I was asked a series of questions by my church’s missions department, to be used in a future publication to connect with a reader who may have some inkling that s/he is being called to full-time missionary work, but they don’t know what it is or how to define it. So I thought I’d share my answers here, too…
How did you know you were being called to missionary work? What happened internally or in your environment that let you know you were being called to ministry? I think I’ve learned over the last couple years that not everyone on the mission field has been “called” specifically so much as have answered a wide calling of all Christians to join in the work somewhere – they just happened to have chosen to answer that call outside of the “normal world”. With that being said… in college I was afraid of being called to missions. I loved going on short-term mission trips, but I was afraid God would ask me to leave everything I knew. When I moved to Atlanta to work at FBA, I quickly saw I was immersed into a church who loved and supported Missions. I went on a few mission trips to other countries, but it was a week at JAARS in North Carolina that got me. I learned that week about Bible Translation and a lot of what’s involved in that – specifically that if Jesus were here, he would speak to everyone in their heart language, so His Word should as well. I felt a tug in my heart that I’d never felt before – like I belonged in that world. So after that week I applied, and the rest is history.
What were the signs, or clues, or indicators? My heart broke when I realized that I had my thinking all wrong: I had this underlying thought that if the Bible was in English or other major languages, that all could have access to it. And once that thought was shattered, and I realized how much help was needed to get the Bible in every language, I couldn’t help but be a part of making it happen.
As you examined these indicators, what was the final affirmation that it was indeed missions work that you were being called into? I guess the final indicator would be that I’m actually here, now, in Papua New Guinea. The doors were wide open, God provided the funding, and there was a great need for someone with my experience here.
Do you have any advice for someone who may be feeling that same spiritual restlessness and is seeking answers? Ask questions, seek answers, and if you find something that breaks your heart and you can do something about it, do it. God will provide. My personality is that I can easily jump into something without asking many questions, so for others it might not seem that easy. But if you are truly allowing God to guide you and work through you, you’ll be where you’re supposed to be.
If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
“I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?'” -Isaiah 6:8