Two weeks ago I returned home from Toronto after a week of Pre-Departure training with TEAM, the organization I am partnered with to be a missionary in the Czech Republic. This was a week I had been praying for and anticipating for months. I was looking forward to connecting with friends I’d made at my Missionary Orientation, as well as TEAM staff, making new friends, and taking the next steps in my training.
The week did not disappoint. Although it did go a little faster than I would have liked.
It was cool to have this training in Toronto, a city that love and spent many years in. I had fun introducing my American friends to Tim Hortons, All Dressed chips and poutine. We got a chance to experience the diversity of this amazing city through food, and more food.
I got to meet more amazing people who are giving up their lives to go out in the world and make disciples through church planting, music, sports, and simply building relationships. Soon we will all be spread throughout the world, sharing the gospel and spreading the love of our Lord.
It is so exciting to be a part of.
It’s amazing to hear the stories of everyone and learn how God called them to their respective missionary locations. And it’s inspiring to see so many walking in obedience to God. He has called everyone to a different place – whether it be Japan, France, Guatemala, Mexico, Africa, Spain, Asia – and He has called us each for a specific purpose. To further His Kingdom.
I was (and still am) humbled and honoured to be among these incredible people.
I know when I am on the field, and I face times of struggle and trial, these will be the people I reach out to. And I pray they will reach out to me in their times of need.
Even though we only spent that short time together, we are forever connected as we each set out to fulfill God’s mission in our lives.
All of us will experience things that can only be understood by others who have been in the mission field.
All of us are giving up everything we know, and everything that is comfortable, to share the love of Jesus.
And while our individual struggles may differ depending on the country we’re going to, whether we’re single or married, and what our specific ministry will be, there are common challenges we are all sure to experience.
In our training we talked a lot about cultural values and cultural intelligence. We talked about personal bias and how easy it can be for us to be judgemental when faced with something different. We’ll each face difficulties in language learning, adjusting to cultural norms in our new homes, and dealing with homesickness.
But as long as we know we are fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, and we trust His path instead of trying to find our own, we will be fine.
We will all commit a cultural faux pas at some point. And we’ll have embarrassing and frustrating stories to share regarding language learning. We’ll have days full of tears where we’re desperate to return home. And we’ll have moments of satisfaction when we can finally order a coffee properly in our host country’s language.
And there will be moments of pure joy – that moment when someone we’ve been building a relationship with, someone who previously didn’t know or care to know Jesus, declares that they believe.
In that moment, all of the cultural mistakes, the frustrations of language learning, and the tears of homesickness, will be worth it.
That’s what we are doing this for.
We are here for God. For His glory. To build His Kingdom.
Throughout the last 8 months of this process – through the highs and lows of fundraising and sharing my calling – I have asked God many times, “Why me?”
I’m not a pastor or a teacher. I’m not a counsellor. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’ve done things I’m ashamed of. I’m overly sensitive and take things too personally. I’m not great in large groups. I can be anti-social. Sometimes, I have a temper.
I am imperfect.
I am so very flawed.
I am also saved.
I am forgiven.
I am loved.
And I want everyone else to know that they are too.
And that is why me.