Many of you have probably met or spoken with missionary ladies. If you haven’t had the chance to personally know a missionary lady, their preparation for ministry may be a total mystery to you. To help us gain some insight into preparing for missions, today we will hear from three young women who are being trained or have been trained for mission work on the foreign field. Before we begin, I’d like to introduce each of these ladies so you can get to know them a little better.
Meet Beth Johnson. She most recently served as a single missionary in North Africa for a few years where she was able to assist veteran missionaries. Currently, Beth is preparing for a new phase in life, marriage! Soon after they are married, Beth and her husband will move to India to serve together as church-planting missionaries.
This is Caitlin Snyder. She recently moved to Georgia to be a missions intern with Vision Baptist Missions. She has already received a degree in Biblical Counseling, but is pursuing further missions training and experience so she can one day serve on the foreign field. Caitlin has spent some time in Africa and God has given her a love for the people of Africa.
Say hello to Mariangela Sanabria. She is currently on deputation with her husband, and they are raising support to be church-planting missionaries to Colombia. Recently, Mariangela had the great opportunity to serve in the Spanish Church at Vision Baptist Church where her husband was the pastor. She graduated from the Our Generation Training Center in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Now, let’s hear from them as they answer a few questions on preparing for missions!
- How did God lead you to missions?
“When I realized how great God’s love for me was after getting saved at the age of 18, all I could think of was that there was no better way to show my gratitude and love for Him than giving my entire life so that many more would know Him.” (Mariangela)
“For me, it was a long process. When I was young, I surrendered to full-time service. Then it was going to Bible college. After that, I took a missions trip where God began to work in my heart about missions – mainly to see that it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it was. Ministry is different overseas, but it’s still ministry. After I taught school for a couple of years, I had the opportunity to take a summer internship. There God really changed my heart and an opportunity came up to work alongside a family. I prayed about it and took the opportunity. It was a small-step-at-a-time process for me.” (Beth)
- What has been the greatest challenge as you have pursued missions?
“This is going to sound cheesy, but being single has definitely been the biggest struggle. People see you much differently and have different expectations from you.” (Caitlin)
“Probably myself. I get in the way a lot. If I just let go and trust God, He prepares the way and provides in miraculous ways. “ (Beth)
3. Who has been the greatest encouragement for missions in your life?
“So many people have been an incredible encouragement. I can’t begin to list them all. I am so blessed. But there are two people who stand out from the rest: my parents. My mom even traveled with me on deputation a lot. They have both sacrificed much to encourage me.” (Beth)
“My mom has definitely been my greatest encouragement. She is a great example to me spirituality and pushes me to reach my potential and increase my faith in God.” (Caitlin)
- How has receiving missions training helped you to better prepare for serving the Lord?
“Missions isn’t quite so scary with the extra training I have received. I am an odd ball in the fact that I am an intern at Vision Baptist Missions. So, it has been such an extra help coming from Bible College to get some hands on experience which is a little different than college.” (Caitlin)
“There is no way to quantify how training has helped me. There is so much to learn. It has helped me to stick with it and not give up, to know how to prepare to move overseas, how to interact with people, understanding of their belief system, etc. The missions training I have had has been irreplaceable.” (Beth)
- How has studying missions shaped your view of God?
“It has helped me see how gracious and loving our God truly is. I was raised in a Christian home so I grew up learning to fear God, but most people around the world didn’t, and they have been more exposed to what this world has to offer. It is easy for us Christians to just try to reach those who have standards, morals, and values close to ours, and judge those who are different from us. Yet, we, too, were “different”, and God still loved us. Those people who in our eyes are wicked, in God’s eyes they are loved. So we need to see them as Christ does, and tell them of His love.” (Mariangela)
“Missions shows the majesty and power of God and how He truly can change lives.” (Caitlin)
- What have you learned about your role in the Great Commission?
“It starts where you are. As a woman, it is my duty to reach other women. First, to show them Christ, and then guide them so they, too, can serve Him. This job is not only for pastor’s wives and missionary wives; this is a MUST for every Christian woman. We cannot allow our earthly dwelling to flourish and not further God’s kingdom.” (Mariangela)
“Everyone has a part. My part may be different than your part, but they are both equally important. I have done a lot of seed sowing and watering. Perhaps someone else will get to do the harvesting. We all share in the work. “ (Beth)
- Finally, what advice would you give to a young lady desiring to serve in missions?
“Get in God’s Word. Study it. Pray. Do what you know you need to be doing. Go on a short mission trip. Find out first-hand what missions is like. If you are still interested, get training. Specifically, training that involves serving on the field for an extended amount of time like 6 months or more. It will confirm in your heart, “Yes – this is what I want to do.” (Beth)
“GET UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! God did not put that desire in your heart only to have you live a mediocre life! You are serving the King of kings and Lord of lords, and that is not something you take lightly. Get trained!” (Mariangela)
Whether you are preparing to serve God in missions or you simply wonder how one prepares for missions, these ladies and I hope their stories have been an encouragement to you.