There has always been an itch within my spirit to travel that I have never been able to medicate. It’s always there, a longing within me to go and see countries and cultures and the people that God created. Only my kindred wandering spirits truly understand what this itch is, everyone else thinks I’m crazy. They say what’s wrong with Mississippi? Or what’s wrong with Alabama? Isn’t that enough?
Growing up attending church, I experienced this thing called “commissioning services” a lot. The missions pastor would stand at the pulpit, call teams up who would be journeying to a different place for a certain amount of time, the congregation would sing “so send I you” and then pray over the team. After hearing the great commission verse one too many times and hearing “so send I you” until my ears rang, I ultimately formed this extremely skewed perspective of missions. Because I saw only some, and always the same few, follow that verse, I thought only some, and definitely not all Christians, were called to “go and make disciples of all nations.” All I thought is that verse in the Bible must not apply to me because I certainly never felt this ambiguous call on my life to go.
Until one day I did.
I was a senior in high school, beginning to think about colleges and careers, and in the midst of all of those questions and prayers my school advertised a missions trip to Togo, West Africa. I knew I was supposed to go, so I was going to do just that.
Besides my itch to travel, there is something else within me that doesn’t know how to handle no as an answer when I am confident that God has told me yes. There were questions from people closest to me about why I wanted to go to Africa and why they thought I shouldn’t. But I dug my heels in the ground like a good teenager and stood firm in what I heard from God.
Little did I know that when I went God would rock my world.
He shook my world so good that I had to go back. It was there in Togo for the second time a year later I sensed that God was asking me to dedicate my life to ministry and missions: a life devoted to God and dedicated to carrying out the plans of His heart to all generations, that all may know Him and love Him. A life dedicated to making disciples of all nations.
One of the things I really love about my God is that He loves to rock our world. He is not limited to what we perceive the world to be and what we think true living is. He is infinite, and He invites me to learn more about His infinity by taking me to different countries and cultures, forcing me to become a woman more awestruck by Him with every passing day and every journey around the globe.
So many little steps, little decisions, little desires in my journey brought me here to Restoration Hope with a heart and a prayer that others would go experience other places that God intricately formed in His infinite wisdom before the world began, and while I'm there meet disciples and make disciples. Myself, along with many others, can attest to you that going and being a part of His plan to love Him, love others, and make disciples of all nations in a place that you don’t call home is a game-changer.
What’s really cool to me about the great commission is that disciple making is not limited to only going to other nations. The “go” in the text means as you go, make disciples. Wherever you find yourself, make disciples. Are you in Jackson? Make disciples. Are you in Chicago? Make disciples. Are you in Paris? Make disciples. Are you in Sweetwaters? Make disciples.
I have learned much about missions and ministry since my senior year of high school. The beauty of the great commission is that it is not exclusive to missionaries and third-world countries, like I once thought. We don’t have to have a “call” but we can find our place within the command, from our backyard, to the state next to us, to a first-world country and a developing country. What a privilege it is to carry the gospel and make disciples wherever we go!
My devotion to God and my dedication to His plan for my life lead me to Africa, to student ministry, to dorm room ministry, and to Restoration Hope, a ministry that is the product of true passion for Jesus.
I do not go to fix. I do not go to satisfy something within me that would try to bring glory to myself. I do not go because I have all of the answers.
I go because I have found all of my answers, all of my “yes’s” in Him.
I go because God is God of all places and I want to experience His creation from all ends of the earth.
I go because God is God of all people and I want to meet them and hear about their lives.
I go because my God can be their God too.
I go because I have family in Christ at every end of this world. To live my life extending my hand and encouraging one other to keep enduring in a world that is not our home is a life that would be well-lived.
I go because as a disciple myself I learn from Christ, I live in His power, and ultimately lead others to Him, allowing the discipleship wheel to keep on turning everywhere I go.
I love God and I love people, and because of my love for my Heavenly Father I go, because that is what obedience looks like for a believer.
I tell you my story not so that you think I am wonderful, or even not so wonderful at all. I tell you my story because I pray it sparks a simple question in your mind in the same way someone else’s story sparked a question in mine: what am I doing to carry out Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations?
What is stopping you from going?
When will you give God your “yes” and follow Him wherever He may lead you?
Give Him your “yes” and He may just rock your world for the better and for His glory.