As a student mobilizer for a missions sending agency, I often get questions about what my job, how I came into this role and how I knew that God was calling me to mobilize students. If I’m honest, I regularly ask myself some form of these questions on a regular basis but this weekend, I saw firsthand the impact that the task of mobilization has made on my life and the joy that comes from watching others step into God’s calling in their life as well.
When I was in college, my life was greatly impacted by the experiences I had to go and serve in missions around the world. In the same way that I felt an urgency to share the message of Christ with others – which led me to serve in missions, I felt an urgency to share the impact that those experiences had on my life- and that led me to mobilize my friends. That was just the beginning. I was a mobilizer from the time my feet hit my home turf until I was sent out again and with each time, I was linking arms with more students and dragging them (sometimes literally) along with me. Mobilizing others has been a part of my story for as long as missions has been a part of my story – and that is because of others who mobilized me, to which I’m eternally grateful.
This past week, my husband and I traveled out west to celebrate our 4 year Wedding Anniversary. We have this tradition where every other year, we fly out and spend a few days exploring a city we’ve never been while the alternating year is spent exploring a new spot in our home state of Tennessee. We have always talked about how fun it would be to move out west and this year we decided on Denver for our anniversary trip. We reached out to a friend from college who had moved to Denver with her husband a little over a year ago to join a church planting team. This friend isn’t just any friend but one whom we have both loved dearly and have always encouraged to use her gifts in ministry. To our surprise, it just happened to work out that the dates we had planned for our trip would allow us to attend the launch for their church plant.
I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would be filling a seat in the first service of their church plant. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would be seeing my dear friend’s sweet smile greet me at the door of the elementary school where their church is meeting. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would be looking over my shoulder and catching a glimpse of her husband sitting next to someone whom we had been praying would attend the service that morning. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would be seeing our friends hugging the necks of people in their community who showed up for their first service.
I wasn’t prepared. And yet I was at the same time because it was God who had been preparing and molding us for this day since before we even met. It was God who ordained for me to meet this friend in January of 2009. It was God who, in his mercy, had always weaved our friendship back together through the ups and downs of life. It was God who allowed me to encourage her to serve in missions when we were in college and it was God who showed her the gifts that he had given her to be a part of his Kingdom work. It was God who knew the name of her husband even before I was praying that He would provide her with a partner who would push her forward and walk beside her in the ministry he was preparing or her. It was God. And we felt him that day in a new and exciting and overwhelming way that day.
We came to Denver to celebrate how God had moved in our lives these first four years of marriage but he gifted us with an overwhelming joy that had filled our hearts as we celebrated the birth of a new church alongside our friends – and that was more than we could have ever asked or imagined. As we left their apartment that Sunday evening, I finally allowed myself to release the emotions that had been building inside of me all day and it was in that moment sitting behind the wheel of our parked rental car that I released the grandest emotion of them all through an outpouring of tears and choppy words – gratitude. I am so grateful that God has allowed me the opportunity to mobilize others over the years and that he has allowed me to do that as my job here in Memphis. It’s my job to mobilize students to take the gospel to the unreached around the world but beyond that, the task that the Lord has given me is to mobilize anyone and everyone in my path to know their gifts, to grow in Christ’s likeness and to go use those gifts where they are needed most.
I recently heard a quote from someone I have looked up to for many years while speaking to a group of students and I have tucked it away in my heart as a reminder in my own journey of walking in obedience to God’s call on my life – “God has already called us to go so that shouldn’t be our question. Instead we should ask him where we should stop.” As we flew back home last night, of course I carried home a great appreciation for the beauty of colorful Colorado and a sense of gratitude for our time away but more than anything, we both came away with an even greater sense of gratitude for the task that the Lord has set before us to equip, encourage, and yes, mobilize others to go until God tells us to stop.