Hello- I will just get ...

Michelle asked:

Hello- I will just get right to it...I am in position where I am researching this idea of a life committment to missions. I am not sure where this desire sprouts from. Ever since I was young and my mom was the Missions Coordinator at our church I have been intrigued with missions. I have many times just thought it was an interest and that was it. But as I have gotten older and the questions of what do I want to do with my life have come up it has caused me to wonder about my interest in missions. I have a unique background, I am a military bratt and I have been to 6 different schools, four of the schools were during my elementary days. My family doesn't have a lot of money and I haven't had the oppertunity to go on short term trips outside the country. I know that that would answer a lot of questions I might have about missions to actually go and do it. I have exhausted myself and expenses trying out college and I have an Associates. I have school debt and I am fearful to acquire even more. I know I am called to ministry, but what that looks like I am not sure and that is ok with me. I just want to be obediant to whatever I am asked. And I do know I really look forward to being a supportive wife and mother one day, I absolutely know that is a ministry I am called to, outside of that it is a little harder to decifer. Even family and friends say that that is what I am meant for. There are a lot of things I enjoy. My heart is really focused on people knowing the God I love. But I have no training, biblical education, or financial qualifications. Do you have any advice for me in where I should begin with all of this? When I talk about dreams outside my small world (America) people have tended to be more cynical and I would like an outsiders opinion.

Jack Answered:

Thanks, Michelle, for your willingness to express yourself so openly. Just doing this I’m sure was a help to you. I wish we had an afternoon to chat about all the subjects you raise, but since we don’t, I’ll make some suggestions:

1) As Christians, all of us are called to mission – that is, every one of us is called of God to love Him, belong to Him, to glorify Him with our lives, and be ready to do the things He asks us to. This is our mission as followers of Jesus.

2) I understand what you mean by being a military brat. I studied with them in Korea and Japan. I was a missionary kid. I attended four different high schools in three different countries! I’m glad that you have been able to get your Associates, and I hope that one day you can finish a university degree, but it all depends on what you are called to do.

3) Don’t sell short your calling to be a wife and mother – an honorable, distinguished, and satisfying profession. However, you will be an even more effective wife and mother if you have an opportunity to finish your education.

4) Missions (note the “s”). In addition to our general mission (no “s”) the Lord sometimes calls us to serve Him as a missionary. This also may be part of the Lord’s will for you. The way to begin is by serving where you are. For example, teaching a Sunday School class, helping with a youth group, taking courses your church may offer in evangelism, participating in a prayer group, reading missionary prayer letters and praying for the missionaries, etc. I would encourage you to talk to your pastor about your desire to serve the Lord in ways you are able to do so. There are lots of opportunities in every church!

5) I would encourage you to pray about the possibility of taking a missions trip. The Lord is very creative and is not poor. He is well able to provide for you, even if you can’t afford it yourself. Putting this need before Him, praying about it, and being open to His leading will open doors for you that will surprise you, and will be an excellent preparation for future service.

6) The phrase that most impressed me in your letter was,”My heart is really focused on people knowing the God I love.” This is fundamental, Michelle. What you need now is to learn how to share both your testimony and the Gospel in simple but effective ways. Serving the Lord where you are will open doors for the next step.

7) If you want to get married, I would also encourage you to pray for just the right man to come into your life. God is very creative in this area as well. As you read biographies of effective missionaries, you will notice how many were led to their spouses – some in very ordinary ways, others in more unusual ways. (Note my series, “Great Cloud of Witnesses,” on www.urbana.org)

Blessings on you, Michelle. God has precious plans for your future, and most of all, He made you and loves you dearly.

In His Grace,

Jack

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