08 March, 2012

2. How did you become convinced that God wanted you to become a missionary?

On Sunday I started a series answering questions for a friend's Bible College assignment. Here is my second answer:

2. How did you become convinced that God wanted you to become a missionary?

I've answered this many times. So many people want to know how on earth we ended up here! I can answer it long or I can answer it short. I'll try for an inbetween version here.

I grew up in a mission-minded church. We had missionaries coming through regularly and a whole month (July) was devoted to mission every year. During that month we usually had a guest missionary at all the services, and often in Sunday School too. Then we'd have a bring-and-share lunch and some kind of talk/slide show afterwards. I remember once when I was about seven being dressed up in Sunday School in a traditional Korean dress by a missionary with OMF. (I'm still in touch with this missionary and she supports us now!)

Through all this I figured that ordinary people could be missionaries and had a general feeling that maybe I would be one day too. When I got to the point of deciding about future studies towards the middle and end of high school, I'd decided I wanted to study something practical that I could use on the mission field. I chose Occupational Therapy.

Then I just got on with living (surviving leaving home!), serving, being a part of a church and Christian fellowships at uni, but halfway through my degree it was as if God jolted me and asked (though not audibly), "So, you were headed towards mission, but what are you doing about that now?" So I took action. I applied to go on a short missions study tour with OMF to Indonesia.

I think I expected a sudden bolt of lightning on this six week tour, but it didn't happen. However I learned a huge amount about mission and myself. I especially learned that mission wasn't glamourous and had little to do with the child-like understanding that I'd acquired from my childhood.

I returned from the trip with a year left of my degree and then, knowing that I needed working experience, I got a job. A very lonely job in the country. This was a kind-of desert experience that gave me an inkling of the loneliness that I would probably experience as a missionary. A wise friend asked me after that first year of working what God was saying to me about mission. My very spiritual response was that I didn't want to go unmarried. His unexpected reply was that we'd better get praying for a man!

Less than a year later I began to go out with the man who is now my husband (another story is that of how we got together, suffice to say we "properly" met on the trip to Indonesia, but it took a long time to finally connect in the dating-sense). We were both prepared to go wherever God led us, but we didn't specifically talk about mission. 

Only after we were married were we searching for the What Next in our lives that we ended up at a Missions Conference and there we were challenged by the speaker saying, "Is there anything you're doing here that is indispensable?" Later that man's wife admitted that was a slightly devious question, but for us it is what tipped us over the edge, made us step through the door of applying to a mission agency. I was 25.

So, through this rambling story you can see that God basically stood behind my shoulder for many years, patiently whispering in my ear until it was the right time to say a definite yes to missions.

The next question will be:
3. The steps that you took in preparation. 


Rachel said...

I'm sure I was dressed in the same Korean dress by the same missionary at about the same age! She's now attending my parents' church!

Sarah said...

Hi Wendy,
I found my way here from Life Actually. Karen linked to this post which you may have seen.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your story as I've been having similar thoughts lately.

Wendy said...

Thanks for dropping by Sarah. Glad that my story resonates with you, in how God is working in your life lately. I'll be posting the rest of the story over the next few weeks, probably about twice a week. I hope the rest of my story is also helpful!