Let's continue to pray for an aspect of missions each day this week, in honor of the International Conference On Missions being held in Kansas City, MO.
Tonight I'd like to share a little bit of my story, and follow it up with a little prayer. I'd like to invite you to leave your story, or a part of it, or add a prayer on too!
When I first became a believer, it took me about 2 years to really begin FOLLOWING God (and not JUST believing). It was a huge step, and I came with a lot of baggage, a lot of messiness that had to be sorted out. One of the things that came more naturally was anything humanitarian in nature... read as MISSIONS. When I saw that my church was forming a group of mostly young adults to go and support a ranch for deaf children in Mexico, it felt like something right up my alley!
I was able to take a few trips to Rancho Sordomudo in Baja California with the group, and quickly fell in love with the kids there. I had taken a class in ASL while in college, but never had the chance to use it. In so many ways this place was a good change and a great way to escape my past in Southern California.
When the opportunity arose to apply for an internship there, it took a lot of prayer and a lot of consideration if this was God's will. I'd be living in poverty, only allowed to have a cassette player to play sermons from my home church. I would not be allowed any other luxury, not even music tapes! Still, my heart was focused on the deaf children at the school. I prayerfully filled out my applications, asked for letters of recommendation, and went for my physical that had to be included with my application. When my required tests came back, I was stunned to hear the reports. I had an elevated blood sedimentation rate, and it would take time to diagnose it... more time than what they had to fill the space. The window of opportunity closed, and I spent 9 months in diagnostics, medical labs and a lot of time at home. It took about 3 of those months to diagnose me with an autoimmune disorder, and about 6 months to get through all the treatments to get better... but in those last months is when I met Mark - my husband.
I won't go into details over the trials of going - not going, but as a new believer it was traumatic. It was hard to choose to go, and harder to not get to go, but I see now what God was doing in me, and why He gave me those opportunities. It would have been wonderful to have gotten to go and do the work there, but my lesson was about obedience... and following His lead, and trusting Him. I wasn't going to get to go to learn those things.
His heart for missions, to tell every tribe, tongue and nation about Jesus was planted in me during that season, and it prepared me to raise our family with that same focus. In many ways, I see that He has given me a 3:1 return on my life for missions... as all our kids are mission - minded, going, serving, and supporting missions and other missionaries. His plan for me was to nurture that seed and grow it in my kids' hearts!!
Lord, we pray for those that You are calling into missions. I pray Father, that they will continue to see Your hand working here, near and far away. Let us be filled with passion for the lost, like you are! I pray that we will hear Your call, see Your hand leading us, and allowing You to fulfill Your will for missions through us. I pray that you will meet our needs, and the needs of our kids, as we raise support to go here, near, and far away!
Father, allow us to hear the cry of Your heart for those that are lost. Send us, oh Lord!! Send ME!! And when I can not go, this week, this month, this year - help me to use my resources to send others. Use them to insure that the next generation will GO and share the name of Jesus...
In His name we pray...