Saying “Yes” To Overseas Ministry

by Martha Moore
Campus Ministry Worker to Germany

Becoming a campus ministry worker overseas was one step in a long series of steps, as I have followed Jesus since my childhood. With each call to obedience God has made on my life, I've had to answer yes or no. The yes answers I've given God steadily moved me to where I've served now for the past three years: sharing Christ with students in the former East Germany.

As a teen in my home church in Florida, I was asked to help in children's church then in a weekly bus ministry with children. The Answer? Yes. As a college student, I agonized over how I could fund a Spring Break trip that our Baptist Student Ministry was taking to Canada. I stepped out on faith and went. The Lord used that trip to give me a heart for this great nation. After seminary I moved to Vancouver, where I gave a few years of my life to reach collegians for Christ. Each time I said yes to a new challenge to a new adventure with the Lord He gave me a bigger heart for the world. I also gained a growing confidence that Jesus working through me would win people to saving faith in Him.

Over the past years God's call to international service became more urgent. Long and short-term experiences in Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, and South America had confirmed that God's method of training leaders is the same anywhere. Are people in my field special? You bet! It's extremely difficult to leave one's comfort zone and move to a country with a different language and unfamiliar customs. Yet seeing overseas workers up-close on these trips helped me understand they aren't markedly different from believers who are serving at home. It's all a matter of serving exactly where the Father has called you.

Staggering Needs in Germany

God's specific call to Germany began as a whisper of an idea. I saw several television documentaries about Germany. After that I couldn't get this nation out of my head, so to speak. Later, I learned that the spiritual needs in Western Europe are staggering. It is estimated that 1.8 million Europeans cancel their state church membership every year. About half the population has never opened a Bible. There are more evangelical Christians in Zaire, Africa, than in France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal combined.

In Germany only 1.2 to 3 percent of the population professes Christ as Savior. Another shocking statistic is that there are only 800 Baptist churches (mostly smaller) compared with a population of 86 million Germans!

Personal Circumstances Provide Final Push

Some tragic circumstances gave me the last push to step out into international ministry. Being single it was certainly hard to think of leaving family and friends behind to pursue a career in overseas service all alone. Could I handle the loneliness? Would I be effective in ministry without a partner? Also I had a mentally handicapped brother, Paul. I was living in California when I felt the urge to move back home to Florida. Five weeks later Paul, who was in his 20s, died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. Fifteen months later my mother had her third bout with cancer. Four days after her surgery I also had major surgery. The reality of my inability to control my destiny seemed an extremely scary thought. Yet somehow, in the midst of many question marks, I sensed afresh God's presence.

As I considered the job description to share Christ with collegians in Germany, my Aunt Becky challenged me with this verse: “For whosoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24). This was the time to take the plunge into a career overseas. I realized that the Father's presence and His ministry through me would be as real if I lived in a foreign land. Remember, people serving overseas are simply people who say yes to that next step: to follow Christ in a cross-cultural experience. Could there be any more exciting turn in the road than the will of God?

(This testimony, from “Obedience to God's Call,” LifeWay Adult Sunday School, Nov.18, 2001, is edited)

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