I responded to a call to go into all the world to preach the gospel in my early 20’s. Eagerly, I went to Bible school to prepare. This hope became my bread and butter as I studied, dreamed, and planned to go. I didn’t exactly know where God would send me, but I knew international travel was definitely in my future. I was more than willing—actually enthusiastic about the prospect.
The first opportunity that came my way was a summer commitment to Israel with a group from Christ for the Nations Bible Institute. Thirty of us went to serve on a kibbutz , which is a communal farmland. These Jewish/Israeli communes invited foreigners to come work the land and get to know Jewish people as well as experience their beautiful culture and customs. The prospect filled my heart with joy and possibilities. I understood that the gospel was to the Jew first from Romans 1:16, and remained eager that God would send me to this place first.
If you were raised in the church and especially a gospel, Bible-believing church, you are familiar with sending missionaries. You may be familiar with toying with the idea of being sent as well.
Since then we’ve spent nine years actually living on the mission field and many, many years traveling the nations. It has been the privilege of our life to fulfill the great commission in word and deed. We never felt up to the task, but we were certainly available to go and do what God asked us.
I believe all believers are commanded to go. It just means different things to different people. Some are charged at the idea of going to a foreign land and some cannot even imagine it. The command to go and preach and make disciples applies to anyone who holds this treasure within their heart. The beautiful gift of salvation needs to be shared with your neighbor or with your neighbor across the ocean. It is just up to you when and how you spread this good news.
The advent of the Internet, social media, and email certainly makes this job easier. The gospel can be broadcast to billions in a split second, if they have or can find access. This does not however eliminate the need still to go. There will always be a need to show up face-to-face and make that intimate connection of cheering people on or telling firsthand what God has done in your life.
The New Testament tells us that this gospel will be preached in every nation and then the end will come. It makes complete sense that we keep our eye on the ball of the spreading of the gospel. And we do have an enemy who wishes to destroy the ways and means the great news may be shared.
I believe, in part, the evil intent of the pandemic was to stop or slow the spread of the Good News of salvation from nation to nation.
My husband and I leave for Israel tomorrow. We will be leading a Gateway staff tour. This will be our maiden trip since the pandemic. I believe it is a form of resistance against the devil’s dark plans to stop the spread of the gospel. And we embrace the call of God on our lives especially to the Jewish people. We are eager to begin traveling again to fulfill that calling. I love what my husband said yesterday when we were speaking with friends about this, “I fear God in my calling to go, more than I fear any thing else that would hinder or stop my traveling.”
It will be a joy to be back in the land, to introduce people to Israel who have never walked in the steps of Jesus, and also to come alongside the believers in that country. It is a privilege to come and lift their arms, look them in the eyes and express love and commitment. It is an honor to tell them they are not alone and that God loves them and will continue in his purposes for them that are far bigger than the boundaries of this pandemic.
We are breaking out with humble and grateful hearts that the Lord is sending us back to the land of our calling and love. We covet your prayers as we go.