The story of Abraham has always been a fascinating one to us. God called Abraham and his wife to pack up and leave the only place they knew as home…and they were in their 70’s! Not only would they go to a new place, but God would give them a son whose offspring would bless the whole world. Did I mention they were in their 70’s? Not only that, but his wife Sarah was barren. So here they go on a journey to a new land even though they didn’t know exactly where they were going. God promised to give them as many descendants as there were stars in the sky! Sounds pretty crazy, but Abraham trusted God and followed where he was leading them. Sarah had her only son, Isaac, when she was in her 90’s (say what?!).
I love what Hebrews chapter 11 says about all of this:
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith–for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob [Abe’s son and grandson], who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead–a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them” (vv. 8-12 NLT).
Just like Abraham and Sarah were called to go to an unknown land in Genesis 12:1, we have been called to go out as missionaries to an unfamiliar land. At first we didn’t know where God wanted us to go, but we knew it was time! While David was on a mission trip to Kenya in November 2015, we both felt very strongly that it is time for us to go! But that wasn’t the first time we had the sense that God called us to be missionaries, so let me rewind several years…
We will start with David:
God called me to the mission field when I was at a summer camp in the 6th grade. I felt what I can only describe as a strong stir and ache in my soul when the speaker said, “Some in this room are called to be missionaries.” And then the Lord said to me, “That’s you, David.” From then on God has continually confirmed it with a burning passion and blessing when I was living on the mission field in Papua New Guinea for three and a half years with my parents, and serving here in the U.S. Several others have recognized and confirmed that call in my life including family, friends, and pastors. My wife recognizes the “fire in my eyes” as she calls it. She sees my joy, passion, and gifting whenever it comes to cross-cultural ministry. I see that same call in her as well and it makes me smile just to think about it.
And now Danielle:
As I grew up, missions was not on my radar! Partly because I wasn’t a Christian until I was 14 years old, and also because I didn’t know about missions, let alone any missionaries. After high school I enrolled in an intense discipleship program with the desire to take part in ministry for a lifetime. At the end of the year, we went on a two week mission trip to Mexico. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I dreaded going. I didn’t want to go to an unfamiliar place where I didn’t understand the culture or language. It scared me. We traveled for two days by plane and bus to get to the location where we were going. While we were flying, I started to pray for the trip and the people we would meet, and then I recognized how sour my attitude had been and felt deeply sorry about it. I wanted to change and be open to what God was doing during this trip. It ended up being incredible and life-changing. I still remember one morning getting up early to pray and read my Bible. I went up on the roof of the house to be alone, and it was then, as I watched the sun rise, that I realized that I wanted to be apart of cross-cultural missions and what God is doing in the world. From that moment on I began to see God’s heart for all people and all nations, not just from my own experience, but I started to recognize it in message of the Bible.
So now let’s fast forward to where we are today and why we are going to Fiji! As I mentioned before, since November 2015, we have known that now is the time for us to go. But where? We prayed constantly, “Here we are Lord send us!” We talked to our leaders and our organization. Since David lived in the South Pacific, we thought we would look into what the needs are for that region. We didn’t just want to go somewhere that just sounded good (although Fiji doesn’t sound too bad!), but where we are needed. We heard the needs and prayed and talked some more, and we realized that Fiji is where God is leading us. We took a little trip there in April to check it out, and we saw how ready many people are to hear the good news about Jesus. Matthew 9:37-38 says, “Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” This verse has played over and over in our thoughts and conversations. God is sending us to the harvest field of Fiji!
Jesus commissioned his disciples before ascending to heaven, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20. He also said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” Acts 1:8. We would love to share more Bible passages that have to do with missions, and maybe we will sometime in another post, but our point is that God loves all people, nation, tribe, and language. He sent out his disciples to tell the good news. There are still people who have not heard, and so we go.
You may or may not be called to cross-cultural missions, but we all get to be apart of this beautiful story, His story. As Christians (Christ followers), Jesus sends us all out to continue what was started. He is sending us all out to share the Good News of his salvation. Where and to who is He sending you? Not all are sent to the other side of the world. Some are called to a work place, to families, neighborhoods, towns, to be senders, and so on. Where are you called to share the good news? We would love to hear in the comments or in an email!
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15.