Being full-time Global Workers was never on the radar for Kevin and Jill Kane.
After deciding to follow Christ later in life, they became involved with the Wooster Grace Church in Ohio. Living out their newfound faith, they began serving on several ministry teams and lived on mission in their local community. Years later, during one of the church’s Mission Emphasis Weeks, the Kanes attended a ministry presentation about the spiritual needs of Cambodia. Here, a glimpse of God’s global plan for them was shown.
At the time, Jill was going through a Bible study in Genesis and had just read about the call of Abraham. With that story fresh in her mind, Jill listened to Cambodia’s need for Jesus and felt clearly drawn. In her heart, she said to God, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” The experience closely resembled the day she first met Jesus.
Kevin felt very different, though.
After the presentation, He asked his Jill what she thought, and she said plainly, “I want to go.” She meant long-term, but Kevin thought she was talking about the short-term missions trip the church was planning. Still, he was shocked and gave his wife a look of disapproval. He loved her heart, but there was no way they were going to Cambodia.
Jill said nothing and prayed for God’s will to be done.
In the following weeks, Cambodia began to pop up everywhere. It was in the news, on National Geographic, and brought up by others in random conversations. Jill’s call began to feel more like a burden than a joy. Knowing that God would not split them on an issue like this, Jill continued to pray for her husband’s heart to be opened.
God answered her prayer one little step at a time.
First, Kevin came home from work one afternoon to eat lunch while Jill was studying Genesis. That day’s lesson had been about Abraham lying to King Abimelech, telling him that Sarah was his sister. As Kevin sat down at the table, Jill asked him, “Do you think Abraham was trusting in God when he lied about Sarah or using his own common sense?”
Kevin quickly responded, “Of course he wasn’t trusting in God; that’s a no-brainer.”
After lunch, Kevin went back to work renovating a house in Ashland. On the way, his wife’s question lingered in his heart. He had felt the Lord prodding him to go to Cambodia before this, but he had refused to acknowledge it. He thought anyone with an ounce of common sense would not go to Cambodia in the midst of their political instability. Fear was getting in his way, and in his heart, Kevin knew he was not trusting in God.
At the renovated house, Kevin was painting in a closet, and he began praying over his fear. The two requests he had for the Lord were stretch me and break me. Kevin met with God for hours, wrestling with him like never before. At the end, he emerged from the closet drenched with sweat and drove straight home. He walked into his kitchen and told Jill, “We’re going!”
Six months later, the Kanes were on a plane to Cambodia for a short-term missions trip. They quickly got into the ministry, experiencing a taste of what Cambodia was like. Near the end of the first day, Kevin said, “You know Jill, you should really come back here on the next short-term missions trip.” It was a start.
The next day, after several hours of serving and exploring, Kevin turned to his wife again and said, “You know Jill, we should both come back here on the next short-term missions trip.”
On the fifth day, Kevin looked at Jill and said, “I think God wants us… to move here.”
With great joy, Jill explained how she had felt the Lord’s call from the very beginning to serve in Cambodia long-term.
Since then, the Kanes have faithfully spread the gospel in Cambodia for 11 years as Encompass Global Workers and are now entering their last year of service. They will soon be moving back to Wooster, Ohio.
In those early days, both Kevin and Jill faced a choice: to obey God, trusting even when it didn’t make sense, or to push for their own agenda. The joy they found in choosing obedient faith is a shining example of the truth of the old hymn:
Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do; where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.