Q When did you first know God was calling you to the mission’s field?
Even as a small child I was always so interested in the stories told by the missionaries who visited my church. In my early 20s I started exploring the different possibilities within the NAB Conference. I even bought a car with a stick-shift to better prepare myself for living overseas one day! But God confirmed my calling through my participation on 4 short-term mission trips to Mexico, Brazil, India and Belarus.
Q What life experiences did you have that helped you prepare to go overseas?
On a larger scale, I had ministry experience, having worked in three churches. Right before I left, I was Dean of Students and a professor at Taylor University College so I also had experience teaching in higher education. I also had a number of friends who were from other cultures. I made an effort to speak with other long-term missionaries before going. One missionary really helped me prepare for my role as a Seminary professor in Brazil by giving me on-going advice. On a smaller scale, the last car I bought in Canada was a stick shift, so I was able to drive the car the mission provided for me in Brazil!
Q How would you describe your first year on the mission field?
I learned for the first time what it really meant to trust in God. Here are a couple of examples: The mission provided me with a car that broke down around 10 times that first year. Since I couldn’t speak the language, calling a tow truck was not an option, so I prayed… a lot! And God sent people to help me. Several times I got lost – I’d always been good with a map, but when there are no street signs, maps don’t always work so well. I prayed some more and God oriented my path. He was an ever-present help in the challenges I faced and I learned to rely on Him because He became my only option.
Q What surprised you the most once you began your work? What did you wish you knew beforehand?
Before leaving for the mission field, it never occurred to me that because I did not know the language, I wasn’t able to be fed at church that first year. I couldn’t understand the sermons, the words to the music we would sing, the Bible studies, etc. If I had realized this challenge before going I would have been better prepared.
Q What is something that would surprise others about mission work or the people you are called to serve?
When God calls us to the mission field, often it’s much more about who God wants us to become than what He wants us to do for Him on the field. I’ve grown so much deeper in my relationship with God by becoming a missionary than I would have if I had stayed in ministry in my home country. I’ve learned more deeply about what sacrifice really means, especially in the context of truly loving another. God is so much more concerned with who I am than what I do for Him.
Q What are some of the factors that lead you to become an overseas missionary through the NAB?
NAB has been my family for almost my whole life and so I wanted them to be with me on the mission field, too.
Q What advice would you give to those considering overseas missions?
Be 100% certain of you calling before you go. Don’t allow yourself to think about quitting for the first 5 years because your service really doesn’t begin until then. And remember that God put nationals in place before you arrived on the mission field therefore it’s important to learn from them, work with them and submit to their leadership.How can people pray for y u? I would appreciate prayer for my husband, Paulo, and I for continued spiritual growth, for safety, for good health, for a strong marriage and that God would continue to use us as His instruments to reach and train others here in southern Brazil. Thanks!