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Preparing to serve – when it seems you can’t move forward. 

Dr Dan Baetz, AIM Canada Director

In 1966, the cardiologist gathered our family around my grandfather’s hospital bed as he lay dying and said there is only one hope – a new technology called a ‘pacemaker’.  He explained that this is a battery inserted under the skin connected to the heart, which acts as a stimulant causing the heart to continue to beat. Although Grandpa was not the very first recipient in Canada, he lived the longest of that initial group.

Similarly, WHEN ONE BECOMES A CHRISTIAN, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the new believer. Like a spiritual pacemaker, the indwelling ‘Spirit of Jesus’ fulfills a prediction made hundreds of years earlier by the Old Testament prophet Joel, that God will give a “heart of flesh and not a heart of stone” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). This same Spirit at the moment of indwelling imparts many ‘gifts’ – a rainbow array – identified in several passages of Scripture – 1 Corinthians 12,14 – Romans 12, Ephesians 4.  One such gift is a ‘missionary gifting’. This comes with a cocktail of gifts that often include the ability to proclaim the gospel in a cross cultural setting. God does not give this gift to everyone!

A person with this gift/calling will often become highly conscious of what God is doing around the world.  He/she may gravitate towards a particular people group or language.  They usually have a facility to connect with people of other ethnicities and languages.  They may also have an aptitude to learn languages or at least a strong desire to persevere in this regard. Also, they are usually strong people, submitted to the Lord’s power that becomes harnessed strength!  

But, what if God has given that gift and COVID has seemingly put the brakes on the expression of that gifting? All travel has been curtailed postponing participation in a visioning trip!  

Here are some tips that may be helpful:

  • Become involved in service with your local church
  • Tell your pastor/missions committee members about your desire to serve. It is extremely beneficial to have your church walk alongside you in this journey. This makes a world of difference since it provides moral, prayer and financial support.
  • Investigate what local cross-cultural ministry efforts your church or other ministries are doing that you can be a part of.
  • Ask someone you respect spiritually to be your mentor. My mother continues to mentor women at in her golden years at 91.
  • Share your desire with your small group, or a group of friends so that they can support you in prayer. This will help to make your journey real.
  • Read biographies of renowned missionaries like Hudson Taylor, Lillias Trotter, Jim Elliott.
    We felt like Grasshoppers’ by Dick Anderson is a good place to start.  Or, pick up a copy of ‘Operation World’‘ by Jason Mandryk & Patrick Johnstone, then begin praying – especially for those countries that interest you.
  • Research countries where you feel drawn to serve.
  • Connect with former missionaries.
  • If possible, take a “Kairos” or “Perspectives” Course. Many persons have shared how pivotal these Courses have been in their call and preparation for serving.

Following these tips will keep your spiritual heart strong and pulsating, and will “fan into flame the gift given you…”  (2 Timothy 1:6).  You might look back at this time of waiting and say; “Thank you Lord for the extra time I had for preparing to serve you.”