I grew up in the age of Girls in Action (GA’s), so I always knew what a missionary was.
We heard stories of people who traveled to other countries to tell people about the love of Jesus. However, my first real touch with missions was when I was about five-years-old and my Paw-Paw, who was a Southern Baptist preacher, came home from a trip to China.
My Paw-Paw loved Jesus with every fiber of his being, and he loved to tell people about Jesus! He could do this at a restaurant or he could do this in China. I grew up knowing this not just because of his words but also because of his actions.
I took a mission trip to Trinidad the summer after I graduated from high school. I understood that we were there to share about Christ, but I never felt a passion for the people we were ministering to. I had never experienced an all-consuming desire to reach out and see hearts and lives changed. Missions were just an exciting trip we did. A church thing.
Fast forward to 2015. I was sitting in Sunday School listening to Jeremy Griem (minister of missions at Shades) talk about a trip he had just taken that included a stop in Moldova.
Jeremy went on to tell about the people in this post Communist country, tucked in-between Romania and the Ukraine. He told more about the women in this country, how they are so heavily trafficked and abused. My heart broke.
While Jeremy talked about Moldova I felt God’s call in my heart. The same call to action that my Paw-Paw felt and was compelled by every day in the years I knew him. However, those powerful emotions immediately came up against another entity in my heart. Fear.
Understand that I have no problem reaching out to those in need. It’s easy for me to show and share Christ with those around me. I especially have a passion for ministering to the women in my sphere of influence. It’s why I love women’s ministry.
Here’s the thing: I hate to fly.
I have major anxiety when I fly from Birmingham to Florida to visit family. If I was being called to Moldova, it meant I was going to have to spend upwards of 24 hours in the air. The very thought caused my body to shake. Every news report and footage of airline tragedies and misfortunes flashed across my minds eye. Panic set in.
But God’s calming voice broke through. It didn’t take me long to realize that the Lord was calling ME to be brave. Calling me to rely on his power to face my fear so His Name would be glorified. So in July 2015 after lots of discussion & planning, a team of six ladies got on a plane to Moldova.
We spent eight days working with children who have special needs and loving on women who had been trapped in human trafficking. It was a hard trip. It was a life-changing trip. It was trip I did again in 2016, and it’s a trip I can’t wait to take again. Moldova and those women will forever have a piece of my heart.
Here’s what I know to be true: God calls every single one of us to be brave and to live sent. But living sent doesn’t look the same for everyone. Maybe that looks like ministering to your next-door neighbor. Maybe that looks like partnering with Urban Purpose to provide meals for the homeless in downtown Birmingham. Maybe that looks like traveling to Miami, Fla. to work with Todd and Michelle Peterson in their church plant. Maybe it looks like traveling to Canada to work with Mike & Tanya Hauser. And maybe it looks like traveling overseas to work with the Turlac brothers in Moldova.
The point is God has called all of us to live sent. So with Global Impact Celebration this week, I have two questions I would ask you to pray about:
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the peoples!” Psalm 96:3