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(This post was written by Caroline Ervin, Membership Director)
There is a topic of conversation within the church that I continue to hear across many circles that sounds something like this:
“I know someone at my work that needs help paying their bills, we should help them!” or
“I know someone in our small group that can’t provide for their children, we should help them!” or
“There are so many in Haiti and Nashville that need our help, we should help them.”
The more I have tuned into these conversations, I’m starting to realize that the “we” to which they are referring is the church organization. They don’t think they should be the one to help provide the resources for that help or that they should be the ones to go spread that message of hope, but it should be done by the organization.
I want to challenge you to ask, ”What if God revealed that family with a need or that information about a country in need because He actually wanted you to be the one to help them or you to be the one to help spread that message across the world?” It’s so much easier and more comfortable to pass the responsibility on to someone else.
I can speak from experience, because for years, this was me. I can vividly remember conversations I had with my boyfriend (now husband, Brad Ervin) in college as we would discuss traveling on mission trips or even thinking about being missionaries. I would quickly respond by telling him, “God has definitely not called me to go on a mission trip to even go visit and definitely not to move half way across the world. He would never call me to do that, and I just won’t go.” Little did I know that to say never to God is the most dangerous and humorous phrase you can utter.
Fast forward to 2006. I have just come on staff as the Membership Director at Faith Promise and just a few months into being full-time, Josh Whitehead comes to me and says, “We have spot open on our mission trip to Thailand. I think you should go, and I need you to go!” I said I would pray about it, knowing full well God would not call me on that trip (that left in only eight weeks). I begged God not to make me go. I begged Him to break a bone so I couldn’t go. I even prayed to get really sick. Yet all the while I knew I was going to go on that trip. If it isn’t already obvious, I was not looking forward to it at all. The day I was supposed to tell Josh whether I was going or not, the last line of the book from my quiet time read, “Have you ever considered going to a foreign country and sharing the gospel in another language?” Ouch! If that isn’t blatant confirmation, then I don’t know what is.
That trip changed my life forever. God opened my heart and showed me a new love for Him and for His people that I would have always missed out on had I not stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled to the other side of the world to experience it. Since then, I have traveled to Macau, China, and Cape Town, South Africa three times. We just returned from Africa about a week ago, and I am begging my husband to sell all our possessions and move our family to Cape Town, South Africa to serve as missionaries.
I want to share my story because maybe you have told God, “I will never go on a mission trip!” or “I would never be able to give up my own money to help someone else in need.” I want to encourage you to be willing and open to God asking you to do something out of your comfort zone. He may have placed that situation, family, or trip into your path because He wants to work in your life and reveal Himself to you in a way that is unlike anything you have ever experienced. You just have to be willing to say “Yes!” And also, to never say never.