My eldest daughter, Erica, has always been quite an adventurer. Even from an early age there was talk of her becoming a missionary. I used to cringe at the thought of her going to a far away land; but, I quickly realized that it wasn’t my choice. .
Erica used to play softball many years ago. Her pitching coach at the time, said that Erica could be a missionary on the field. Coach Kay told Erica that you don’t always have to go to a far away land to be a missionary…that she could be a missionary on the field.
Years later, the summer between Erica’s junior/senior year in high school became a turning point in her life. It was when she heard the explicit Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her initial understanding of what it meant to be a Christian was that she needed to go out preaching on the street corners of foreign nations. Erica’s adventurer spirit, met with the passion of the Gospel, was a little scary. Then she found out quickly that was not the most feasible, or effective, way of doing things. Better news, she found out, according to Colossians 3:23 that ALL things can be done as a way of being a mission for God.
This was not her choice! God had chosen Erica to be a witness for Him…to further His kingdom. God wanted Erica to take the road of Acts 1:8.
Missionary: in Erica’s case, it is a person who received power to promote Christianity through everything…even on the field.
Later that same summer, Erica attended the Baylor University Softball Camp. She loved the sport, but more importantly she loved the Lord because He first loved her. While at the Baylor softball camp, Coach Glenn Moore and his staff, not only provided guided softball practice…they also provided an optional Bible study for the girls.
I remember picking Erica up at the end of the week and sitting in the stands with one of my former professors, Dutch Schroeder. We were listening to Coach Moore speak to the families who attended the visitor’s day to pick up our girls. Coach Moore was talking and said there was one young lady who had inspired him, and he continued talking. I wasn’t really listening well. I was busy looking for Erica because I hadn’t seen her all week, when Dutch said that Coach Moore was talking about Erica.
I thought, “How can that be? How would Coach Moore know Erica?”
I heard these girls cheering, and Coach Moore called her up. He asked her to share her testimony, and about what had happened the past week in front of a stadium full of people. She spoke wonderfully!
I had no idea what had happened that past week. Come to find out, Erica had taken advantage of the Bible study…and to be a missionary on the field. By the end of the softball camp, Erica had shared her testimony and helped lead over 40 girls to Christ. She came home from the camp, and made a special cd of Christian music & wrote each girl a letter of encouragement. She also decided that Baylor was where she wanted to go to college…even if she didn’t play softball.
Erica ended up attending Baylor because she was so impressed with Coach Moore & his staff. She was also impressed with the beautiful campus and what Baylor had to offer her. Erica recently graduated in May with a B.A. in religion. She has since become a youth pastor in Austin, Texas at the Austin Stone Community Church. Her time there is completely devoted to working with Middle School and High School students. Her goal is to share and grow in knowledge of the never-ending goodness of the Gospel with these kids. She will be doing that through Bible studies, having awesome paint wars, discipleship, attending church, eating dinner, going to football games, and spending time with students (particularly girls).
Being a missionary “on the field” is definitely her dream job! Erica understands the importance of the eternal gift that God gives us, and she wants to tell all who will listen. This picture totally depicts Erica’s enthusiasm! I know that God is smiling, and saying well done faithful servant.
Now, I’m going to get on a soap box. People don’t have problems sending monies to missionaries in a foreign country; but, some people seem to have problems sending monies (or partnering) with missionaries when they are local. I say missions are just as important locally, as in a foreign country. I’m not just saying that because my daughter has partners, but because God calls us to be witnesses…period.
My husband, and I, are educators in a public system. We don’t make tons of monies, but we have often partnered with local missionaries (RUF), as well as foreign missionaries (MTW). We think it’s important to further His kingdom where we are not able to go. We partnered as little as $25 per month, or $50 per month…if there was a spouse or family involved. It wasn’t much, but nevertheless, the missionaries appreciated it. We now partner with a missionary close to our heart…Erica.
This is what’s important to Erica. It excites her to no end because she first heard the explicit Gospel during her junior year of High School. Since then she has wanted to share the Gospel with everyone, especially those the same age as when she first heard. Erica’s passion is that young students would know Christ as their Savior, redeemer, and friend. She knows the pressures of this world all too well, and she knows what it’s like to grow up in today’s society. Erica also knows that the love of God is better than anything this world has to offer during those years, seemingly good or bad. She wants all of the students she encounters, by the grace of God, to know that as well.
As a new graduate, it’s tough beginning the next chapter in your life. You have been independent for a while at college, but now you throw other factors in as well. Erica wants to be the best missionary possible, but it’s tough being a missionary on the field. The unknown of having to ask others to partner with you, either through prayers or monetary partnering, is frightening. People don’t know you, or maybe they don’t understand the importance of partnering. Some don’t want to make commitments to partnering with local missions. It is very important though.
Erica has had opportunities to do missions in foreign countries as well. She has been to Morocco, and this past summer she went to Israel. She shares a lot of her adventures on her blog called “A Freedom Ringer”. You should check it out, if you have time at http://afreedomringer.wordpress.com/,
Should after reading this blog about Erica and her passion to be a missionary on the field, you may want to check out her link on how to partner with her. It is a safe online link at https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=7ba521 . Any type of partnering is appreciative: prayers, monthly, or end of year/one time gifts that are tax deductible.
Jesus said, “Follow Me!”
Erica stepped up to the plate…being a missionary on the field!
I’m so proud of my missionary for making a difference in His kingdom!
“God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.”
Only when we become passionate about dealing with our painful experiences can a deep healing take place that we desperately desire. There is hope in healing, and hope leads to freedom. Freedom will come when we have faith to trust in Him. Truth is our hope is found in Christ; but, lack of faith can stand in the way of our passion to heal.
Ultimately the truth is that it is not within our power to always run the race, and to go the distance by ourselves. We will fail, every one of us, alone. That is why we need the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One who is able to keep us from falling. With His help we can go the distance gaining the prize of His life—that He died for our sins so that we could live. Christ fulfilled what we could not see.
If the Gospel brings about true freedom, or I like to think “free to be me”, then in essence His message brings us hope. Not just for today, but for the future of His Kingdom. One of my Pastors told me that, “God’s grace gives us freedom from despair and pride.” Truth is, that we can have hope to “carry on”, if we let His grace free us of our idols of our sinful nature.
Finally, I was thinking about a J.R.R. Tolkien poem:
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
I was thinking about how Christ did not much look like a King during His reign on Earth; in fact, he probably had similarities to that of a ranger. The only crown Jesus wore was a crown of thorns. But through the Gospel we find hope. We learn the truth of God’s mercy, grace, and justice. Knowing all of these things, we should be able to seek His Kingdom—where the crownless again shall be King…of all Kings.
Be passionate! Have hope! Truth and freedom came and He will come again. Hallelujah!