When God Says Go… But Not Yet
What Do I Do While I’m Waiting?
You’re thinking about a life overseas. Maybe you feel ready to sign up and get started. But God Himself seems to slow you down. Then what? In this article, part of a series about overcoming obstacles to serving in missions, a would-be missionary describes what God is doing in her life in the season between committing to missions and moving overseas (along with tips on what to do while you wait).
I’ve heard the stories of those who have known from the age of seven that they wanted to be a missionary. That was not my story. Those were not my plans. In fact, becoming a missionary was the last thing I wanted to do.
When during my last year of college, the Lord led me to an eight-week mission trip with Pioneers, I trusted His promptings and was incredibly excited about the opportunity. Yet I hoped that this wasn’t a stepping stone to Him calling me long-term.
A New Direction
Fast forward one year. God had used that eight-week summer trip to change my heart and view of my role in His purposes. My life trajectory was entirely altered. I felt, without a doubt, that He was calling me to spend my life advancing His kingdom and serving Him among the unreached.
That was my new plan. I was in the process of officially joining Pioneers with the intention of moving overseas.
“I still had so much to learn and room to grow.”
But the world of missions was still so new to me. I still had much to learn and room to grow. I didn’t have a clear peace about making the next big step. God spoke to me through the wisdom and advice of those who have gone before me:
“It’s not a race to get overseas.”
“There is wisdom in preparation.”
“Recruiting others before going yourself is a great investment of time.”
A Call to Surrender
I felt God saying go but also not yet. I didn’t quite know what to do with that.
What Jesus has taught me since then could be summarized as come and die.
I had to die to the plans that I make for myself. To surrender an opportunity to advance my career in the field I’d majored in. I even surrendered my vision for ministry overseas.
In the meantime, I learned ways I could have a multiplying impact by sending many workers to unreached people groups as a mission mobilizer. That’s exactly what the Lord had for me next.
It’s been a great way for me to invest my time wisely. I’m learning so much about the world of missions and the work of teams around the world. I’m surrounded by a community that helps me to maintain that vision and encourages my development towards cross-cultural service.
More importantly, I’m learning that as a follower of Christ, I can trust the Lord when He changes the plan. I can delight in what He has for me. “Come and die” comes with a promise—a promise of new life in Him.
Practical Steps to Take While Waiting
You don’t need to have your plane ticket in hand to be making progress. Whether God calls you to go tomorrow or in five years, spend your time now working to advance His Kingdom and prepare for what He has next.
- Pray for the nations of the world, especially those least reached by the gospel. Start by downloading the Operation World app to your phone.
- Partner with missionaries by supporting them in prayer and giving. The best way may be to join the mission efforts of your church.
- Befriend internationals: students, immigrants, or refugees. Ask others to help you connect with local ministries serving them.
- College-aged? Go to Urbana or the Cross Conference. You won’t regret it. We’ll be there, too!
- Those of any age can work on personal development through counseling or discipleship. Check out options like Sonship. It’s a great study about identity in Christ which you can complete with a mentor.
- Be a mobilizer. With your church, a mission organization or in your day-to-day life, cast vision for the need to go to the nations.
Talk to one of our mission mentors. Their heart is to listen to your story, help you discern where God is leading you and pray with you in your next steps.
Courtney works on Pioneers-USA’s mobilization team as she prepares for serving overseas.
Stories from the pursuit
Why Not You? Why Not Now?
There are two fundamental obstacles to moving forward in mission: We don’t know if we are the right people for the task, and we don’t know where we fit.
Is “Lost” a Four-Letter Word?
Should we even use the word “lost” to describe people who do not yet know Christ as Savior? Where does the term come from?
Aren’t There People Who Need the Gospel in My Own Neighborhood?
Some people have less access to the gospel of Jesus Christ than others. Significantly less. Embarrassingly less. Here's what I mean...