When I was in junior high, I was involved in Girls in Action (G.A.s). Every summer our church would take a group to a Baptist camp in Alto Frio, Texas. We would hear stories from missionaries around the world, and they’d give a “call” to missions and ministry at the end of the week. When I returned home one summer, when I was about 9 years old, I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be a missionary.
My family moved to California right before I entered 9th grade, and the youth group I joined went to Tijuana, Mexico every spring break to work with churches there. God used that trip not only to show me the importance of His Word and other believers, but to remind me that there is so much need in the world for people to share the gospel and disciple fellow believers.
In January of 2006, I went to Turkey with a group from my church to help at a conference for national missionaries in the NAMEstan area. That was the trip that opened my eyes to how many people there were in the world, especially when flying over dense urban areas in Istanbul and surrounding areas and realizing that 99.8% were Muslims; that they most likely did not have a relationship with our Lord! This knowledge burdened my heart once again, and I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life telling people about the Good News!
That summer when I was 15 years old, I went to Cameroon, Africa. Orginally to build an airstrip, the government wouldn’t let us because it was so close to the Nigerian border, so we ended up working with a Bible school and summer camp and working on a foundation for a building. It was the first time being in a culture so drastically different from my own, and I definitely felt unprepared to enter their culture and even communicate with them about God.
In 2007, I went to the Amazon jungles of Peru to people we traveled for days by riverboat to meet. That’s when I realized that there were people in remote locations who not only needed to hear about Christ, but needed to be discipled as well and there were so few working with them to see them to a maturity.
Also during high school, I had taken the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. One of the sessions was taught by Brad Buser, a representative with New Tribes Mission (NTM) at the time. He introduced me to missions to unreached people groups in remote locations, and shared about Interface – a six-week college level missions course in Papua New Guinea.
I applied for the Interface trip and was planning to take the course the summer I graduated from high school in 2008. A few months before summer began, I looked on the NTM website and saw that they had an affordable 2-year Bible school whose motto was “Where Bible and missions are one”. I knew that I wanted to be in missions, but had no idea what I wanted to major in, so I decided that instead of going on Interface, I would work for the summer and attend the Bible school for at least a semester.
My first semester at New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI) rocked my world. Between the foundational Bible classes, learning more about tribal missions, oh, and meeting Mark, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I had gone into school with a huge passion for urban Arab countries, and ironically had told God that I did NOT want to go live in a remote tribe. After listening to stories from our teachers – most of them former tribal church planters – and hearing testimonies from tribal works, God had changed my heart and I felt called to go to unreached peoples with NTM. I surrendered to Him my plans, and it’s so cool that He is now leading us to a country that not only has over 200 unreached people groups, but also the world’s largest Muslim population.
So that, in a nutshell, is my journey into missions, and how God lead me to serve with New Tribes Mission. Missions is a passion of mine, as I’m sure you might have noticed. Mark and I are so excited to have people who are just as passionate about missions as we are, partnering with us to take the gospel to an unreached people group!
I want to encourage children and teens, that they are not too young to be involved in missions! Whether it is going on short-term mission trips, raising funds for Bible translation, writing encouraging letters, or praying, there is so much that young people can do!
My life verse when I was in high school:
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12