Why I Decided to Become a Missionary
I grew up in a family of Messianic Jewish Christians. Messianic Jewish Christians are ethnically Jewish and believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. My dad became a full-time missionary with the organization, Jews For Jesus a day after I was born.
I grew up going to church every Sunday, we celebrated the Jewish holidays, and I also attended youth camps each year. I remember when I was 4 years old sitting in the grocery store parking lot and asking my dad questions about God. At that moment I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart, knowing that I wanted Him in my life forever. I had a child-like faith. In my younger years, I remember going with my dad to help hand out gospel tracts. Those are some of my most special memories.
I think from a young age I was inspired by my dad’s heart for serving the Lord by telling other people about Jesus. In elementary school, I remember talking to other kids about who Jesus was while playing on the playground during recess. I struggled a lot in high school with depression, not knowing who I was or what my future would look like but I pressed on believing there was more to life than my struggles.
In 2011 I chose to go on a 3-month long mission trip for young Jewish Christians with “J4J,” which would start out in Israel and end in India. This trip was my first experience abroad and I really looked forward to it especially as I had always wanted to travel to Israel. My time overseas that summer was awesome and I grew so much as an individual. In Israel, we got to see so many cool places where Jesus walked and that was incredible. We also learned about sharing our faith with other Jewish people which was equally meaningful.
I loved being in Israel, but I also felt a sense of guilt for not experiencing a unique connection to that place that in the past I had expected to feel as a Jewish Christian landing in the Holy Land. Later on, when we were in India, I was surprised by how comfortable I was talking to random Israeli backpackers about travel, life, religion, etc. I remember when I was there grumbling a lot about not being physically comfortable. India was such an extreme for me and over the years I described my first experience there as a “love/hate relationship” not realizing at the time that I would find myself longing to return.
Over the years I have worked for many companies in the retail field and to be honest, it hasn’t been my favorite, but I grew to learn that I was and am a people person! I love talking to people, having genuine conversations, and building strong relationships on a personal level. The 2 years after that trip I found myself longing to be more in community. I have struggled a lot on and off with loneliness, I don’t do well with it and I believe whole-heartedly that God made each of us to be relational, especially me. I was encouraged to look into volunteering with the organization, Youth With A Mission which is all about a life of community and centered on God’s greater purpose, “to know God and to make Him known”.
I did a discipleship training school in Kona, Hawaii (I know, I know, “what a hard life.” Haha) and then I completed an outreach in a place called Darjeeling, India. I didn’t know what to expect that second time in India, but in the middle of that period of time I felt that God had given me a somewhat supernatural love for the people there and for its rich culture.That’s the only way I could try to explain to you or anyone else including my family why I had to stay at that time.
Throughout my travels over the years I have felt like that is when I hear God most clearly. There have been a few times while in India that I knew with certainty God protected me during a couple of dangerous situations. South Asia is where I have made the closest connections with people. Village ministry really encouraged my heart in serving the Lord as a missionary. I felt empowered when I got to share little bits of conversation in Nepali with the children as well as with the families who so graciously gave me a place to sleep or served me a nice hot, steaming cup of chai.
What really stood out to me was hearing the countless stories from kids about how difficult their family life was. At home they struggled with feelings of rage, bitterness, loneliness, and depression, some of which hit close to home for me. I found it a privilege being able to speak truth into the people I met and sharing life with so many individuals.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 it says: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” My desire is to serve God by seeking Him and loving others.