God's Call to Missions - Jake's Story

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Impacted for Missions

During his years in university, Jake found himself learning more about missions – primarily from two sources. His church prayed for and supported a number of missionaries, many of whom came to speak during the Sunday service, telling stories of how God was at work. One even brought a bow and arrow to the service and shot an arrow up into the rafters – a Sunday morning service the congregation did not soon forget! The Sunday School department in which Jake was teaching “adopted” a  missionary family in Spain, corresponding with them and sharing in their support. The second source of missional influence was the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) group that he attended. It was through ICVF that Jake first heard about Urbana Student Missions Convention and was encouraged to attend. It was at Urbana that Jake really understood that missions provided opportunities for many more than just those who are gifted in preaching and evangelism.


Jake and Lillian today.

A Perfect Opportunity

Fifteen months later, Jake was just finishing up his Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Guelph. It was during this time that Harold Fife, a minister-at-large with SEND, spoke to Jake’s InterVarsity group, informing the group that SEND was looking for an agriculturalist to join the church-planting team in Marinduque, Philippines. Jake was looking for the next step to take following the completion of his Master’s degree. Knowing that he wanted to serve God, and thinking he wanted to be overseas, this seemed like the perfect fit for him. Jake consulted several of his friends from IVCF, as well as his pastor, and with their encouragement, Jake sent a letter to SEND, reporting his interest in the position in the Philippines. It turned out that the personnel director would soon be visiting Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and Jake was able to meet with him.

Following the Lord’s Leading

One application later, Jake was accepted by SEND in April of 1969, while he was still completing his Master’s degree. Jake felt confident that this was the Lord leading him to the Philippines. Although he had come to the Philippines to work in agriculture, Jake’s focus gradually shifted. Jake found himself becoming more and more involved in church work and assisting other missionaries in practical ways, such as addressing needed home repairs.


Jake in Marinduque in 1970.

Listening to God’s Call

Several months before the completion of his two-year commitment, Jake was asked to return to the Philippines for a long-term position, Business Manager for the mission. By this time, Jake was engaged to Lillian Thiessen, a young lady teaching music at a Filipino Bible school. Jake saw that God was opening the door for both he and Lillian to continue their missionary service together in the Philippines.Following their wedding in 1972, Jake and Lillian returned to the Philippines where Jake jumped into language study for 8 months before starting his new role as Business Manager.

Is this where God wants me?

Several years passed and Jake began to wonder if the Philippines was where he should be long-term. His father was ready to hand over farm responsibilities and Jake felt a pull to join his brother on the farm. Jake, along with Lillian, struggled to make a decision, praying about what they should do for more than a year before giving mission leadership their notice of intended resignation. At the end of their current term, they would return to Canada to manage the family farm. Despite making the decision official, neither Jake nor Lillian felt at peace. Instead, they continued to receive affirmation to continue to serve in their current roles. Jake received a letter from an acquaintance serving in Africa, encouraging him in his work. After yet another year, Jake and Lillian returned to the mission leadership and asked if they could reverse their previous decision to leave. Their decision was met with enthusiasm and the peace they were looking for settled in.

If you talk to Jake about this experience, he’ll tell you that he considers this to be God’s call on his life to missionary service. From that time on, he did not doubt that the mission field was where he was supposed to be. The Lord continued to bless their work and expand their ministry in the many years to follow. God has been faithful throughout it all.

Read Lillian's Story.

Read Some Life Lessons from Jake and Lillian.

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