Growing up in the Southern Baptist Church while attending a Presbyterian-based school meant I heard much about the great commission.
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Missionaries from all over the world came and spoke at church and school; their stories would draw me in; they were making a difference in the world, and I wanted to be like them.
While in high school and college, I was able to go on several short-term mission trips, each one growing my faith and my desire to go to “all nations.”
In 2003 my dream was coming true; my husband, five-year-old daughter, and I were moving to France to begin our journey as international missionaries. We were to spend a year in France and then proceed to North Africa. This was it: we sold our house, cars, and most of our possessions, packed everything else in fourteen suitcases, and flew to France. Little did we know we would be back in the U. S. seven months later.
Three months into our time in France, my husband had to have emergency surgery. This did not go well. I will spare you the details and only say that after being sent to several different hospitals, including the American hospital in Paris, we were brought back to the United States in the hope that a specialist here would be able to correct the situation. My husband had another operation and several procedures to clean out the infection in his body; to this day, he still deals with the complications, and as a result, no missionary agency will send us anywhere long-term.
We were crushed and angry; we knew we had done exactly what the Lord had told us to do without any shadow of a doubt. So, why were we back in Alabama?
In His patient grace and love, the Lord began to tell us, “There are people here I need you to reach, and you wouldn’t know about them if I hadn’t brought you this way.” Opening our ears (and hearts) to what the Lord was saying led to opportunities to share His love with others, and slowly, my idea of what it meant to be a missionary started to change.
The neighborhood the Lord placed us in was filled with people who did not know His love. A pastor wanted to start a church in the area and needed help; he talked to us about it every time we saw him; all we had to do was be available and show up.
The Lord grew my families relationship with Him in remarkable ways over the following years. He taught us that He never un-called us to share His Word and His love, our mission field just looked different than we had initially imagined.
Learning to be available to lead a Bible study or discipleship group; to be a mentor, or to simply send a text to someone in need of encouragement became the field, and the field was “ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35)
Pre - covid, we were blessed to go on many short-term evangelical and humanitarian aid trips to several countries and across the United States. So, when the lockdown happened and the world shut down, I began asking the Lord, “how do I share now?” And He said, “Write.”
It was one of the last things I expected; I did not write for anyone other than myself. But, the Lord showed me that short, encouraging, scripture-based posts on social media could have a global impact. (Hence, I’m writing for a U. K. based blog while sitting on my back porch in Alabama.) He then began teaching me how to turn those posts into devotionals people could hold onto and return to as needed. I never dreamt I would be a published author, yet the Lord opened the doors for it to happen and for His love and salvation to be shared.
Thankfully, the Lord sees the entire field of harvest and can use anyone that makes themselves available to follow His call. I am incredibly grateful that the Lord never changes His mission:
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment and a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
But He constantly changes how to reach the field with that mission. So be available to see your mission field in a new way; the Lord has not un-called you.
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