Did my love of travel attract me to the missionary life?

Travel and relationships go hand in hand!

My favorite and most vivid memories as a child often have to do with traveling somewhere. I grew up far from both my mom and dad’s extended families, so going on a bus ride for 6 to 12 hours to another city or state to see grandpas, grandmas, uncles, aunts, and cousins felt thrilling. There was always the wonder of seeing beautiful scenery during the journey, the amazement of seeing skyscrapers (the tallest buildings in my city were probably 10 stories high), and the exhilaration of being in huge shopping malls full of interesting looking people.

Travel does that… it connects you to something different, something interesting, something other, and a lot of times to something challenging too. Once I ate a spoiled snack at a bus rest area during the half-way point of our trip and became majorly sick a few hours later. Yes! I did vomit in the middle aisle of the bus to my dad’s horror! I somehow was not embarrassed but I wouldn’t say the same about my dad.

How about the way travel opens up horizons to things that at home would never be accepted or dreamed of? But over there, on the other side, at the destination of your travel, those “weird” things seems less out of place. My city didn’t have rush hour traffic jams, yet my favorite thing to do with my adult cousin was to ride with her in the car in heavy traffic during rush hour. She must have thought I was nuts! I felt like I was in heaven!

Overseas travel… the greatest of travels!

Once, I was reading in bed next to my dad and I noticed that on the cover of his book was a picture of Thai Buddhist monks walking through a very large monastery. Disclaimer: at that age I had no idea there was a country called Thailand or that Buddhism was their official religion. Still, something leaped up inside me and I thought to myself, “How cool would it be to travel to such an exotic place like this place on the cover of dad’s book?”

Imagine how I felt upon remembering that scene some 15 years later on the day that I walked through the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand and saw many Buddhist monks walking around… just like the place on the cover of dad’s book.

The missionary call.

I was 17 years old when a drama and dance group from Youth With A Mission (YWAM) came to work for one month with my church. I wasn’t sure what they would do but I decided to tag along with them everywhere they went that month. In addition, my parents hosted 3 of their members at our house. Night after night, after hours of evangelistic work through artistic expression, I would sit with the 3 team members and listen to their stories of traveling all over the country and to other countries to preach the Gospel. More amazing still, they said that I too could do it! What??? Me traveling all over the country and to other countries? Could this be?

The groups’ month with my church was finished and they packed their bags and went back to their headquarters. Without going into the stunning details of how it happened, one week later I too was at their headquarters to be trained as a missionary.

It’s no longer about travel… it’s about Jesus and the Gospel.

This is where my motivations drastically changed. I had the greatest desire to do just like that group did in my city, to go preach the Gospel and to see people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

During my missionary training called Discipleship Training School (DTS), God grabbed my heart and helped me understand that billions of people have never ever heard the name of Jesus. It was then that I told God, “Lord, I will do whatever You ask me, and I will go wherever You send me.” It was like an Isaiah 6:8 moment… “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” I said, “Here am I. Send me!””

Therefore, GO…

What came next was absolutely wonderful. The Lord placed in my heart the call to literally go to the other side of planet earth to preach the Gospel to a people whose language I didn’t know (now I do), to a place uniquely different from anything I had ever seen (I have now lived among them). Man, did I receive my heart’s desire to travel and see the world from that point on!

I have now travelled to over 30 nations, have been on every continent (except Antartica) and have spent more than half of my life speaking in languages that I learned only once I was an adult. I truly feel like I am a citizen of the world.

So now you tell me, did my love of travel attract me to the missionary life?

How about you? Are you too attracted to a life of travel, adventure, meeting new people, eating new foods, speaking new languages, experiencing new climates, all for the sake of Jesus and the preaching of His Gospel?

If you are, then apply now for the six-month Discipleship Training School! This could be one of the best decisions you will make in your adult life.