“Hear from IM missionaries as they share their stories about the variety of ways they have each overcome different barriers to fulfill their call to the mission field. How is God calling you to take the Gospel to the nations or to those around you?
Sierra White shares the story of her call to missions as she overcame the barrier of surrendering to the Lord’s way. She shares about the first time her heart broke for what breaks His and encourages others to trust God’s plan.
As the oldest child, I was born too responsible for my own good. I had backup upon backup plans for everything and could think of nothing more enticing than executing these plans flawlessly. I found that this quality made following Jesus more about His faithfulness in MY plan than seeking His will. When I arrived at college, I was not ready for the ways God was going to ask for my heart to surrender. He did though. Over and over again,
In my junior year, I traveled to Bucharest, Romania for my first overseas missions experience. We worked with an organization that provided aid to women and children who were survivors of trafficking. We visited villages of the Romani people, many of whom were families who had lost or even given children to trafficking because of their living conditions and needs. I distinctly remember a night that my team stood in a circle, crying and praying together. It was the first time I understood what it meant to have a broken heart for what breaks His. I cried on the plane home and felt more confused than ever leaving this place where so many were lost and without hope.
What did this experience mean for my future? Would I still be a teacher? Am I supposed to be a missionary? For a year I begged, “God, please make my plan clear.” He continually answered, “Let go. You don’t need a plan, you need me.” It took longer than I like to admit to accepting that my only job is to love Him and love others relentlessly. When the plan is clear to me and when it isn’t, all He requires is an obedient yes.
I’ve had many moments of retreating to my plans and telling God what I will do for Him. He continues to remind me that His way is better. Saying yes to Him took me to Moldova and Ukraine, where I shared God. It brought me to student ministry where I spent five years supporting teens and leading them on some of their first mission experiences. My yes gave me a classroom where I got to be His hands and feet to students.
In January of 2019, returning from a missions conference, the youth pastor I was serving with looked at me and said, “You love missions, and I know you are willing. Why haven’t you gone?” I answered, with a reassurance that only came from years of surrender, that when I’m supposed to go it will be with a partner. The same month, Tristen moved to my hometown with the plan to be a missionary in Japan.
One of my favorite quotes says, “God-honoring, risky obedience isn’t actually risky at all…you know the outcome every time.” Trusting God to orchestrate my path and obeying when He calls me to move is never a risk, but a chance to step out in faith onto a path He has already laid. This barrier of thinking I know better may feel safe at the moment, but will never compare to the joy that comes with surrendering to God’s plans and purposes.”