One of the greatest joys during my furlough ministry is sharing experiences from the Mission field with prayer supporters, close friends, and those who are in training to become Missionaries.
That’s why starting this week I will begin sharing some of those experiences in an extended format (three to five parts) on the blog. It’s my prayer that they can help you understand how God uses all experiences in the Mission field (both good and bad) for His Glory.
January 8, 2007 is very important to me because it was the day I boarded a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina and eventually arrived in Melbourne Australia two days later as a missionary.
There where many emotions running through my mind that morning; sadness over not seeing my family again for at least two years, anxiety about moving to a different Country, fear because I didn’t know exactly what God had in store for me, but more than anything else there was excitement about finally being able to return to Melbourne.
The Lord called me to serve Him as a missionary to Melbourne while there on a short-term missions trip in February 2004. Up to that point I truly believed this was His Will for my life but wanted to visit first and make sure it wasn’t just my emotion. The twenty-one days flew by, and with each one, the burden on my heart for the Aussie people continued to grow along with a desire to reach them with the Gospel of Christ.
One of the things that made those three weeks so special were the opportunities I had to preach and minister to Believers in local Baptist Churches. Every Sunday and Wednesday night the missionary couple I stayed with took me to a different Church and each one was filled with Christians who listened excitedly to my testimony.
Following each service they would have a fellowship time during which dozens of Australians would congratulate me on a wonderful message, ask questions about America, and offer a cup of coffee.
These ministry opportunities where enough but God also took the Biblical truths I shared and used it to greatly affect people’s hearts. Following a message one Sunday evening an elderly woman walked up with tears in her eyes and thanked me for the sermon. Later that night the pastor told me her name was Loraine and she had lost her husband the week before; on the way back from the funeral saw a Church. That Sunday afternoon the Lord woke her up and led Loraine to attend a service at the Church she passed following her husbands funeral, there she heard my testimony and God transformed her life.
Then there was the night we went to welcome new missionaries at the airport; little did I know that experience would be used by God to change my life forever. Separating the arrival section of the airport from customs are two large metal doors and a walkway long enough for people and their luggage. By the time their flight had landed a large group of Australians had gathered watching the double doors anxiously, once they came through those dear believers jumped over the bar separating them from the walkway and embraced the new missionaries welcoming them home.
I choked back tears watching this and with all my heart wish it could have been me.
Later that night while staring out at the Southern Cross a prominent constellation of stars I whispered, “this is home now.” The next morning with tears streaming down my face an email was written to my parents telling them I didn’t want to come home, but two days later a flight brought me back to North Carolina and the Missions Trip Experience had ended.