Rosilind is a new friend of mine. I am so honored that she has written today’s post for us! She has a missionary’s heart and I pray that her testimony will bless you!!
While many Missionary stories start with a childhood experience of hearing the Lord’s call or sensing a strong desire to minister to a certain nation, mine starts in my adulthood.
In my senior year of high school I traveled with my dad to Europe. Amazing senior trip. Huh? Well, it wasn’t just a sightseeing trip; there was a lot of ministry that took place in the 12 days we traveled through Germany, Austria, Poland and The Czech Republic. While, I most certainly enjoyed my time there, I will be honest and say that I was ready to go home long before we boarded British Airlines for our return flight to the Portland International Airport. I was most certain that God had not called me to missions, since I obviously found foreign culture less than enjoyable.
Over the years I repeatedly and loudly declared my certainty that God had not called me to the mission field, perhaps in hope that the words would reach God’s ears and that He would have mercy on me and let me stay in America; with my large bacon burgers, clean water and familiar…well…everything. But in 2009, in the large auditorium at the Bible College I attended, I heard a clear and unmistakable call to missions. This was ironic because I was in that auditorium assisting with a large youth convention as a way of avoiding doing a short-term mission for my summer credit.
I was terrified. God had betrayed me. I wanted to be a worship leader, not a missionary. I wanted to marry a cowboy and live the American dream. So I hardened my heart and turned away from the call – and dove headlong into the darkest era of my Christian life.
4 years later, broken and humbled, I lay in a small cockroach-infested, stuffy apartment at the top floor of an old brick building in the center of Zagreb weeping. I had wept for days. Why would God still want to use me? It seemed incomprehensible. Is there really that much grace for me?
My heart began a breaking process for a people who have known nothing but war all of their lives. Every generation has been scared by war. Every generation knows loss on a scale Americans cannot begin to understand. Every generation is intimately acquainted with the effects of PTSD. The slimy fingers of drug addiction, alcoholism, pornography addiction, depression, hopelessness, and deep, gnawing pain have slithered into every home choking off their life source.
I have been burdened time and again by the pain so deeply etched on the faces of those I pass on the street. And it is through this lens of pain that many live their lives day after day. And I feel it so keenly.
“What can I do? I am a mom of two small boys. My world has shrunk so small and revolves around nap times, diapers and the seemingly ever-present sniffles that keep me bound to my home.”
I wanted so desperately to reach out more. To do more. Yet the demands of motherhood seemed to thwart every effort I made. I knew there were Christian women in isolated villages where there were no churches that could offer them the spiritual sustenance they needed to maintain a thriving spiritual life. How could I reach them? I knew the Lord had called me to women; to encourage them, strengthen them, witness to them, and disciple them – but how? Never had the call seemed so illusive!
And it was in a moment of desperation that the Lord opened the door for me to begin a Good Morning Girls online Bible study group here in Croatia. While small at first, it helped to encourage and disciple the young believers in our congregation.
The spring of 2013 had been especially trying on my little family. Injury, illness and several large home renovation projects that were simply unavoidable had drained us emotionally and physically. I was entertaining the idea of taking the summer off from the Bible study. Yet an uneasy feeling continued to nag at me and I went to prayer. I just don’t have the strength to go on right now. I need a break.
“There are times when you need rest and recuperate, but then there are times when you need to press in. This is a time to press in.” The Lord said.
I had to trust that the Lord would give me the strength I needed to minister to these women.
It was then that something miraculous happened. The announcement I made for the study went viral on Facebook and over 100 women signed up for the summer study. Over the next several months I would hear from women in villages where there were no churches that this was exactly what they needed to grow and thrive in their relationship with the Lord. Others would share with me how this revived their personal relationship with Jesus, and that this was the first study of this kind to ever come to these parts.
In this unique way, the Lord has enabled me to not only reach every region of Croatia, but into Bosnia and Serbia as well. But not just me! I have had the amazing joy of mentoring leaders who work alongside of me. We are doing this together! I love that. I can’t take any glory. These women are so much more capable than I to reach their nation. They have stepped up to the plate to lead our 6 Facebook groups, translate materials and make the graphics that help make our studies so appealing. They are amazing!
A new day has come to this nation. A day of awakening. A day of unity. A day of joy.
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” – Psalms 30:11
as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn’t writing, she is dreaming up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. She is the author of A Little R & R, a resource center for women, and founder of Missional Call – a resource center and community for missionaries and those who are passionate about missions.