Called to be a missionary?

Throughout this whole process I am asked pretty frequently, “how did you know you were called to be a missionary?”. I often have a difficult time answering that question because I didn’t have this “moment” where the Lord said in a loud booming voice, “RACHEL, I AM NOW CALLING YOU TO BE A MISSIONARY.”


A few years ago we were partnering with a ministry in Romania and as we were wrapping things up in the country, we spent the afternoon filming a video on our thoughts of our time there. As I was being interviewed, I remember looking into the camera and getting emotional and started to ask the questions, “Who is going to go? Who is going to do this? The need is so great, but who is God going to send?”. When I finished the video I sat down on the curb looking out onto the city skyline; my friend came over and asked me, “Rach, do you feel like God would ever want you to serve Him overseas?” My answer was a quick, “I do. I just don’t know where exactly or when or how that really looks...”.

If I am being totally honest with you, I think my timetable for God’s plan for my life was that He would bring me a husband - a man who shared the same passion as I for the unreached and we would go together. So truth be told, part of me was waiting for that to happen. The thought of going alone sounded absolutely terrifying and so it felt like serving God overseas would be something that would someday happen in the future as this plan I had created for myself unfolded.

And yet fast forward a year from that moment in Romania and I found myself in Papua New Guinea on this hillside overlooking the tribe of Menya, a people group who had never heard who Jesus Christ is or the gospel in their own language. However, this exact village in a mere 3 months would be hearing God’s story from creation to Christ. They would soon hear the gospel because a few families spent the last decade of their life learning the culture and one of the hardest languages in the world. I stood on that hillside overwhelmed in the best of ways, believing that as they heard the gospel God was going to bring people from death to life in Menya very soon. It was a cool moment for me that was quickly followed with the reality that there are still thousands of people groups all over the world representing billions of people who have never heard of the name of Jesus. The people of Menya are not the “last” ones in this state of despair. And once again my heart broke.

So, there has never been a “big moment” where the sky opened up and God sent a little note from heaven telling me that this is what He wants me to do. I am just a girl who is still humbled that God chose to save me and I want to know Him more and more. And as I read His Word over and over, I cannot deny His desire to use us – believers – to make Him known in this world…it is all over the Bible. When you mix that with seeing the great need firsthand, the question becomes not, “Am I called to this?” but rather, “How can I not go? How can I not pursue this?”. The reality is that every single one of us IS CALLED TO MISSIONS, it just looks differently for each one of us.

In an article I recently read, Mack Stiles said this about calling, “To be called to missions is to be called to the global call of God. So in other words, all Christians have a calling to be active and intentional and willing to do missionary-like things in the Christian life, but not every Christian is a “missionary” in the strict sense, that is living cross-culturally to make disciples as a vocation.”

The question is not whether or not we have been called, but rather what are we doing with the calling we have received as believers.

Ephesians 4 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…” We are called to be ambassadors, truth tellers, disciple-makers.  

The more I understand Christ’s incredible love for me, how He emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross (Philippians 2:1-11) all so that I may know and have a relationship with the One who created me…it changes the way I live my life.

As we receive and truly know this gift of grace, may we long for others to know Him and may we be compelled to ask the question every day, “Am I living a life worthy of the calling I have received?”

[ 2 Corinthians 5:10–19 has recently been both challenging and encouraging to me, check it out and let me know your thoughts!]



john piper

rachel clossComment