The lights dimmed, the sound system crackled, and mothers shushed their talkative children. People shifted in their seats in the sanctuary and craned their necks for a first glimpse of the guests of honor: workers sent out from our church to share the gospel to the ends of the earth.
“Evan!” I whispered to my then-boyfriend (now husband) as they made their way to the front, “Those are real missionaries!”
At 18 years old, I’d never seen a missionary in person before, and I’m not sure what I expected them to look like. Maybe they would visibly glow with God’s glory? The men and women standing up front at my first-ever missions conference looked so . . . ordinary. No halos, no auras of light.
But they did radiate peace and confidence in the Lord. Their stories of God’s rescue, healing, supply, and faithfulness captivated me. I felt inspired to join God’s work in another country. If the Lord could use ordinary people like these in his extraordinary plan, could he use me too?
As a younger teenager, I had briefly considered serving for a short time overseas. A speaker at a Christian summer camp challenged us to “tithe your life” after high school graduation. He meant spending two years ministering cross culturally, so that by age 20, two years (10%) of your life would have been dedicated to serving the Lord full-time.
I thought this was a great idea. So, when I got home from camp, I announced to my mom that I wasn’t going to college after graduating, I was going to the mission field. She directly informed me that I was going to college after graduating. End of discussion.
So, I put “missions” out of my mind. I figured it was for Super Christians anyway, and I was most definitely ordinary.
But when I became a college student, the Lord started pulling my heart again toward cross-cultural evangelism. Each week, our Christian campus ministry director taught about God’s heart for the nations as a biblical theme running from Genesis to Revelation.
This truth clung to me: The Lord desires for men and women from every people group on earth to know him, to be set free to worship him. But so many people are still waiting to hear for the very first timethat God created them and loves them. The more I considered this, the more it gutted me. I could not stand idly by.
So, I prayed, “Lord, I’m not sure what your will is for my life. I don’t know if it includes being a missionary in a far-away land. But if that’s what you want, if you can use even ordinary me, I’m willing.”
My husband’s story about becoming a missionary includes a clear moment-in-time event when the Lord called him to the work. For me, it was never about hearing a clear call to “Go forth!”, but not hearing a clear call to “Stay home.”
I found myself not just willing, but increasingly eager to be part of taking the gospel to those who hadn’t yet heard it. We still didn’t know where God would take us, so we stepped forward in faith and enrolled in seminary after college. God has always been faithful to reveal the next step and provide what we need as we’ve pursued being part of his worldwide plan.
Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m a “real missionary” like those remarkable workers I first met many years ago. I’m so thankful God has given me more than just those two years I first planned to serve after high school. What a privilege to carry the hope of Christ to people in Japan!
By Audrey Eusey, OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that more people would ask God if he’s calling them to be a missionary overseas.
- Pray that the unfinished task of reaching East Asia would become widely known across the world.
- Pray that young people would consider giving God more than just a small portion of their lives to full-time service.