Do you at times worry about what to do with your future? As a high school student, I certainly did.
Just before year 12, I went on a short-term mission trip with my family to Nepal. Here I saw great physical needs; children in hospital for preventable conditions and young pregnant women arriving at the hospital without any prenatal care. I came back to Australia with a vision for my future: I was going to work in health development overseas. This passion got me through that final year of high school and then four years of university. It was during this time that I then realised people don’t just need help with their physical health, but also their spiritual health.
Some days I’m disheartened. It’s been 6 years since I was in Nepal and I’m still not yet overseas. I’m learning that God doesn’t always give us all the steps to his plan straight away. Through it all, however, I can trust God’s plans. I may not be completely comfortable stepping into them, but He has always been faithful. And following Him is life’s greatest journey.
Your journey may be similar to mine, or greatly different. That’s not what’s important. But may I encourage you to continue to seek God and His plans for your life, no matter how young or old you are.
I spent the weekend with an awesome group of people; worshipping God and seeking His heart for the nations.
14 months ago, I went on my first Next Steps camp. Looking back, I can see how that weekend clearly impacted the direction of the year that followed.
It was on this weekend from May 2018 that God made it clear to me that going on the Short Term Overseas Mission Program (STOMP) to East Timor was the right next step. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know the impact this trip had on me. After the STOMP is when I applied for Worldview College and finally started the process of joining WEC.
Because of what happened last year I was expecting God to move in big ways this Next Steps camp, and that’s exactly what He did! The presence of the Lord was moving amongst us.
It was lovely
to meet with a group of people who ‘get me’. Even though I had never met some
of them before we bonded on a deep level quickly, and I felt they understood me
as we share a heart to see the unreached reached. Each of us are at different stages of our
journeys into mission, but were able to encourage one another, ask questions
and expect big things from God. I’m so excited to see where these people will
be a year from now, how God will use their gifts, passions and most importantly
their desire to serve Him and ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Acts 1:8).
We discussed how God has always been on
mission, from the beginning of time, and will be on mission until that day that
every knee is bowed, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Having space and time to ask questions, challenge one another and to have our
worldviews expanded was so valuable. Even though I have been interning for a
mission organisation, it is so easy to get caught up in life and forget there
is a whole world outside of my little neighbourhood. This weekend I was
reminded of the situation around us, that still there is over 42% of the
world’s population that has not heard of Jesus!
So Amber, what was the best thing?
One of the major highlights of the camp was the prayer for the nation’s session on the Saturday night. A few of us expressed how it was a long time to be praying and feared we may even fall asleep! But that’s not what happened, instead the hour flew by and I truly felt like we had entered the presence of God. My good friend Emma wrote about it on her blog and she captured it beautifully.
We were very lucky to have a WEC worker on
home assignment who shared stories about “her people”. Seeing the way
this Australian lady has faithfully served and prayed for this unreached people
group touched my heart. I was convicted that I need to be in regular prayer for
the people I’m going to be working amongst, even if I don’t know yet who they
We were all confronted by what looked like a
sea of people, representing 1/10th of the unreached people in the
world. On each strip of material was a people group, the country they reside in
and the population. It was overwhelming to see, and Jesus’ words “the
harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ really rang true. However
instead of complete helplessness (as I have often felt when confronted with this
statistic) I was excited about the promise that every nation, tribe and people
will be represented when worshipping the lamb in the throne room of Heaven.
So today I want to encourage you to start
praying for the nations, because the promise is that they will be represented
at the throne room in Heaven. But the question is, are we going to join God in
his mission in reaching them?
Thank you so much for joining
me on this journey!
With love, Amber
Some useful tools. I’ve started using the Unreached of the Day app by Joshua Project, so that I can pray specifically for a new people group each day.
Some days God will give me a group of people to pray for and so I’ll pray for them. There are so many great resources out there, I encourage you to find one that works for you. I’ve found it’s useful to pray with someone else and this also keeps you accountable.
As the year comes to an end I’ve been reflecting on what God has taught me.
Firstly, His timing is perfect! In November of last year I began praying “God I’m willing to do whatever you want me to do, but you need to show me what that is.” For about four months this was my daily prayer, and it wasn’t until February that God revealed what He wanted me to do this year. In a way that only God could orchestrate I heard about the WEC Mission intern program. During this time I had applied to countless job positions and knocked on what seemed like endless doors. One of my friends said to me one day “well, if it’s not this job, then God must have something better in store for you.” I truly believe God “works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), and He has better plans than we can ever ask or imagine.
It was during this season of waiting on the Lord that my faith deepened and I learnt some amazing lessons of patience and trust! His plan and timing is truly perfect.
The second thing that God has shown me is that He is a God of transformation and redemption! He is, and always will be until Christ returns, at work drawing people to himself. I’ve seen this clearly in my own life this year as He heals the broken parts of me, and reveals His beauty.
I’ve seen this in accounts of scripture, how he chose Abram and the people of Israel, but then also other unexpected people. The gospel is not the story of perfect people, but of broken people with a powerful and merciful God.
I’ve also seen this through the ministry of Betel (church planting amongst drug addicts) and through my short-term trip to East Timor. We are never too far from God for His love!
Thirdly, I have seen that there is so much joy in doing what you’ve been called and designed to do. I think I had this idea of what being a missionary looked like, and I didn’t understand how I’d fit into that mould. Realising that it takes a whole team and different skills (1 Corinthians 12:4-6), has been so freeing and I’m now excited about how God can use me in His mission abroad.
In a podcast I was listening to recently, John Crist said “You know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, when you’re doing it, you’re not thinking ‘I should be doing something else’… that’s what you’re put on the planet to do”. I replayed these lines a couple of times, as I’d never heard the description of purpose so clearly. And since then I’ve been really thinking about the things I love to do, and are these what God has put me on the planet to do?
There have been so many elements of this year that have been super fun. But it has also been a super hard year, where I’ve been stretched and exhausted and pushed outside of my comfort zone. But in that time I’ve done new things and traveled to places I never dreamed of. I hope as the year comes to an end you’ll take some time to think about what you’ve learnt this year and what you hope to achieve in the New Year.