Disciple Making

She Will Never Be The Same


Anaya’s overwhelmed breathing subsided and was replaced with peaceful inhales and exhales. Her entire demeanor changed. Ellie saw a calm come over her friend as Anaya took a moment with her eyes closed, soaking it all in. Anaya described how Jesus was reaching for her. Her life was changed forever.*

Ellie lives in the Middle East. She recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of living in her new home and praises God’s provision of relationships and opportunities to share the Gospel in such a short time. One such connection is with Anaya, a woman who is from another Middle Eastern country but was living in Ellie’s city for work. The pair began spending time together in a bigger group of women who regularly meet up to make new friends in the city and do fun activities.

Many women in the group, including Anaya, have expressed to Ellie their unique experiences of encountering either Christianity or Jesus himself. “Each girl is from somewhere different in an unreached people group,” Ellie shared. “What a gift to walk alongside them in friendship and point in them in the direction of what their heart is unknowingly longing for!”

Ellie shared that one girl had a dream of Jesus when she was 9 years old but didn’t realize who he was until Ellie’s teammate showed her evidence in the Bible. Another woman learned about Jesus in the past while she lived in the States for a time with believers and seems to be open to learning more. Ellie asked a different woman in the group if she felt like she was in right relationship with God, or if she felt stuck in brokenness and she responded with, “I feel like I am always trying to live up to something and to be good, but I still feel lost.”

In the last year, Anaya lost her job and was unable to find another in their city. Shortly after she formed a friendship with Ellie, she was informed that she would have to return to her home country as she was unable to obtain a work visa. Anaya struggled with fear, anxiety and paranoia from the stress of her circumstances as well as relational hurts she carries from her past.

Two days before she was supposed to leave the country, she was overwhelmed from the demands of packing for her return. Ellie and one of Ellie’s Christian friends invited Anaya to store some of her belongings at Ellie’s apartment. Anaya accepted the invitation and arrived at her apartment, filled with worry and anxiety.

Ellie and her friend invited Anaya to stay for coffee and before she needed to leave, the girls asked to pray over her. After they laid hands on their friend, they prayed and repeated the Gospel to her. They asked God to reveal himself to Anya and they rebuked the enemy in Jesus’ name over Anaya’s pain and fear.

Anya wept as the two women prayed. They knew God was moving in Anaya’s life. They told her how it says in scripture, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  

Through tears, Anaya said she believed! Ellie and her friend were overjoyed! They were amazed to see how God was moving right in front of them. Ellie asked Anaya what she was thinking and feeling in that moment.

Her breathing calmed, and she responded, “I see Jesus coming towards me like a light. I see him putting his hand on my head like he is protecting me … I feel like he is hugging me … I feel so light … I feel like all of the weight on my shoulders has been lifted and that I never have to worry again - that everything is going to be okay because of him.”

Ellie shared that it was a moment when God reminded her of his control, “That he gives us the gift of being a part of watering the seed, but that God does all the growth. I could have never convinced her to follow Jesus, it was all God.”

Anaya had to return to her home country two days later. Ellie and her friend will reach out and find a community there who will disciple and care for Anaya. They ask for prayer over this new sister in Christ and her growth as she steps into her new life. Praise and honor be to the one who uses us as instruments for his purposes. How gracious he is for using Ellie at the perfect time, bringing her through one year of life in this place just like he brought Anaya, so that in his time, another sister would hear, believe and know his immense love for her.

*All names changed for security

Faithfulness in Singleness


It’s a question she continues to wrestle with as she strives for contentment in a phase of life that remains uncertain – “Will I still be single in the next few years?”

Living in her new African home with her team was merely a dream and prayer for Mary* a little more than a year ago. Now, two months after her arrival, she can look back at the long and exhausting journey that brought her to this point in her ministry. It took years of praying, seeking the Lord’s open doors, training, and waiting.

However, as her new normal begins to settle and daily routines slowly but surely become reality, a restlessness seeks to consume her thoughts in quiet moments.

While Mary hopes to be married, her first desire is to obey the Lord’s leading whenever he tells her to move. This meant that instead of waiting in the comfort of her own culture and language, she remains hopeful while wading through the difficulties of preparing for long-term ministry. “I think that’s something the Lord is teaching me to place in his hands. I’m prayerfully waiting on it,” Mary said. “It has remained consistently the thing that causes anxiety, worry, fear.”

The concern for what’s next and balancing our desires with seeking the Lord’s will has been the struggle of every age and every stage of life. It’s a human pain caused by anticipating something while trying to hold loosely the gifts that may never come – Abraham and Sarah waited for a child and didn’t expect it by the time the Lord blessed them with one (Genesis 18). Jacob waited seven years for Rachel, then worked another seven years to earn her (Genesis 29). Simeon was promised an introduction to the Lord’s Messiah before his death but waited several years before Mary and Joseph walked with baby Jesus into the temple (Luke 2).

While every desire and each persons’ ‘wait’ is different and to be considered from an individual perspective, there are a few things that hold true for everyone who understands what it means to hopefully wait on the Lord.

Your feelings are true, real and valid and the Lord wants to meet you there.

