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Gradually Unveiling the Call to Go

There are times when God’s call comes like a bolt of lightning, but more often, it is a gradual unveiling. Manuel Olivas had been interested in missions ever since he was a kid, but his wife, Rochelle, didn’t share his interest until this past year. Was this new curiosity God’s leading? And if so, where was he calling them?

The Olivases’ church connected them with Encompass mobilizer Harris*, who helped them explore their personal call to missions. Manuel says, “Harris is always there when we have questions and responds quickly when we need it.”

The Olivases initially thought about going to Mexico to help build homes, but one night they heard about the need for gospel witness in Japan, and their hearts were stirred. Manuel says, “God revealed to me that they need the gospel just as much as anywhere else and that they are spiritually starving.”

Whether in general conversation or in random things like books and TV shows, the topic of Japan kept surfacing. “We knew God was trying to get our attention, and I even lost my job so that I could be still and hear Him speak these things to me,” says Manuel. When he discovered that what Japan needed was teachers – the profession he had already been working in – he knew this was God’s plan for them.

Two books have been instrumental in the process of pursuing God’s call. The first is the Bible, to which the Olivases turn daily for God’s wisdom. The second is Discerning Your Calling by John Ward. Manuel says this book would help “anyone who is looking to serve in any capacity, whether locally or internationally. This is an excellent book that guides you step by step in discovering your specific calling to missions, and is a must read as soon as you start to feel the call to ministry.”

Here are some of the lessons Manuel and Rochelle have gleaned from the book and the experience of following God’s leading:

  • Don’t rush the process, but take every step as a learning lesson from God.
  • Continue ministering and growing where you are…God is using this time to nurture you into the person he needs you to be before you get onto the mission field. If you can’t do it at home, how are you going to be able to do it when you feel so far from home?
  • The more prepared you are before you go, the more effective you will be when you get to your destination.
  • Build a community of people to support you. You need the body of Christ to lift you up when you are weary.

Above all, Manuel says, “Trust the Lord to guide your steps. Follow his instructions and his timing. He has a plan for your life, so open yourself up to his wisdom and seek his voice.”

Do you wonder if God might be calling you into missions work? If so, take Manuel’s advice and pick up a copy of Discerning Your Calling. There you will find…

  • Biblical teaching and insight about the question of calling;
  • Practical advice to address the barriers you might face;
  • Stories of others who have been called;
  • Next steps to discover God’s plan for your life.

Visit PathSeries.com to purchase Discerning Your Calling and other titles in The Path series.

*Names changed for security reasons.