When I was growing up on a dairy farm I was afraid of missionaries who visited our church. I feared getting too close to someone so holy and strange; they had to be strange to do what they were doing didn’t they? If someone had told me that someday I would be one of those missionaries, I would have laughed. I might also have cried because it frightened me to think of going into an unknown place to work among unknown people who spoke an unknown language. I knew that I was not smart enough, Godly enough or brave enough. If I could go back to give myself some encouragement, this is what I would say.
“Helen, the God you’re getting to know is bigger than any challenge you will ever face. If He calls you do go somewhere and do something new, be encouraged that He will go with you. The Bible promises; ‘If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,’ (Psalm 139:9-10). This life adventure with Him won’t always be easy but you will learn about trusting God in hard times and rejoicing with Him in good times. You will see how faithful He really is.
As you enter the unknown, He will equip you to do the work to which He has called you. You will not always do it perfectly, and that’s alright because only God is perfect. He will provide answers to questions you’ve not even thought to ask. He will open doors in surprising ways and hold your hand in guidance as you walk through them with Him. Your mind will be expanded as you see a world that is much larger than the one you now understand. You will be light in a dark world.
Will there be loneliness? Perhaps, but obedience to God is of utmost importance. Helen, don’t fear, but prepare by learning more about God thus learning to fall more in love with Him till He calls you. Truth be told, I still say that I’m not smart enough, brave enough or Godly enough but I’ve learned that God is enough. I’ll tell you a little secret Helen. Just wait till you see what God does with cream of tartar!!”
Helen and her husband David confirmed God’s first call to missions at a MissionNext Conference in 2002. After three short-term (2-4 month) projects in Lithuania, they joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. They then taught for 7 years at Black Forest Academy in Germany. Black Forest Academy serves mostly US passport missionary families who work in over 50 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Now, back in the States, David continues to serve Wycliffe in a human resources capacity.