When I told a friend of mine that I was going to be moving to Thailand to become a missionary, his response was something along the lines of, “I remember you telling me that you’d never become a missionary. God sure has a sense of humor!”
Yes, this was not my plan!
For many years, I’ve known that I wanted to move overseas after I graduated from college. I love experiencing diverse cultures, meeting new people, and the simplicity that can be found in life abroad. I envisioned myself working for a non-profit that was primarily focused on ending a global problem and injustice. After growing up as a missionary kid, I did not want to have to raise support. I wanted to be placed in a hard and demanding atmosphere that would force me to be dependent on God. I wanted to be intentional about building relationships with people who had undergone extremely difficult situations. Then, in April 2013, my family began a difficult and strenuous journey that caused me to question what it is I really wanted to do. All of the sudden, I wasn’t so sure about moving overseas. I grew closer to my family. And I wasn’t as excited about the changes and challenges I knew I would face in another country. In the fall of 2013, I started looking at a couple jobs overseas and applying for some in Indiana. But as I kept looking and praying, I continually felt my heart being pulled back to work overseas. And the more I looked, the more I realized that my passions and desires aligned themselves perfectly with being a missionary. I believe that fighting to end world issues is very important in expressing God’s love to others, but I wanted an occupation where I could freely express that the hope, love, and peace I have is because of the love and grace God has shown me.
I’m excited and humbled to announce that in the fall of 2014 I will be moving to Thailand. You can read about the organization under the “Ministry” title on this blog. For safety purposes I will not be publicizing the name of the ministry. My specific role will be developing relationships with people who have been sexually exploited by meeting them where they are at, in bars and brothels. I have committed to two years of intentional community with these individuals.
I believe that this is the right ministry for me. I believe that God has been easing my fears in becoming a missionary. He has allowed me to experience the support and impact the body of Christ can have as so many people have helped my family through our challenging situation. I will go as a missionary knowing that the work I’m doing is not MY ministry, but OUR ministry. I am not an independent follower of Jesus. We, together, are proclaiming God’s love to the nations, no matter whether you are here in the US or over in Thailand.