Mission Maker Spotlight: Are You Going or Are You Sending?

As a child, I would attend church with my family, recite prayers at night, volunteer with local organizations, and overall, try to be a "good person." I grew up in a traditional American, Christian household where God was at the center, but I didn’t know what a personal relationship with God meant. I was just going through the motions.

About six months after graduating college (October of 2013), I moved to Augusta, Georgia, to break into the news business as an on-air reporter. This was the first time I moved out of state and away from the comfort of my hometown and family. I was laser-focused on my career and my relationships, quickly losing touch with any resemblance of faith I had growing up. After two years at the station and a tough break-up, I realized how far I had drifted away from God and I was desperate to find my way back.

In September of 2015, I packed my bags to head back to Florida, this time Jacksonville. I surprised myself when I landed an on-air reporting position within weeks (but...it was God wooing me back the whole time!)

During my first month at work, I tried out a few churches near my apartment, not having any luck. One morning, I asked my coworker if she suggested any churches. She undoubtedly said I would love The Church of Eleven22! The next weekend, I attended a service by myself and I was hooked. The pastor was unique and refreshing...and for the first time I felt like I was actually able to digest the Word of God.

One month after I started attending COE22, my dad had a heart aneurysm. As I drove from Jacksonville to Orlando, he was taken into emergency open heart surgery. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him again. After a seven hour overnight surgery, the doctor came into the waiting room in the early morning hours with a pencil drawing of my dad’s heart. He didn’t have much to say at first, besides this was simply, “a miracle.” My dad had survived.

After that life-changing experience, I began to experience God in the most real way possible as I continued to attend church and soon joined a bible study group. In the early months of 2016, I made the decision to go on a mission trip with my church to Panama. In June, I took the journey with 30+ people to the beautiful region of Chiriqu where we served the indigenous people and the Panamanian locals. I was stretched and pushed out of my comfort zone, but it now stands as the most memorable week of my life. In less than seven days, I went from jumping on a plane to an unknown territory...to getting baptized in the Caisan River in Panama! To say God changed my life that week would be an understatement. I believe going on mission takes away the everyday distractions and breaks down the barriers, so you can hear and feel God in a different way.

Since that mission trip, I’ve been to Brazil with my church, and now I am preparing to LEAD a mission trip to Uganda this September. If you would of told me two years ago, I would be leading a mission trip to Uganda…I would have said you’re crazy! But you know what’s even more crazy? Watching what God does with your life when you surrender everything. A majority of the time (okay, like all the time), I want to take control of the direction of my life. I think I know the best way. But the times I lay it down, God far exceeds any thought, dream or hope I had for my life.

The Bible tells us to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Good News. Romans 10:12-15 is sobering as it reminds us that there are people all over the world who are completely unreached. They have never heard the Gospel. It is our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus and bring them the Gospel.

Romans 10:12-15 New International Version (NIV):

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[b]

God calls us to give up our comforts, money, time, and resources for His purpose. While I am physically going on short-term mission trips, it is important to me to also support long-term missionaries across the globe while I am back home. I love the vision behind Mission of Mary because not only do the beautiful jewelry pieces present openings to conversations with non-believers, but a portion of the sales go directly to missionaries living out their call from God.

Supporting global missions looks different for everyone. Some are on the grounds and in the trenches and some have the ability to financially give to missionaries. I do believe if you are not going, then you need to send, and the foundation for all is prayer. I encourage you to pray about how God would use you, your talents, time, and resources for the Glory of God. Are you going or are you sending?