My Call to Asia
by “Asher,” an AFM Cross-Cultural Worker (CCW)
I drove to Anglican Frontier Missions’ (AFM) 25th Anniversary Celebration eager to join brothers and sisters in celebrating God’s work in the world. I was also looking forward to reconnecting with The Rev. Dr. Chris Royer who, when preaching at my church in Richmond, mentioned the possibility of serving on AFM’s board. I expected to learn more about the board position after the celebration, but boy, did God have other plans.
My wife Hanna and I had talked about a call to go overseas before we were married and throughout the first few years of our marriage. But we started to have children and none of the mission opportunities before us felt right, so instead, I eventually took a job in the tech field, and my wife was busy at home raising our kids.After a few years of marriage, we bought our first house in Richmond and were looking forward to settling down near my wife’s family.
We found a great church where we could grow and serve as a family for many years. This would be our home for the foreseeable future… or so we thought. We didn’t realize the foreseeable future wasn’t that long.
In spite of all that was going well in my life, I felt dissatisfied with my situation. My work, while rewarding in other ways, lacked the relational quality that I yearned for.
To compensate for this, I got involved in a few ministries to internationals in Richmond. But rather than satisfying an itch, it fueled a flame. So, when I went to AFM’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, I was hoping to come away with another way to get involved locally, believing that this would quench my thirst for missions.
But I didn’t come home with a role on the AFM board; instead I came home with a burning call to a foreign land and a foreign people to share the love of Christ. Question after question popped into mind, and each was quickly answered by the Lord. He used his Word, the voices of his people nearby, and the voices of those with whom I had worked before in other lands. I had questions, and He had answers. I felt so overwhelmed, it was hard to drive back to the house.
When I got home, Hanna asked me how it went. I told her we needed to go overseas. She asked when. I told her yesterday.
Over the next few months we continued to talk about this calling and began the application process with AFM. I spoke with the rector (senior pastor) at our church, and one thing he said still shapes my outlook. He said he felt we were trying to blaze a new trail instead of walking down the well-worn path.
A burden that I’d been carrying since I started seminary in 2005 lifted off me that day. I’d felt that once I became adequate the Lord could use me as a missionary. But the well-worn path of missions is full of inadequate people! God is not looking for adequate people. Adequacy is not one of the job requirements. God takes inadequate people and makes them more than adequate in Him.
My wife and I spent many nights discussing what the Lord was calling us to. It took continuous surrender to the Lord. We surrendered the desire for our kids to grow up around family, our life in the States, our lives as they were, and our kids’ lives as they might have been. In the call to go, we had to lay aside a settled life, a life we knew, for the unknown with an unknown people in an unknown land but with an eminently knowable God!
Today as we continue our training with AFM, preparing to go to the mission field, we are still surrendering our desires to the Lord. We know that serving overseas is His calling, and that putting our desires over Him would bring not only dissatisfaction, but pain and sorrow from disobedience. By God’s grace, we submitted and are continuing to submit to this life because in Him alone is life, and His life is the light of mankind (John 1:5).
We do not know the road ahead, but we do know that the Lord is with us, He is for us, and He has gone before us on this journey. That brings more than enough comfort, joy, and peace, no matter the cost.