The story of Philip in Acts 8:26-40 is an example of how God calls us to step out in obedience to do something that may not make sense at the time. Philip wasn't told what he was going to do. He was obedient and just knew he had to go.
I don’t know exactly why God calls someone to a particular mission trip. The advice I have for people is this, “If God calls you, go!” Otherwise, you will be missing out on the plan God has for you. It’s possible you won’t realize God’s full purpose until after the trip is completed. But he will equip you for the job and use you, possibly in a way you least expect. No matter what the outcome, you will grow more in love with Jesus as you grow in your trust of the whispering of the Holy Spirit in your life.
You will grow more in love with Jesus as you grow in your trust of the whispering of the Holy Spirit in your life.
When we return from a trip, sometimes people say they really knew God wanted them to go but, for whatever reason, they decided not to join us. They sadly confess, “I should have gone.” Don’t live with regrets! If you sense God calling you to do something, be obedient and do it!
I met Debbie on a mission trip to the Shunem House in Indiana. We traveled there to assist with the upkeep of the mission property. Debbie expressed to me how excited she was to be on her first mission trip, a long-awaited dream come true. We spent the week cleaning and organizing, nothing profound, but the impact on Debbie was quite profound. Her spirit was leaping with joy as she was able to help out, meet new friends, and grow spiritually. She realized God had filled her heart and she was wondering what would come next. Serving had become an avenue of deeper discipleship.
Since then, Debbie felt strongly led by God to go on a trip to Cambodia in southeast Asia. The smells, sounds, faces, and God-moments of that cross-cultural experience captured her soul as she worked with human trafficking and rape survivors. Her eyes became wide open to a world far different than she had ever known. She saw God in the eyes of children, in the topography of his creation, and she felt his Spirit. Her life, formerly centered on her comfortable home and surroundings, changed forever.
Don’t live with regrets! If you sense God calling you to do something, be obedient and do it!
God used Cambodia to change her perspective on his world and on his people. After she returned, God kept pulling at her soul, “Don’t forget what you learned in Cambodia.”
After a visit to China to teach in the underground church and distribute Bibles, Debbie decided she needed to do something more with these cross-cultural experiences. But what? Married and raising two teenage boys, she sought out ways to continue her cross-cultural love for God’s people in her own city. She engaged the ladies in her Bible study to help host a dinner for some local refugees. In doing so she created an eye-opening experience for her group. But even then, God had her on a mission to do much more.
Soon she sensed God nudging her to make a year-long commitment to mentor an Iranian refugee in Buffalo who was having her first child in America. As a nurse, Debbie could use her skills to walk with this woman during her pregnancy, labor, and delivery. After months of mentoring and preparing Mom for her child, Debbie assisted her with two days of difficult labor. She and Mom were joyful at the arrival of a healthy baby boy and so were all the Bible study women who prayed her through her difficult labor.
Debbie has now taken on the leadership role of engaging our entire church in a new ministry called Home Again Refugee Ministry. Household items are collected to help set up apartments for refugee families coming to live in Buffalo. She also has recruited people from our church to be mentors to refugee families for six months, helping them to adjust to their new lives.
He has a specific reason he is prompting you whether you know why or not. Trust that God loves you and has your best interest at heart.
Debbie says, “I have found my purpose in life.” She is filled with the joy of the Lord as she engages people to minister to others alongside her for the glory of God. Debbie is just one example of many who are living out my favorite precept, “It is not always what you do on a mission trip as much as what you do with your experience when you get home!”
What if Philip decided not to take that road to Gaza? God could have used someone else to carry out his plan, but Philip would have missed that divine appointment and blessing. God always accomplishes his will. Sometimes we are invited to participate with him.
Don’t live to regret not following the voice of God in your life. He has a specific reason he is prompting you whether you know why or not. Trust that God loves you and has your best interest at heart. Be obedient and realize another opportunity may not come. My own discipleship continues to deepen as I serve in his grace and when I hear him whisper in my ear, I do my best to follow.