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Are You Willing?




by Lisa Newby

If you are, God can use you anywhere, anytime.

    For the past five years I’ve felt God calling me to be a missionary. As a teenager still in high school, I thought it was impossible for me to become a missionary until I got through high school and college. Yet I became so excited about my calling, I started dreaming about my future and researching countries and considering their different needs.
    I found that some of Africa’s problems are AIDS and disease treatment, government, environmental problems, and low technology. That’s where I wanted to work. My challenges were figuring out what kind of work to do there, and then figuring out how I’d get there.
    My mom, of course, was very supportive of me. She often said, “Lisa, I believe in you, and I will support you the whole way through. I just wish you didn’t want to go so far away. I know God is calling you to do His work, but it could be dangerous.”
    What about the dangers? I sat on my bed and gleaned material off the Internet about the risks of being a missionary in a foreign land. I read that diseases to which I’m not immune could kill me. I could be targeted by the local government for my work. I might even find myself in the middle of a local battle in the village where I’m working to help people.
Being the impatient person that I am, I continued digging for information, and I dreamed some more.
    I imagined establishing my own mission with a school, a farm, and community houses—a place where we could support ourselves and still trade with the outside world.
    Then I dreamed of constructing a mission for diseased women, a place they could come and live after being labeled unclean by their community. There the women would be safe, receive the medical attention they needed, raise their children, and learn a trade so they could support themselves.
    Next, I imagined working with the people and their environment. I dreamed of  teaching them how to use their land to the best of their ability and teaching them how to protect their animals and rivers from trappers and pollution.
I became so wrapped up in what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become that I had no idea where to begin my education. Then God gave me some missionary practice runs. When I was in eighth grade and in high school, I got to go on mission trips.
    During my eighth grade year I ventured with a group to New Mexico, to La Vida Mission. There we helped tear down a building. We helped the teachers and children at the school. And we  accomplished some cleaning on the campus property. We mingled with the kids and became fast friends. We played with them during recess, ate lunch with them, and spent our free time with them in the afternoon.
    My freshman year of high school, a group of us drove to Ensenada, Mexico, where we put up Sheetrock in one church and poured a cement floor in another.
    I departed for Lima, Peru, on my third mission trip. It excited me to be farther away from home than ever before and get to interact with the people there.
While building a church from the ground up for a congregation in Esperanza, a short water fight now and then delayed the cleaning of cement-caked beams. Staying on a college campus also gave us the opportunity to mingle with college kids ages 16 and older. If we were lucky, they spoke English.
We completed the church in Peru, and in the process we made new friends and memories that will last a lifetime.
    When we returned from Peru, I was ready to go back. Excited about the trip, I began telling people how much better I thought Peru was than anywhere else I’d been.
    People challenged me by saying, “Lisa, what are you taking about? Europe is so much better and cooler. Even here in the United States there are better things to do.”
    I didn’t mean to imply that everywhere else wasn’t fun or was bad. I simply thought Peru was better because I saw how God used me to impact people’s lives there.
    My short-term mission experiences have helped me become who I am. On these trips I’ve learned several skills, including how to take care of my body to avoid getting sick, and how to work with new people despite a language barrier.
    One big thing I’ve learned is when it comes to being a missionary, I can’t do everything on my own. I need the help of others, as well as their different abilities. Most important, I need God’s help and guidance.
I still haven’t figured out where God wants me to go or what He wants me to do as a missionary. I just know that until He reveals all that to me, He will use experiences to help mold me into the person I need to become.

Do something now
    I thought I’d have to go through all kinds of great events and receive all of my education before I could start doing God’s work as a missionary. Wrong. God’s already used me and what I have to offer; He can use you, too.
    At your high school, in your church, and in your community, you can be an example to your friends. You can go on mission trips that your school, church, or conference offers. Just show God’s love and character through whatever you do. If you open up yourself to all of the ways God can use you, He will!
I know God will protect you, guide you, and use you no matter where you are. It just comes down to one thing: Are you willing?

    Lisa Newby is working toward her massage therapy license. Her hobbies include riding her horse and her dirt bike, working on cars (yes, she’s into mechanical repairs and adjustments), reading, and Bible study. She writes from Caldwell, Idaho.





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