Women on Mission

Layering Missions Education

You may think missions education is only for children, but my introduction came as an adult. Robin Janney, our church WMU Director, saw herself as someone who opened doors for everyone to learn about and engage in missions.

Growing Friendship

Deborah and her husband, Rob, walked around suitcases and boxes crowding their living room floor. They were days from a trip they had planned for months. The kitchen phone rang, interrupting Deborah’s packing.

“Hello?” she answered.

Deborah listened in dismay as a dear friend, Sarah*, shared about a family crisis that suddenly rose up and overwhelmed her.

“I know you and Rob are supposed to leave this weekend, but can you help?” Sarah pleaded. “Please. I have no one else to ask.”

Deborah didn’t even hesitate to assuage Sarah’s concerns; of course, she and Rob would help. Deborah hung up and began making the necessary calls to reschedule their impending trip.

“You can have 100,000 friends on Facebook, but they aren’t your friends,” Deborah says. “They won’t be there for you when you need them.”

Rob and Deborah Brown have made it their life’s quest to form deep bonds with others—the kinds that are sacrificial and mature.

“Church” Is a Verb

“My passion is the university student,” said Chris Julian, a university student worker. He and his wife, Melody, have devoted their lives to students. They started working with students in their hometown of Memphis and then moved to South Carolina and Alabama before settling in Brazil about 20 years ago.

Now in Sao Leopoldo, they work with students and started a house church called Zoe, which means “abundant life” in Greek.

“We teach that ‘church’ is a verb and not something we do once a week,” Chris Julian said.

Although Zoe meets once a week like any other church, the gathering celebrates “where we’ve seen God moving the week prior.” They share food, testimonies, prayer, and Bible studies and then seek ways to engage the community.

“We’ve worked in slums, given out free hugs and hot chocolate at metro stops, and held block parties in our home,” Chris Julian said. This comes easily for Melody Julian who has the gift of hospitality and loves to cook.

A Church Grows in Brooklyn

Born and raised in Westchester, New York, James T. Roberson III was a typical high school student and athlete.

“Though I grew up in church, my relationship with God was defined more by praying for wins in football and passing classes in school,” Roberson said honestly.

After graduating from high school (which he calls a miracle), he was off to Valley Forge Military College. He later graduated from James Madison University (JMU). It was during his college years that he became involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, which intensified his relationship with God.

“[In college], I was introduced to a consistent lifestyle of living for God,” Roberson said. And that is where he met his wife, Natarsha. The couple have served a wide spectrum of people through campus ministry at 3 universities in Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Texas and 4 church plants in Maryland, North Carolina, and Georgia.

In 2013, the Robersons, along with their 2 young daughters, moved to Brooklyn, New York, to start The Bridge Church.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Josh and Tiffany Lenon

Josh and Tiffany Lenon have included relationship-building principles in planting Red Door Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now they are extending their efforts to Cincinnati’s second Red Door Church.

City church plants, especially those with a millennial base, typically rely on electronic media to reach their communities. And Red Door Church has an especially effective online presence.

However, such sites are also used to communicate with a much wider community. The Lenons are grateful when others outside their city visit IAmRedDoor.org for updates, especially when the news those visitors read fuels prayers for the ministry. Some may be motivated to not only pray but also support this effort with gifts—financial or service-oriented.

Love a Friend to Christ

Chaney was fresh out of college, living in a city hundreds of miles from home with no friends. That is with no friends yet.

On her first day at her new job, she met Melinda and a friendship was born. What Chaney didn’t know is that friendship is Melinda’s way of doing missions.

An invitation to lunch led to a Saturday night movie, and then, “Would you like to go to church with me tomorrow morning?” Melinda asked. How could Chaney say no? A few months later, Chaney accepted Christ and joined a new believers’ class.

Melinda practices friendship missions as a natural way of sharing her faith and seeing the harvest of simply offering friendship.

Here are a few questions or concerns you might have about friendship missions:

Is it kind of sneaky to make a friend with the idea of bringing him or her to Jesus?

No. After all, the best thing you can do for any friend is to introduce him or her to Jesus, so what is underhanded about that?

I’m not a very outgoing person, so I wouldn’t be good at this.

Just be a friend and invite someone to church. Then be prepared to discuss what happened.

Home Missions

When we think of missions, most of us visualize passports, suitcases, and travel. We seldom consider the possibilities at home. Yet, opportunities abound where we live.

International students, business people, migrant workers, and more live all around us. Many need to hear the story of God’s love and see it demonstrated in our lives.

Without knowing a word of another language, we can serve as conversation partners to help international friends practice their English skills. We can share meals, holidays, shopping, and daily experiences. Learning about one another’s culture opens countless doors.

Imagine how we would feel and what we would want under reversed circumstances. Pray for God’s guidance. Then take the plunge.

Let me warn you: This can be addictive. As God touches others through us, He also changes our hearts.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV).

 

Why Bother?

WMU meetings and activities demand an investment of time and finances. Regardless of what we do, they remind us more needs to be done. So, why bother?

Why not spend those precious moments and dollars on ourselves and our families?

A recent associational missions fair answered those question for me. Pressed for time, I quickly set up my table, pasted a smile on my face, and greeted our guests. I discussed my display, stamped the children’s “passports,” and answered questions.

Then two teens approached. After a few moments of chatting, we began exploring in depth the challenges of sharing God’s love at home and around the world. A mixture of excitement and anxiety played across their faces and in their voices. And I saw myself.

I remembered God’s call to share His love. I relived The Great Commission’s tug on my heart. And I thanked God for the reminder.

New Doors

Plans made? Check. Finances arranged? Check. Several weeks each year earmarked for international missions? Check. I was all set and ready to go.

Then life happened. Family health issues halted all mission trips.

Nevertheless, God led in ways I could never have imagined. I had written for church services, mission trips, and a couple of devotions for a bulletin service. Yet, I never considered myself a writer.

Slowly but surely that began to change. I studied the craft, and opportunities increased.

A writer’s conference speaker introduced me to a ministry that translates radio drama and Bible studies for broadcast around the world, including countries closed to the gospel.

Imagine that. Now I reach more people in Jesus’ name than I did in all my mission trips combined. Isn’t God amazing?

Ministry, Russian Style

A simple man, long past middle age entered the room. Well-worn clothes and shoes that had traveled too many miles failed to dampen his spirit. He spoke of torture at the hands of the communist government. With a hint of a smile, he said churches now meet where his torture occurred—in the building where we sat. He captured our mission team’s attention and hearts.

We served with Brother Edward shortly after the Soviet Union’s fall. He arranged the first ever women’s prison visit. Through his passionate preaching, the women turned to Jesus, tears flowing. Our tears mingled with theirs.

Although Brother Edward’s wife neared death, their fervor for ministry continued. They knew their temporary suffering would soon lead to eternal comfort in the presence of their Savior. Until then, they continued to invite others to join them there.

They accomplished so much with so little. What are we doing with what we have?

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).

Pages

Back to Top