It took me quite a while to muster up enough courage to meet with my priest about my sense of call to do mission work. I knew once I confided in him, I would truly have to examine if this was a God-calling or not. I was still scared that it might be. Periodically, over the next year and a half, we would meet together to pray and talk. His gentle guidance and prayerfulness was exactly what I needed. I felt encouraged.
In the fall of 2010, we felt as though it was time for me to move forward, and I entered a formal discernment process at my church. For the next eight months, I met with a body of faithful and prayerful parishioners who had committed to serve on my discernment committee to help me determine whether or not God was calling me to mission work. Working with this committee was a humbling experience, as I had to be vulnerable, totally honest about my spiritual journey and life. But having a group of people walk this journey with me for many months has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.
There was a general consensus from the committee that God was calling me to mission work in South Africa, so I continued to move forward and the discernment committee morphed into a sending a committee. There were so many details to work out, and I felt a bit overwhelmed: with which mission agency should I go, and what type of work should I do? Although I had a desire to work with young people and to use my publishing skills, I really didn’t have a clear sense of direction of the type of work God was calling me to do. It took God a while to work out the details, but God was at work behind the scenes in amazing ways. In the words of a new friend, “When we say ‘yes’ to God, he takes over and takes care of the rest.” I feel like this is so true of my journey. Once I said yes to God—“yes, God, I’m willing to go”—God took over, taking care of the details.
I will be going under the mission agency SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders), and I will be serving with Growing the Church, an Anglican organization that serves the entire province of Southern Africa. I will be doing youth development work and working with their media ministries. For more information, check out my blog “Placement Decision: Growing the Church.”
Besides giving you a glimpse of the background story of why I’m becoming a missionary, I hope this discernment series blog will help you take a closer look of what God is doing in your life. What might he be calling you to do? I believe that God has callings for each of us. Some of these are general callings; others are more specific. Some are for life; others are for a season. Perhaps God is calling you to help the elderly neighbor next door, to tutor a child who is struggling with reading, to go on a mission trip, to become a lay reader, to become a foster parent, to become a teacher, priest, or writer. Who knows? Working for God’s kingdom knows no bounds, and God equips us with gifts for a reason. Remember the wise saying of my friend, “When we say ‘yes’ to God, he takes over and takes care of the rest.”
NOTE: This is the third post of a three-part series that recounts my discernment process to become a cross-cultural Christian worker in South Africa.