Monday, November 4, 2013

Call to Missions

L-R: Me, Joshuwa, and Macie
In the middle of the picture above, meet my new friend, Joshuwa. His parents are missionaries in South Africa, and we will hear from his mom today on this post. But first, let me preface with this:

Growing up, I always thought it would be "cool" to be a missionary. At different children's church programs we would watch videos that would inspire me, but I never knew the implications of such a job. My understanding was so limited; even so, my thought process went like this: Getting to live in another country and tell others about Jesus--what could be better? But this year, even though I’m no expert, I've became more aware than ever about what the role and task of "being a missionary" is composed of. While it's true that as followers of Christ, we are missionaries wherever we go, there's something about global missions that grabs me...and won't let go. We are so quick to say "God Bless America," but I think we sometimes forget that God is global. His scope isn't limited to giving us the American dream that we so desire. In fact, I believe it's quite the opposite. Maybe without even realizing it, we have put a global God into an American box. But there's so much more beyond our borders. Last month, my church had a missions-themed Kingdom Advancement Conference. It reignited my passion for this global cause. It caused me to reflect even more on my international mission trip this past summer, and patiently long for future opportunities. Thinking back on my trip to South Africa, I thought about Kurt and Janna Kay Holiday, and how they have devoted their life to missions. They are career missionaries in Johannesburg that our group had the privilege of working with this summer. Today, I want you to hear from Janna Kay--about how her family answered the call to missions as God worked on their hearts:

"In 1998, Kurt, my husband, and a team of baseball and softball players traveled to Zimbabwe, where they taught students about the 'American Pastime' and Jesus. Kurt was the official pastor on the team and spoke in classes and school-wide assemblies. The missionary they worked with spoke to Kurt about being a full-time missionary. As Kurt arrived back home, I knew something was different, but I did not know that God had begun working on my heart, as well. For the next year, we began hearing God’s voice through sermons, Bible studies, and our alone time with God. We were hoping that God would open a door for me to accompany Kurt back to Zimbabwe for a short-term trip. But that did not happen. Kurt was frustrated that an opportunity did not come up. However, behind the scenes, God was working. A trip did open up, in Johannesburg (Joburg), South Africa. We joined the same missionary in Johannesburg for the All Africa Games (like the Olympics for just Africa). Kurt helped coach the Zimbabwe baseball team while I took photos and kept score and stats. I fell in love with Africa! 

God knew exactly where He wanted us, because there were no jobs in Zimbabwe when we applied with our mission board. But, there was a sports evangelist job request in…you guess it…Johannesburg!
As I look back on our journey to South Africa, it is amazing to see how God prepared our hearts even as far back as eleven years before moving to South Africa.
I always knew that I would live in Texas for the rest of my life, even after I met Kurt. But, God had other plans, as Kurt accepted his first job as youth minister in Richmond, Virginia. We married a year later, and I moved to Richmond. If you are from Richmond, I pray that you will hear me out with an open mind. Richmond was a very difficult place for me. I was, in a sense, a foreigner. People did not understand my accent, were distant, and not really open to new friends. We met only two of our neighbors, and my dearest friend was actually a Floridian. But, God knew what He was doing (not really a big surprise). Kurt became youth minister at a church in North Carolina, where we made many wonderful friends. We grew closer in our relationship to God and to each other, and it was here that God called Kurt to Zimbabwe, then later both of us to the mission field.
The separation from our families back in Texas prepared us for further separation when we moved overseas. Living in Richmond prepared me for living as a foreigner, which can at times be very lonely. But God drew us close to Him while we were in North Carolina, which strengthened our trust in Him and His call on our lives! I also must add that always living in a big city prepared us for the urban work to which God has called us today.
One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV), which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We do not always know God’s ways, but we can surely trust Him. Understanding is His and if we trust in Him and lean on Him, He will direct each of our steps toward His goal!
Today, Kurt is the Urban Strategist for our cluster that includes eight countries, and he is the Joburg team leader. I home school Joshuwa, who is eleven years old. Our daughter, Ruth Anne is 20 and attending Baylor University."
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Family@DisneyAK2011 CroppedHoliday Family Christmas 2004

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