Overcoming Barriers to Fulfill the Call

“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?

Joni Hubbard shares the story of her call to missions as a young adult. Later meeting her husband, Heath, she realized God had called each of them to serve overseas. They soon discovered their callings merged and now serve as a family in Japan.

“Lord, I’ll go you wherever you lead, but please don’t send me to Africa!”  Real words uttered by me as a college student during a missions conference. Fast forward about three years later and there I was, in the middle of Africa, led by a chain of unexpected twists and turns, all of which were clearly on the road map of what God had in His plans for me. I had been guided into a place of utter dependence on God alone. In this moment, I surrendered fully to the loving voice of my Shepherd, fully trusting the unknown path ahead to His sovereign and unfathomably perfect plans.

I never dreamed before that I go could overseas by myself, but I came back from this six-week experience with a surrendered heart and fire to return to the very place I swore I would never go. I set my GPS to head right back to Ivory Coast, West Africa, to teach at the international school there. But God in His grace would gently turn my direction from Ivory Coast to another place I had never considered- Japan, the second largest unreached people group in the world.

Trusting His plans, I changed paths and headed to this new place. Only a year later I would learn that a coup d’etat had moved into full force in Ivory Coast.  The international school I had hoped to work at there was invaded by rebel forces and evacuated. God in His loving sovereignty spared me from this horrific incident.

During the time I spent in Japan, I again felt God calling me to surrender the rest of my life to reach the lost of Japan. Longing to be married, it seemed impossible that I would find someone who would desire not just to be a missionary but be a missionary to Japan. God reminded me that nothing is impossible with Him.

After returning to America, God’s path led me to meet Heath Hubbard. Heath was on his way to serve two years in Kazakhstan. We began dating and knew early on that God had brought us together and that we would get married. Heath feeling called back to Kazakhstan and me feeling called to Japan, we settled on going to Spain! For two years we raised support and made plans with a team to start a new work in Spain when suddenly God shut the door entirely to Spain and led us to Japan.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but in my opinion, walking with God is 20/20 in both directions. He sees the future as well as the past. We can fully trust His good and powerful Hand to lead us, and the key is to walk daily with Him. A ship in motion is easily steered. What may seem like barriers and roadblocks are turning points in His master plan. Lack of trust will be our greatest barrier. Our focus must remain on God as we let faith be our guide.”


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