At the age of 14, just 6 months after I received Christ as my Savior, I gave my life to serve God on the mission field. At 14, I really had no clue what missions entailed. I had no idea about visa’s or set-up funds, deputation or mission boards. I was a kid with a huge dream to do something great for the cause of Christ. I knew that I had a gospel that people everywhere else in the world were without. People in Africa and Asia were starving while I had bountiful resources to feast upon daily. However, it did not take long after giving my life to missions that the huge question was asked, “Where are you going?”
This was not in the application process, and no-one told me that I had to choose a mission field at 14. So many questions began flooding my mind and would continue to bother me for over 10 years. How do I know where God wants me? What if I choose the wrong country? When will I know? How will I know? Even after finishing Bible college and finishing my internship as a youth pastor for a year I was still dealing with these questions. I always thought I would enjoy serving in Africa but the decision overwhelmed me. I went to my mission board, Vision Baptist Missions, and told them I was ready to start deputation. They immediately asked me which country I would start my church-planting ministry in and my response probably surprised them. “I have no idea!” Such a vital part of starting deputation yet doubts filled my mind and questioned plagued me.
Now, as a missionary finishing deputation and leaving for India on February 5, 2015; I would like to share how God has brought me where I am today. Maybe it will be a help, maybe it won’t. At the end of the day the only person that can make this huge decision is you. You must get alone with God and seek his guidance. You must spend time talking to Godly men that can help you. However, while you patiently wait and seek God maybe this will be a blessing to you and give you some practical reminders of how you will make that decision.
For many years after surrendering to missions I was waiting to see a plane fly by my house pulling a banner telling me to go to Mali, Africa. I was waiting for the slap across the face that made it obvious to me which mission field to go to. Pastor’s and friends telling me, “You will just know”, were not helping. I was wanting a dream or a verse that told me what to do but we are not given such revelations. There is no verse that talks about being a missionary to India. As we watch the apostle Paul make missionary journeys we do not see him waiting for miraculous revelations but instead moving forward where he saw opportunity. Even after being held back by the Spirit and receiving the Macedonian call in a dream the Bible tells us in Acts 16:10 that he “assuredly gathered” that is where they should go. He weighed the options and made a decision based on the information provided to him.
Start collecting information
This is so simple but God cannot call you to a mission field you have never heard about. I desired to be a missionary to Africa at 14 because that was the only place I knew about. I really thought that if you are a missionary you go to Africa! However, as I grew and learned I was presented with the need of India. After 10 years of praying about missions I literally never once considered India. I basically did not know that it existed as a mission field or that they even needed missionaries. It took a pastor friend with a burden for India to spark the burden I have today. Begin asking missionaries and pastors that you meet what are some countries that God has burdened them about that you should consider. Missionaries live in mission conferences and are constantly meeting other missionaries. In 2 years of deputation I have learned about several countries I had never heard about. God has given me a great burden to see Indonesia reached with the gospel. Vietnam with 94 million people that 99% have yet to be reached. It may surprise you but if you asked me where I thought you should go as a missionary I most likely will tell you somewhere besides India. Amazing that when the need of Judaea was presented to the Church of Antioch in Acts 11 they raised up and met the need.
Forget Personal Preferences
Many people use their heritage or hobbies as a “call” to a place. I am asking you to set these preferences aside for a moment. Mission work is not about your adventure or interests but finding those who have never heard and telling them. We need men who are willing to go where it is more difficult, where the culture is far from accepting of ours, where your interests will be rejected. This is so important because your “love” for their culture or people is never strong enough to keep you in the work. When “your people” begin mistreating you and rejecting you it will take something deeper to keep you there. It may be that you end up in that country of interest but I fear that you will not stay if you are not willing to go anywhere in this world. Jesus taught us an important lesson in Mark 6:4, “But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” No matter how much you have in common with a people, if they reject the gospel, they are rejecting you. Jesus own people tried to throw him off a cliff so he left and did not work there but instead found a place that they were receptive to the working of God.
Look for a place that God is working
In the book of Matthew we are called lights to the darkness of this world. we are commanded to shine so that we can make a difference. We are to impact the darkness with our lives. The only way to do this is to find a place that is dark. Obviously, most will tell you that everywhere is dark and that is true but there are places in this world untouched by the light of the gospel. There are places that are receptive to the light and places where they have become hardened to the light of the gospel as they have been surrounded by it for generations. Christ talking to his disciples told them as he sent them two by two to preach the gospel that when they entered a city or country that rejected the light they were to move to another location and shake the dust off there feet. Christ wanted his disciples to go where people were responding to the gospel. This is what excited me so much about India. People hearing the Word for the first time and responding to salvation.
I chose India because I saw an opportunity to do something great for God. There was no dream or verse but rather a need. At the end of the day, God is looking for men that are willing to serve Him anywhere in this world. God is not concerned with the where but the who. The biggest thing is not a mission field but what will you do when you get there. A man training, multiple church-planting missionary will effect the world from where ever they are. You can pick the greatest mission field but if you go without the proper training you will miss out on what God could do there through you. You have come to the right place to hear training for missions wherever you decide God would use you in this world. We will talk to you about the where but only if we talk 1000 more times about the what.