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Discipling the Missional Heart

In the summer of 2015, Abby Horvat was on her way to an internship at the Northstar Alpine Lodge ministry in Matsumoto, Japan. She thought back endearingly to all the answered prayer that brought her to this point and everyone who helped her along the way; those who discipled her missional heart.

Abby grew up in a small Christian community in Maryland. Her parents always called her their little evangelist because of her eagerness to share Christ. However, the pains of depression stifled her love for Jesus in high school. By seventeen, she wanted only to be done with life. Abby was still the little evangelist on the outside, but on the inside, a battle waged in her heart.

Around Christmas of 2012, Abby gave God one more chance to show up. She spent two hours reading scripture and praying for Him to speak. He did. For the first time since she was a little girl, Abby felt the overwhelming love of God triumphing over her depression. Abby’s heart was filled with love for Jesus which reignited a passion for telling others about the gospel.

Jordan, a small group leader, began investing in Abby’s ministerial call and began praying for her to receive more direction.

Having previously served in Japan with Encompass World Partners, Jordan also suggested that Abby contact Encompass to check out international opportunities. That suggestion was the first step in Abby’s journey to Global Missions. Abby connected with Encompass, and they recommended she attend one of the week-long Encounter Atlanta trips in the summer of 2014.

As she bought her ticket to Atlanta, she wondered if she had made the right decision. However, once there, the Encompass Mobilization Team was able to give a voice to her call for missions through the trip’s cross-cultural classes and activities.

After having a wonderful time in Atlanta, Abby began to ponder what was next for her. She had just graduated from high school and considered attending the Great Commission Bible Institute in Florida. At GCBI, each student goes through the entire Bible, studying every chapter for the entire school year. The Encompass Mobilization team encouraged her to attend knowing it would help equip her for Global Missions.

Abby attended GCBI for the 2014-15 school year, and it was an enriching experience!

Knowing her heart for international ministry, the teachers and community poured into her every day. Her missional calling continued to be invested in through discipleship. During her year in Florida, the Encompass Mobilization team stayed connected with her and continued to serve as a guide on her journey.

Halfway through her time at GCBI, a chance to serve with the Northstar Alpine Lodge ministry in Japan came up. The Encompass Mobilization team presented the opportunity to Abby knowing she had some interest in Japan. By May 2015, she was joyfully boarding a plane for a six-month internship to help with the daily operations of the Lodge.

The Christian community in Japan mentored Abby and helped her understand her calling even more.

As she saw the heartbreaking spiritual blindness of the country, her heart was filled with empathy for the Japanese people. At the end of her time, Abby returned to the States with a heavy burden for them and a desire to someday return.

To that end, Abby hopes to go back to Japan with a business degree. This summer, she is leading a small group of people from her church to Northstar hoping that others will bring back the same burden she has for the Japanese people.