'How did you know you were called to missions?'
July 2021

This is one of our most frequently asked questions! Given how personal our God is, it’s probably not a surprise that there’s no one answer: Some people just know they’re called. For others, it’s a long journey. Some missionaries even hesitate to use the term “calling." Our five missionary panelists each have their own unique stories, and yours will be unique, too! Click below to reach out to a SEND mission coach, who can help you discover your role in global missions. 

I explored, God directed

Headshot of Hannah in JapanMy call to missions is a reminder that God can use ordinary people for extraordinary purposes—we each have a beautiful role in the Great Commission. 

After growing up as a missionary kid, I had the “American dream” mindset. It was through working at a Christian camp in Spain that God began to redirect my plans. I had the Spanish language from growing up in Mexico, but I did not have the cultural understanding. It was a reminder to me that language and culture go hand-in-hand. The first two years that missionaries spend learning a language in the country that they serve in are crucial for learning the culture. 

Upon graduating Texas A&M, I began to look for ways to serve overseas. This journey has led me to work in three countries with three different ministries. I would encourage you to dream big, EXPLORE—God has bigger plans than we can begin to imagine.


I saw the signs

Headshot of Hannah in JapanGod was super evident in calling me to missions in NUMEROUS ways! He called me through Scripture (Ezekiel). He called me through circumstances (our home sold overnight). He called me through confirmation in the wisdom of others (our parents, our teammates at church). He called me through provision (our college loan got paid off just as my husband and I considered missions).

I really think that the combination of multiple signs confirmed it!


My path to Siberia was a process

Headshot of Leif in SiberiaI first experienced discipleship while I was a university student and was challenged to share my faith with other students. I wanted to make a difference and serve God with my life, but wasn't sure how. I took a short-term trip to Guatemala through a small medical mission, and was struck by how there were more Christians there than in the area where I grew up in the US.

That same summer some friends of mine, including Jami (now my wife), went to Siberia and interacted with Buryats who had never held a Bible and had no connection to Christ or the church. I realized I wanted to serve in a community where people didn’t already have access to the gospel.

The following year, I did the first of two year-long internships in Buryatia. Following those two years, I married Jami, and we began to pray about what was next. God kept putting on our hearts the unreached peoples of the world, and after much prayer and consulting with spiritual leaders, we decided to go into long-term cross-cultural work. God continued to answer prayers that directed us to return to the Buryat people.


I couldn't just watch people suffer

Headshot of DK in Southeast AsiaIn high school, I took a trip to serve a homeless population. After this trip, I realized that I didn’t want to be on the sidelines while people suffered. That’s when my desire to pursue nursing and global work started. I wanted to facilitate both physical healing through nursing and spiritual healing through global work. 

During college, my husband and I developed friendships with a community of Muslims in Southern California. We learned about their cultures and beliefs and engaged in spiritual conversations. I realized that God had given me a passion for work among Muslims. God showed me ways that Muslims seek God with their whole hearts, but just don’t yet see the whole truth. 

God confirmed this direction for my life though a short mission trip. During my last year of school, I visited Southeast Asia as part of my nursing program. I was able to witness how my passion for nursing and Muslim ministry could unite, and now I’m back, serving in the community I got to know on that trip! 

I call my journey a 'trajectory'

Headshot of Jake in CzechI felt that missionary work was something God was preparing me to do as early as high school, and I've been heading toward it ever since.

We can overcomplicate calling, or have expectations of a “road to Damascus moment.” You will continually examine, hone, and pursue your calling throughout life—there will be adjustments! Allow your church and godly leaders and mentors to have a significant voice as you discern your calling for the near term and the distant future. And most importantly, wrestle with the Lord through scripture and honest prayer.

While each of our panelists have their own unique stories, a few themes stand out. Experiencing another culture played a role in several of their lives, as did prayer and wise counsel. As you consider the role God has for you, ask yourself: Whom do I trust to speak into my future? What do I sense when I pray about becoming a missionary? And if I were to take a short-term trip, where would I go? 

The path to missions can feel overwhelming! Our experienced mission coaches will walk alongside you every step of the way.

Contact a coach button• Find out how you can become a SEND missionary.

• Explore where and how you can serve with SEND

• Subscribe to Explore News, to hear real-life stories from our missionary panelists every month. 


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