Friday, June 30, 2017

Q&A about missions

About a month ago I was asked 5 questions about us and missions. Every once in a while we are asked to share, but the difference this time is I want to start posting our answers for others that would be interested. So here it is. A member from Calvary Baptist Church in Henderson, Tx asked these questions so she could share with a missions team they took to Dallas. This is the church I was saved in and later met my wife, Brittney. Lord willing Calvary will be bringing us our first team to help us in Thailand Summer 2018.

1.When did you first feel called to be an overseas missionary?

I remember what stirred my heart for missions. It was when I went with the Calvary youth group to Bogg and heard Josh King speak about missions there in the main sessions. A few years later I felt called to be a missionary when I went overseas for the first time. When I was about 19 years old I went to Thailand for the first time. We stayed in a buddhist temple in a village for a few weeks. We went to teach english and basketball with Robert Wallace. Maybe you have heard of him? haha Long story short, it broke me and my wife’s heart to see people who have never heard of Jesus. From that moment on God pressed hard and deep into my heart and mind a passion to return to Thailand.

2. How did you choose to country you would go to?
I don’t feel like I chose it, honestly... My wife, Brittney, went to Thailand first a year before me. She felt a burden for the work there. We were dating at the time (I knew I was probably going to marry her), so I wanted to check it out also. After going I felt the exact same way for the people. It crushed me. I feel like if I could have chosen a country I would have picked Mexico or something because it would be close to home and I could eat Mexican food all the time, haha. But, thankfully God calls and leads us. We are on His mission. He is the one with the plan and power to make it His perfect will come about.

3. What did you do beforehand to prepare to go (including education, previous trips, areas you served in beforehand)?
Education: I studied Bible at seminary. It’s not an requirement to be a missionary, but I would encourage it.

Previous Trips: Calvary did a good job preparing me for missions. I remember great trips with the youth group called City Reach. We went to Colorado and Pennsylvania. Those were good trips that helped me gain confidence in serving and doing outreaches. Also when I got to go to Thailand twice before we moved here (2009 and 2012) helped prepare me.

Areas I served beforehand: At Calvary I got to help out with the praise band, and teaching a Sunday school class. After that I was in seminary for about 4 years, and 3 of those years I had the opportunity to be a youth minister at New Hope Baptist Church. Working there helped me learn how to serve and love the church more, and put into practice the things I was learning in seminary.

4. What has been the biggest challenge living overseas and what has been the greatest joy?
Biggest challenge... really hard to name just one. Here are two: 
1) Missing family. Every two years we get to go back to America. It feels like a long time. We miss family so bad; especially, when there is a tragedy in the family or someone is sick. But, God gives you grace to get through it. He even helps your parents to get through it. It’s really hard on them. Some people in your family will understand why you are gone and support you. Others will think you are selfish wanting to live your life away from them, and they will try everything they can when they are on the phone with you to convince you to come back.

2) Second hardest thing is learning a language and culture. So much time and effort has to go into this, and it is so vital to your ministry overseas. You can’t tell anybody about how Jesus can change their heart if you can’t speak in their heart language. You can’t fit in or understand the people you are reaching until you get at least understand some of their culture. You see that and believe it more when you are living in a culture that is not your own. Learning the language and culture is really hard.. really, really, really, hard, but it is a must to be effective in cross-cultural missions.

Greatest Joy: would be telling people about God. Seriously, a lot of people we know and have had in our homes do not know a single Christian. We are the first! They haven’t heard about how this amazing world we live in and see everyday has an amazing creator. The greatest joy we experience is sharing the good news in this dark country. Thailand is 95% buddhist, 4.5% muslim, and only 0.5% christian. There is a lot of work to do, and it is our joy to be here doing it.

5. Any final words of encouragement you would give to a young person considering going into full time ministry or missions?
I have to separate the two because my answer would be different for both.

If missions: try it. Go on a trip. Ask God to help you know if this is something you can/should be doing. If you go and it’s not (which is ok!) consider it an answered prayer. It’s not a wasted trip because now you have gained experience, had your worldview stretched, and have a better idea of how you can support global missions. You will see the needs. And they will become more real to you. I think people who have been on mission trips are the best supporters missionaries have!

If considering full time ministry: I can’t say try it. You can’t just go try to be a pastor or youth minister. But, you can go talk to them! That’s what I encourage you to do. They will be more than happy to answer your questions and help guide you, and so would I. We all needed it at the beginning. You can always call/message me to talk more.

But this is what I want to encourage you with: look at the characters in the Bible. God called Moses, but Moses felt inadequate because his speech wasn’t good. Jeremiah said, “I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” He was worried too about his speaking abilities and that he was too young. But God called them. God calls people who feel inadequate because they WILL depend on Him. They know they can’t do the job they are called to alone.

Take me for example. I was horrible at speaking in front of people. The worst grades I made in college was in “speech” and “preaching” in seminary. It terrified me, like shaking and about to throw up terrified, haha. But the good thing is it caused me to really depend on God. Since that happened I know it is only because of God I can stand before churches and preach, and now I’m standing before a church in Thailand preaching in Thai! Which is in itself a miracle.

Last advice I will share is if you can do anything else, do it. If you could be a nurse, teacher, or business owner, do it. One of the clearest signs that you are being called to full-time ministry is that you can’t see yourself doing anything else but that. It grips you in a way that keeps you up at night. It terrifies you. It’s scary to give into, but you must trust God. He can use you in ways you thought impossible! That’s how he gets all the glory. I will be praying for your trip to Dallas! Be brave, loving, and unashamed of the gospel.

No comments:

Post a Comment