Discovering Your Call
6 Mar 2017
We may think of hearing God’s call as a mysterious moment: a voice, a dream, or maybe some writing on the wall! But for most missionaries, the Lord speaks his calling over a number of years. Keeping their eyes and ears open, they walk a path of obedience, and discover the signposts God places just ahead of them on the trail. Read one couples’ account of how they discovered their calling…
It started at Reachout, a missions conference in Sydney. We didn’t attend because we were wanting to go overseas, but because friends from our church invited us. The speaker that year was challenging a key assumption many Christians have: that our lives and decisions are ours, but as believers we make Christian choices. These assumptions were turned upside down and instead we saw that our lives belong to God, and we need to be obedient to be and do what He wants us to do. On returning home from the conference, we shared with our Pastor and he prayed for us as we started this journey.
Our day-to-day lives didn’t change that much. We both finished our degrees and continued to serve with our church. After I finished my teaching degree, I started full-time study at Sydney Mission & Bible College (SMBC). Studying Bible and Missions courses, my mind was completely moved to think beyond Sydney.
One day at an SMBC Preacher’s Conference, Gary Millar (now Principal for Queensland Theological College) spoke and although he wasn’t pressing people to go to Ireland in the conference (since it was a preaching conference), I heard in casual conversation with him that people in Ireland do not welcome the Gospel and the churches are small in numbers. That definitely put Ireland on the radar for me.
During this time, my wife, Brooke was nursing full-time and because she hadn’t been exposed to the people or conferences that I had at SMBC, we decided to go to Ireland on a holiday. We wanted to talk to people around the country and hear about ministry in local churches, and also see if we were a good fit for Irish culture and local churches. This time in Ireland allowed us both to be convinced of God’s leading.
We were at our Sydney church one morning (after the trip) and sitting behind us were a couple from Dublin who had come to Sydney to study at SMBC. Our church in Sydney later employed them as part-time youth Pastors. There was an affinity with them and with our church that this connection with Ireland was important for us all. It is not that ministry in Australia is any less valid, but it was obvious that God was leading our lives to Ireland and our church to support the ministry and partner with us in Ireland.
Gary Millar later wrote that “Ireland is in a state of rapid change. Many of the old certainties have crumbled – for all kinds of reasons…many, many Irish people have walked away from the church” and “Reaching relatively wealthy, cynical, post-Catholic people is not easy! But there are real opportunities, and even more importantly, the gospel is the power of God to rescue everyone who believes!”
This is the challenging context in which we now live and work.
Dave and Brooke now have 3 children, and as a family they have been living and serving in Ireland for over 5 years. What about you? Are you seeing the Lord’s clues and following the signposts He puts on your trail? Will you walk in obedience into your call, whether that be next door, or to the other side of the world?