Written by Maggie Fuller
Hi friends! My name is Maggie Fuller, and I am a senior here at the U of A. I am studying Marketing, Nonprofit Studies, and Religious Studies, and I plan to use my degree in some sort of ministry in the future!
I first felt the call to vocational ministry - more specifically international missions - the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I went to a summer camp in Oklahoma and attended a breakout session about the Great Commission. I don’t remember much about this session, but what I do remember is the heaviness I felt on my heart for the billions of people in this world that don’t know Jesus - many of them never even having heard of Him.
Fast forward to sophomore year of college: I’m hot off an amazing summer of working at summer camp, and I really want to do something with my next summer to explore this longing I have to spend the rest of my life overseas. There was simply no way I could continue to ignore the billions of people in this world that were dying and going to hell if no one went to them with the Gospel. So I looked into Nehemiah Teams, a program with the International Mission Board that sends college-aged students overseas for two months in the summer to work alongside IMB missionaries. After much prayer and many hard conversations with family, I decided to do it!
And to make a long story short, I LOVED LIVING OVERSEAS. (Come find me, and I would love to talk more about what it was like :) ). Basically, I worked at a preschool teaching classes and doing odd jobs that would help the missionaries living there already. When we weren’t at the preschool, our supervisor would send us to rural villages for about a week to pray and live and try to spark conversations with the locals. (The more I type, the more I see how much I miss it… so PLEASE come ask me about it!!) But boy did I come back from Southeast Asia on fire for the nations and already looking at places I could serve the next summer.
And then... WHAM.
I was COMPLETELY knocked right on my butt. I was hit in every direction with redefined friendships, not knowing where I belonged anymore, and both mental health and physical health issues. I was so angry at God because I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was called to reach the nations with the Gospel. So why? Why was so much bad happening to me when I came home so passionate about going to the nations and happy because I absolutely knew what I was going to do with my life? I loved living overseas, so that automatically means I have to do that with my life… right? Through much prayer and God’s gracious love, He slowly began to chip away at that deep pride and show me how utterly ignorant and narrow-minded I had been this whole time in my view of “the call to missions.”
The lesson I learned here is this: every Christian is called to missions. The overarching theme of the Bible is missions. GOD’S HEART IS MISSIONS. And friends, I want you to hear this: evangelism and missions are two different things, and each of you is called to both. Evangelism is sharing your faith with people that look like you. Missions is sharing your faith with people while crossing geographical or cultural barriers. Both are amazing privileges that we’ve been divinely given, and THIS is what life is all about.
BUT, missions is not only manifested in physically going somewhere. You don’t have to go to some far off place and translate the Bible into a new language. Some other ways to get involved in missions are by praying (actually praying), mobilizing, giving financially, being hospitable to missionaries when they’re home on furlough, and of course, actually physically going yourself. Missions is a non-negotiable in the Christian life, but how you choose to get involved is between you and the Lord.
The International Mission Board is a great place to learn more about international missions, and if you are interested in ever serving overseas, I would highly recommend Nehemiah Teams. I never knew what it meant to fully rely on the Lord until I served overseas, and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. My eyes were truly opened to how big and how lost our world is, and it is our privilege and duty to take the good news we’ve been entrusted with to those that don’t have it.