“What if God Calls Me to Africa?”
Aleisha Stephens | February 2011
When I was in college, I remember having a conversation with a friend who was worried about “God’s will” for her life. “What if God calls me to Africa?” she asked with eyes wide and fear surfacing.
If you have grown up in the Evangelical church, the reality is, you may have asked yourself a similar question. Maybe that excites you. However, if you think God only cares about those He can ship off to some foreign country, so that they can “suffer” for Him, well, eyes widen and fear surfaces.
My experience is so different. My first commercial airplane ride ever was to Poland on a short-term mission trip to serve with Josiah Venture missionaries. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. A recent graduate from high school, I was taking the trip to honor my youth pastor who died in an accident just a few months prior. Before his death, he planted the seed of serving overseas short-term.
Despite having never really experienced much outside my home-state of Minnesota, I felt alive like never before. I absolutely fell in love with Poland and the young people that I met. I also loved sharing what the love of Christ had done in my life. I was uninhibited. The next summer, I was invited back to serve as an intern. I came back the next summer, and the next, and then next. Why? Because I loved it.
Now, I would be lying (or hiding something) if I didn’t mention that some of those summers were the most stretching and faith-testing of my entire life. However not in a “suffering in a country that I hate” sort of way, more like a finding out who I really am, how living by faith is so important, and how sharing the love of Christ is the most fulfilling (although, sometimes difficult) aspect of life.
Did God call me to Africa? No. He provided an opportunity for me to serve with an organization that I love in an area of the world for which He gave me a love: Eastern Europe. My husband, Brian, and I are part of the Josiah Venture Bteam, which serves the entire JV family by providing access to care, support, and resources. We live near the JV Eastern European headquarters in the Czech Republic (with our amazing daughter, Cecelia). Now, I am editing Lift, the JV monthly electronic newsletter, that links to our JV blog. I can hardly believe that this is my life.
The next time someone asks me, “what if God calls me to Africa?” I will answer with a glisten in my eye. He might, and if He does, you might just love it!