The Psalms overflow with lines of lament, confusion, mourning and questions for direction. We can resonate with brothers and sisters whose stories in scripture reveal similar hurts from patiently waiting.

“I do think the Lord has really met me,” Mary said. “I think in all of that, I have experienced his comfort and his grace. I think I’ve experienced extra measures of his grace through teammates, people from home, and locals.”

There are things you can do in this season you cannot if you get what you asked for.

Whether it be in ministry, your personal circumstances or any area of influence in your life, when the Lord says “yes” to what you have been asking for, things will change forever. Specifically in singleness and ministry, there are opportunities single men and women can take that are more difficult for those who are married. This is how these phases of life are intended and it is good but cherish the things that will change when that next phase comes.

There is purpose and intention in this waiting and it is never wasted.

While the Lord understands and empathizes with our hurts, desires and waiting, he is never surprised by our current position. However long or short it may be, the Lord is using the period of time his children sit in waiting to produce a trust, faithfulness and perseverance.

As Mary contemplates the ways in which God prepared her to be in this place and she peers into the near future when she will see him transform lives with the Gospel, she points to his faithfulness and provision.

“Above all, I am a beloved child of God. That’s what my identity is rooted in,” Mary said. “It’s a privilege and honor to serve with the lost here … Our Father is the one who provides and sustains. To cultivate faithfulness doesn’t come naturally to us as human beings. I think that’s something I’ve been encouraged in. Whatever that ends up looking like, I’m going to strive to cultivate faithfulness.”

*Name changed for security

Two Ends of a Rope

You wake up, brush your teeth, make your breakfast and drive off to work. After you work through the day, you drive home. Then, dinner, plans with friends and family or you may head to bed. The next day, it starts all over again – sound familiar?

In the mundane and routine parts of life, how are we as Christians to keep the Great Commission in perspective?

Patrick and Katie Mullen met at a Bible study through a mutual friend. She said at the time, she wasn’t looking to date anyone, but she caught Patrick’s eye and he said after much persistence, they went out, fell in love and were married soon after.

Katie is a kindergarten teacher. She knew from the time she was young that she would work in education. Patrick works as a construction scheduler, which means when contractors have big projects, they turn to his business to plan out the finite details and logistics so that it gets done on time. Now, the two live in Orange county with their newborn son, Jackson.

Both Patrick and Katie understood their commitment as Christians includes the command to make disciples and to share the love of Christ with others. However, in their first years of marriage, they wondered how they might do more to influence the Kingdom of God with what they had been given. Specifically, how could they be a part of reaching the unreached peoples of the world if they themselves did not feel called to move out of the United States?

“I’ve never had the desire to be an overseas missionary,” Katie said. “I had struggled with understanding where I fit into the Great Commission. I was pretty sure [overseas missions] wasn’t my calling.”

Patrick added that they both work hard throughout the week and can feel like they walk into a repetitious cycle that is mundane or tedious.

Jack and Laura live in the Middle East.*

Both are in their second year of intensive language study. When they are not walking through their city or trying to foster new relationships, they stay home with their one-year-old daughter. Both of their passions involve serving the people of the city in which they now live.  

Originally from Wyoming, Jack and Laura have wrestled with difficult transitions. Laura sometimes struggles being in their new home when she is still trying to learn the language and make friends. Some days, she must watch their daughter without any other pressing obligations or plans and it wears on her motivation.

“It’s hard remembering you do have a purpose when the day is menial or tedious,” she said.

In a land 7,123 miles from the Mullens, the question remains the same: “How will we effect the Kingdom of God in our everyday life?” For Laura, she said she resolves that in the rhythmic tasks of the week she will worship and bring glory to God by singing her daughter to sleep, by studying language and by walking around outside to familiarize herself with her city.

Back in Costa Mesa, California, Patrick and Katie were introduced to The GO Fund as a way to purposefully engage in unreached missions.

“It helped me to realize a piece of God’s plan for my life,” Katie said. “This gave me a tangible way to be a part of participating in the Great Commission.”

In a land 7,123 miles from the Mullens, the question remains the same: How will we effect the Kingdom of God in our everyday life?

Patrick added that knowing his efforts at work ultimately lead to the support and urging of those who are called to move from this country is what gives him motivation. “It gives legitimacy to what we do on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

It’s the answer to a question asked on two sides of the globe: No Christian is more influential than the other regarding the Great Commission. All in the Kingdom of God are equally responsible to see it completed, but uniquely gifted to effect it in different ways. It is as if the Mullens are holding the top of a rope for families like Jack’s, who are at the bottom, descending into the dark unknown. It is a beautiful partnership, one only the King could envision.  

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15 NIV

This is the point of being a Champion. It is giving of yourself through your talents, your time or your treasure so that ultimately, someone who has never heard the name of Jesus or the truth of his Gospel in the Middle East will know who he is and what he has done. We all effect the Kingdom. The only remaining question: In what way will you choose to do so?

*Names have been changed for security 

Patrick and Katie Mullen live in Orange County, CA. Their faithful commitment to their God, work, and family is a beautiful representation of all of our responsibility to the Great Commission.

Patrick and Katie Mullen live in Orange County, CA. Their faithful commitment to their God, work, and family is a beautiful representation of all of our responsibility to the Great Commission.

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