Adults on Mission

Doing Less Brings Peace

Missionary, wife, and mother of 4 Heidi Sivonen is learning that doing less brings peace to her home.

“As a big family, we have learned as parents and as a couple that we need to prioritize life in such a way as to not be busy-bodies. Protecting the family from ‘busy-ness’ and learning to say no to the plethora of opportunities has helped us to create more peace in the home. Our ministry is full and we need to know our limits as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.”

Heidi and her husband, Mikko, serve as church planters in Finland. Mikko is the church-planting pastor of Espoon Kotikirkko and cofounder and coleader of Agricola Theological Institute, where he helps train local church members, elders, and pastors in church planting. Heidi helps a national crisis pregnancy group (her husband’s church houses 1 of 10 trained crisis pregnancy centers in Finland) and blogs at HousewifeUniversity.blogspot.com.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Nathan and Andi Knight

Restoration Church continues to reach a global population in the nation’s capital. One such example is a young Chinese girl who began attending the church more than a year ago. She could be found at many of the fellowship gatherings but continued to only “consider Jesus.” Recently, after a sermon addressing the meaning and importance of the Lord’s Supper, she came to copastor Nathan Knight and, in broken English, said, “I have decided to follow Jesus. What must I do now?” The church celebrated her conversion as she was baptized. This young girl gave an incredibly God-glorifying, Christ-exalting testimony in front of many people. Today she continues to be mentored and discipled by another girl from China in the church.

Loving Different People

Cissy McNickle; her husband, “Buff;” and their 3 children moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, almost 3 years ago to plant a church. They believed God had equipped them, but it was still a scary move.

In the Northeast, only 5.9% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. Cissy had to learn to love people different from her genuinely. That includes girls working in strip clubs.

Cissy oversees a ministry to these girls called Love’s Way Out AC. The ministry is affiliated with Grace Falls Church, which Cissy and Buff planted.

“I love the ministry of church planting God has called my family to, and I will continue to allow God to use my circumstances to conform me more and more into the likeness of Jesus,” Cissy said.

She has witnessed the power of prayer in their ministry and requested prayer for the protection of her marriage and children as well as for boldness to do the work God has called her family to do.

LaNita Mitchell writes and serves from Princeton, Kentucky. She has a master’s degree in Christian ministry.

Unsung

Perhaps no other group of people are more familiar with persevering in a demanding, often mundane, and emotionally painful world than the community of caregivers.

  • Peter Rosenberger has logged over 30 years of caring for his wife, Gracie, a double amputee.
  • I have a Facebook friend who is over 10 years post-stroke, meeting the multiple daily needs of her husband.
  • My sons had a teacher whose retirement package included five years of round-the-clock care following her husband’s brain hemorrhage.
  • I was the mother of a special needs daughter who faced major care challenges in her 19 years of life.

Books have been written about the blessings that come with caring for those rendered helpless in different phases of life. But with caregiving also comes the difficulties of isolation, identity loss, and exhaustion. It calls for daily sacrifices that clearly represent self-denial, taking up one’s cross, and persevering in a task that will not see its greatest reward until heaven.

A Dubious Honor

I once received an “award” from the editor of HomeLife magazine! But it was probably recognition that no one else wanted. At a Lifeway writers workshop, I was acknowledged to have received more rejections for submissions to HomeLife than anyone else in the room. 

Perhaps my fellow writers wondered why I would confess to the number of rejections required for the award. But I felt differently. I knew those rejections represented necessary stepping stones to eventual acceptances. My perseverance in continuing to push past the sometimes painful “doesn’t meet our needs” comments later paved the way for positive results. I even received a cover story assignment from HomeLife editors who began to recognize my name and refusal to surrender without a publication victory.

Jesus and Jack

In late Winter, with great trepidation, I make my annual trek to a local accounting office to file my tax return. However, I know I will also spend an extra hour listening to my exuberant accountant share about his most recent mission adventures.

Jack Roach is a respected local CPA. But anyone who knows him has no doubt that his considerable energy and strongest passion is directed toward sharing the love of Jesus through ministry. Besides local work in jail ministry, Jack’s lay-led mission projects take teams of volunteers into risky corners of our globe to share the gospel, provide practical service, and encourage believers.

I know, besides my tax results, I will be inspired by how Jack perseveres in prayer for a young Muslim girl who calls him “father.” His burden and the giving of others enabled her to receive medical treatment. We join Jack in longing for the day she embraces the Light of the World and comes to know the “Everlasting Father” through the salvation of her soul.

Why Wait?

Do you wait well? Or do you give up quickly if the line is long, the results aren’t immediate, or a prayer isn’t answered? Sometimes the fulfillment of even a God-given vision takes more time than expected and tests our capacity to persevere.

I have been inspired by the perseverance of my friend Doug as I have watched him hold fast and “chase after” his God-sent dream. For several years, Doug, a local architect with a young family and church leadership role, has vigilantly pursued his vision for a children’s interactive Bible museum in our city.

He has patiently (or not!) sought support, funding, and possible locations while gathering a creative leadership team to provide counsel and a support base to brainstorm and bounce off ideas about decision making. He has also developed extensive plans and story themes while pursuing community dialogue and involvement from local citizens and churches.

Trading Up: Hurt for Healing

Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace

Bartering was popular when I was a young mother. That was the way we often managed to have better clothes for our children, haircuts, music lessons, or even luxuries such as massages. The idea was to trade with your friends: your talents for their knowledge, your professional skills (i.e., hairdresser) for theirs (i.e., masseuse). Oftentimes we knew we had really “traded up.” We were thrilled with our bargaining powers.

The plan was our way of taking what we had and trading it for what we needed. Using this same principle, Janet Erwin and Murselle McMillan wrote Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace. This WMU resource is designed, through the use of Bible stories and study guides, to help victims of post-traumatic stress disorder trade up: fear traded for hope, anger for forgiveness, and guilt for truth. Giving pain up to God and receiving His gift of healing in return is trading up at its best.

Called to Action

I love being active. I love playing sports and games, exploring new neighborhoods, and doing hands-on projects that show others love and compassion. This call to action is apparent in our Christian life in many ways. Nowhere in Scripture are we told to sit tight and watch the work of the Lord. We are called to take up our cross and follow the Lord—through action. This is great news! We get to be an active part of God’s plan for His people.

For many years, I’ve been active in missions, taking trips to places like Thailand, Haiti, and even Iowa, but God has more often and with more impact called me to action in the places I have lived. There is nothing like the joy of seeing a friend or neighbor come to know Christ. There is greater love shared through continuous relationship with those hurting around us.

Simple Love Goes a Long Way

Three weeks after I moved into my new apartment, I met Kana. Kana and her daughter had just moved in across the hall. The immigrant single mom had recently lost her job and didn’t have much outside support.

After a couple of “hellos” in passing, Kana and I ran into each other one day as she was looking for a job. We had a long conversation about her recent hardships and how discouraged she was; she also expressed deep gratitude for her new home and how she hoped this was a starting point for her and her little girl. As I stood and listened, I realized how much she needed the love and support of a family. I told her about my church and how much it means to me to have a church family to support me when things are hard.

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