By Chelsi Johnson
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)
This passage expresses the give and take of being a “not fully funded” missionary. Having been in Partnership Development for almost a year I have been through the ups and downs of raising support. Contentment has been the hardest lesson to learn through my journey. Not only is contentment needed, but the strength to continue to follow God’s calling regardless of the circumstances goes hand-in-hand with it.
Two big things can weigh on an appointee–the support raising process, but also the yearning desire to be where God has called them to serve. As time goes on, that appointee watches their colleagues leave for the field and they wonder why they haven’t been able to go yet. That was where I was in February of this year as I watched my close friends leave to serve in Spain. Truly, I felt like a part of my “family” had left me behind. It did give me a bit of “fire” to push on, but at the same time, it felt a little like it was going to take forever to get to where they were. I prayed that God would give me the courage and help me remember that things are in His timing.
God brought the opportunity to take another trip to Spain this April providing me with a new perspective and an opportunity to reunite with that part of my “family”. The trip made my heart yearn even more to share God’s love with the unreached in Spain. While there, my colleagues reminded me that I am not in Spain because I am not ready yet. Take advantage of the waiting and become better equipped for coming back, they said. This was the answer to my prayer. I returned with an affirmed vision and new goals to become a better servant of my God, filled with confidence that I am heading where God has called me.
Contentment is not sitting and waiting for God to work. It is having confidence in your God that He is working all things out for good while continuing to equip yourself for what lies ahead through being in his word, serving etc. This is true even if you are not raising funds. Reading, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word allows it to sink into our minds and hearts, giving us the ability to recall that passage or verse when we are going through a struggle or rejoicing in an accomplishment. Serving in the church provides us a way to build a community of friends so we have someone to talk to about what is happening. Having these tools in our “tool belt” allows us to continue to be content in our situation and move forward in God’s plan for our lives.
For missionary appointees, learn to enjoy each partner development meeting and take advantage of the time to equip yourself for where God has called you. Don’t rush, but be content with where you are in the process.
For others, keep God the center of your focus and don’t get distracted with what is going on around you. Have confidence that God has a plan and purpose for your life and He will give you the strength to accomplish that goal.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (HCSB)
About Chelsi Johnson: Community based outreach to North African families in Madrid, Spain. Read more about her journey at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary (March 2019 article). Consider becoming a partner by clicking here.