I think I came into missions with quite romanticised ideas of adventure, travel, and crowds of people coming to know Jesus. I’m sure it was with this in mind that I walked into a travel agency at eighteen years old with $1,400 cash in an envelope for a ticket to Australia.
My destination was a six-month-long Discipleship Training School — an opportunity to share the Gospel with the masses, trek around the world, and never be bored again!
It is true that in the past eight years, I have gotten to visit many countries. I've ridden a camel around the pyramids in Cairo, attempted surfing the beaches of Bali, trekked through the northern hill-tribe villages of Vietnam, and walked through the local huts of coastal Papua New Guinea. I’ve tried new food, seen new sights, and learned snippets of many languages.
But I was not allowed to go long in this missions life with adventure as my goal.
I was only nineteen years old and on my second trip to Asia when God got my attention. Shortly after that aforementioned trek through the northern hill-tribes, I was having some downtime in my guesthouse room in Hanoi. To be entirely honest, I was quite miserable. So I sat down to ask God why I wasn’t enjoying this trip full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
And God was rather honest in his answer.
It was I, not God, who had decided that adventure was my purpose. I focused on great stories of risk and miraculous conversions. What God really wanted most from me was to know him and to allow myself to be known by him. A thousand years of mountain hikes, foreign languages and dangerous excursions would never fulfil me.
Eight years in, I only have one recollection of “leading someone to the Lord”. And that took place within those first six months of leaving my home in Canada. But God has slowly, bit-by-bit, been revealing to me what his larger story is.
The point of this whole life thing is to have an active and thriving relationship with God. And this whole missions thing is to represent the glory of God across the earth — the glory that reveals itself through relationship.
There are many great missions stories that come with tales of death-defying journeys, miracles of survival against all odds, of thousands giving their lives to the Lord. My story so far has not been these things. For me, it has been a sweet experience of the call of Jesus to go deeper which, it turns out, is the greatest adventure of all.