed for security reasons.
“Sarah” is the kinda friend I consider like a sister. I have called her 100 times for advice and she even cleaned my house when I was in the hospital during the birth of our youngest daughter.
Our husbands watch football together and we consider them some of our closest friends. Now, in a matter of days they are moving half a world away to share with people who have never heard the name Jesus.
It is amazing to watch friends as close as these, friends I know as real, goofy, playful and perfectly imperfect put feet to their faith as they become missionaries.
Enjoy this “interview” of sorts as you meet some new friends. I hope you see the authentic and REAL people through the screen and leave encouraged by the incredible work God can do in everyday people!
1. Tell me how it came about that you were going to be missionaries?
For about 3 years we felt like God was calling us to missions, but we never felt like we were equipped or even ready. We had no specific place, and felt inadequate to the task. I mean, missionaries are like “super Christians”, and we are not. We both had somewhat shady pasts too, and certainly that wasn’t called for either, right?
In the end, it came down to a few things that convinced us. First, we realized that if we didn’t go, who would? There are over a billion people who need Jesus with no access to the gospel. Why shouldn’t we go if we are committed to loving people and seeing Jesus love change lives.
Second, we were afraid. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and for us, the fear of the unknown, fear of what it would look like, and fear of things like kids’ schooling, etc. Our God is not a God of fear (Romans 8:15) and so we are blessed to be loved by Him so much that he calls us sons/daughters. Finally, it was through the obedience of others in sharing their story.
A couple we heard speak came to talk about their serving. They had kids our age, they were our age, and weren’t perfect Christians either. They just had a heart to serve and love on people. We realized that this wasn’t a specific call for some people, it is a call for all people.
Living a life for Christ is about sharing the gospel each and every day, wherever we find ourselves. We may happen to find ourselves 12,000 miles away, but we are called to the same purpose as anyone living here in the states. Not only is that empowering, but encouraging to know that we are all missionaries. We also picked up a copy of the book Radical by David Platt. Don’t read it if you aren’t ready, but 2 pages into the book, with tears streaming down my face, I realized that I had run from fear long enough. It was time to give that which Christ gave for me – everything.
2. What has this looked like in your day to day life, selling your house, quitting your job, telling your parents etc.?
The selling everything part is amazing. Freeing in every sense of the word. You just don’t realize how caught up you get in the stuff until you don’t have it anymore. It’s not easy, but knowing that your life is about something more than just the American dream is a very encouraging.
Whether or not you sell everything or just become that much more generous, a life without “stuff”, is a life more available to be filled by Him. One thing that we felt like God was impressing on us about our house, jobs, etc. was that even if we go and decide this isn’t for us, it’s still just “stuff” and they make more of it every day. We can always get more stuff, but the feeling of missing something amazing that God has for us, we can’t get that back. We can’t recreate that or take back the years we could have been serving Him.
It’s also a huge leap of faith, and that’s not easy either. Trusting God with your entire life is a little disconcerting, especially when you have no idea of what His plan is. However, when an artist is painting a canvas, the brush strokes may seem random to the viewer, but to the artist, each one has a specific purpose. It’s not clear at first, but God is painting a masterpiece with our lives too. All He asks is that we trust Hm to give us just what we need when we need it.
Telling people, especially our families, inevitably brings up questions about the kids and safety or other issues like organized activities, culture shift and even friends. This is hard, too, but one thing we decided early on was that the best thing we could do for our families, friends, and even our kids was to show them that above all, God desires obedience. We hope that in following Him we will show a life lived for His glory and one that points people towards Him.
Photo by HB documentary
3. What are you most excited about on your missionary journey?
We love people, period. We have been praying for a genuine love for the people we’ll be serving in Asia, and God is rewarding that. We cannot wait to love on the people and share with them God’s amazing story.
All along we have looked at this is just another adventure, another destination — for the journey IS the destination! This is just another adventure and knowing that our kids will see some things and have experiences that almost no one else could ever have is a cool thought too. They’ll have a love for culture and people far beyond what we feel they could get here, so we’re excited to see how they do.
Finally, we can’t wait to see God glorified through our amazing team and the nationals we’ll be working with. Earlier this year I had the privilege of serving in Zambia and on the first day I experienced just a small piece of every nation and tribe praising God (see Revelation 7:9-10). You can’t imagine how awesome it is when God’s name is being praised among the peoples and this is the hope we have for each day of our journey.
4. What words of encouragement would you have for people who are interested in missions but think they are under qualified, not “spiritual enough” or just to intimidated to take that leap?
First, to quote the old cliche: God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. When he called Matthew to a life of service, Matthew was sitting at a tax collector’s booth. Jesus didn’t tell him to clean up his life, then follow. Rather, He asked him to follow. He did, and the rest is history.
God is simply looking for willing servants, ready to make a radical sacrifice, but sharing in an eternal reward. If you are thinking about missions, even if you are thinking it might be for you, I’d ask that you begin to pray for God to break down the walls of fear and doubt, replace them with love and encouragement, and be willing to be obedient.
It requires no special qualifications, just that you love others and love God.
Won’t you join us in this mission? Won’t you join us in serving? It won’t be easy, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.
Photo by HB documentary