A Pilgrimage into Mission
3 Feb 2021
My journey into cross-cultural mission actually started with books. As a child, I went through Mum and Dad’s bookshelf reading anything I could find and soon latched on to the missionary biographies I found there. My parents encouraged this and each Christmas and birthday, I’d be given more books to add to the collection. These books sparked a heart for cross-cultural mission, although it would take 20 years for this to start to become a reality.
Through school, university, medical school and beginning work, cross-cultural mission was put on a shelf. I remained interested and applied for a number of short-term trips, but something always blocked me; lack of finances, lack of leave and once a visa application that disappeared and was never processed. And so, when I found yet another trip a few years later, I assumed the same would happen. Two weeks out from the trip, my leave still hadn’t been approved and my passport hadn’t arrived. Frustrated, I told God that He had to sort this out if I was meant to go, and within the next 2 days, the passport arrived, and leave was approved!
This two-week trip to Asia opened my eyes to cross-cultural work in a new way and was when I felt God’s specific call to long term mission. Within 3 days, I had lined up a job with the organisation, and 8 months later I moved to Cambodia. While I loved my time there and would happily have stayed, at the end of 12 months I felt that God closed that door and called me back to Australia to finish my general practice training.
I returned to Australia planning to stay for 2 years. Four years later, I’m still in Australia and while a lot of progress has been made and I’m now working towards serving overseas with Pioneers long term, I’m still waiting!!! The journey has not always been smooth, and the timing has almost always been vastly different to what I would have planned or wanted.
My friends and family, and those from Pioneers who have worked with me will probably agree that waiting is not a great skill of mine, and I get impatient and want to race ahead to the next thing. While I struggle with the waiting, I’ve been encouraged as I’ve seen that I am not the first to experience this. Even going all the way back to Genesis, I see that God called Abram and promised him descendants, a land, and that through him all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). He was 75 when he received this promise, but it took 25 years before even the first part was fulfilled in the birth of his son Isaac (Genesis 21:5). The rest of that promise wasn’t fulfilled until centuries later but looking back now, we can see how God faithfully fulfilled every single part of the promise in His time.
If you feel that you are being called to mission, the best advice I can give is to be persistent and know that God does keep his promises. The journey may not be smooth, it may take a lot longer than you expect and may look different to what you picture now, but I am always reminded to trust that ‘We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.’ (Proverbs 16:9).
– A Pioneers worker.
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