“God is closing in on some of you. He is like the ‘Hound of Heaven’ who means to make you far happier in some dangerous and dirty work. Missionaries and ministers of mercy don’t come from nowhere. They come from people like you, stunned by the glory of God and stopped in your tracks. Sometimes it happens when you are going in exactly the opposite direction.” -John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
I was working as a therapeutic aid in an elementary school classroom when I first read the above quote by John Piper. It was winter of 2005 and I was finishing up classes for my degree in Counseling and I was working full time at a local counseling center. It was a cold and gloomy day in February; my student had to take a test and I had some free time to read. So while I was sitting in a tiny, wooden elementary school desk, I read those words from John Piper that changed my life forever. I remember writing in the margin of the book “God called me to missions in a second grade classroom”.
I remember driving home one evening after work, thinking about those words again. I distinctly remember that it was a cloudy day, and I was driving on an entrance ramp in Scranton. I couldn’t stop wondering – did God want ME to be a missionary? How could this be? I made so many mistakes. I wasn’t perfect (because sometimes we expect missionaries and pastors to be that way, don’t we?). But I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind, the idea that God was asking me to be a missionary. To move overseas. To give up my desires of working on a career or a mortgage with a white-picket fence. Despite all of my protests I knew that God wanted me to surrender this to Him. I knew that if God wanted me to be a missionary, that He would prepare and qualify me for this journey.
It was during this same time that God brought Stephen and I together. Steve and I met on a missions trip to Japan in 1998. I trusted that if God desired for us to get married, that He’d also give me a heart for Japan.
And He has.