Ever since I announced I was going to Nigeria I’ve experienced two things. One, lots of questions!! Two, kind-hearted misunderstandings of who I am and what I’m really about. So, I wanted to take advantage of the Midwest Winter Death Storm of 2014 to answer those Frequently Asked Questions and to try to explain myself and my story as best I can. I’m all about good communication so my hope for the post is to answer your questions as best I can and let you see a little bit more of me in a true and honest light! Here goes!
When did you realize you were being called into missions?
As most of you know I am the child of a super weird, oddly funny, very kind, incredibly loving, a little eccentric and tremendously hard-working Pastor. (No one try to debate these facts because they are, in fact, facts!) Growing up in a minister’s home I saw the pros and cons of being in full-time ministry. So, for many, MANY years I literally rebuked the idea of missions, in Jesus name! (I still think God laughed every time I said it!) But almost 2 years ago, while living with and caring for a precious family member, the Lord really started working on my heart and molding for a passion in missions. It all started when a kind, compassionate, loving, intelligent, hard-working, old farmer named Paul, whom I called Grandpa, asked me what I planned to do when he went to be with Jesus. At the time, I had no answer for him. Sure I had ideas about what I COULD do with my life but I didn’t know what I SHOULD do. So I began a time of intentional prayer- asking the Lord what HE wanted me to do next. My grandfather’s push for answers forced me to pursue God’s calling on my life. One day I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a young, single, female missionary living in Uganda, raising 14 children, saying, “Yes!” to Jesus everyday. Immediately I felt the Lord say to me, “That’ll be you one day.” I wish I could say I jumped from my chair with a smile on my face and determination in my heart. But that is not what happened. Instead, I said, “Oh heck, no!” (I can be a major brat sometimes, y’all). But because of the Lord’s great love for His children, for me, and His unending patience, grace and kindness, He continued to pursue me and melt my heart for missions. One night I had reached the end of my rope and found myself on my knees praying to God in desperation for an answer. I was Samuel saying, “What, Lord?! Your servant is listening!” (Am I the only one who thinks Samuel had to have been frustrated that night?! I mean, come on, wouldn’t you be frustrated if you were woken multiples times in the middle of the night to a voice you couldn’t find? I’ll admit I would! And I was.) But, again, God found mercy on this sinner’s heart. That night, as I prayed in desperation for direction, for purpose, for meaning, God slowed everything to a halt. He calmed my heartbeat. He quieted my mind. And He spoke a solid truth in my soul as He told me, “Megan, the desires you have in your heart to see the world, to make a difference and to be remembered as Mine are not your desires, but the seeds of My plan for you I planted long ago.” While that should’ve freaked me the heck out, it didn’t. Somehow His words gave me the courage to ask the question I had been hiding for weeks. “Lord, am I to go to Africa?” And the answer I’ve been putting faith in for the past two years was, “Yes.”
Why did you say yes?
That’s easy. “Jesus doesn’t ask us to love the least of these. He demands it.” -Katie Davis
While I technically have a choice to say no, when I signed on to follow Christ, I signed away my “rights”. I signed on for a full and intimate relationship with Him, eternal life with Him and forgiveness only He can offer. But in return I willingly gave Him my life. So I don’t see it as saying “yes” to missions but instead, saying, “Yes, Lord. Anywhere. Anytime. Anything.” This time, “yes” has led me to Nigeria.
I have always had a love for Africa. Even though I wanted nothing to do with missions or ministry as I teenager, I loved to read about Africa and learn about the atrocities that people were encountering all over the continent. I think I felt that if I at least knew about the horrors that war and HIV had done over there, change could start to happen. So when God called me into missions, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Africa was where He wanted me. At the beginning, I thought He wanted me involved in direct HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment ministry, and while that’s still near and dear to my heart, I now see how God used that passion to lead me further into His Will of women’s ministry. While I am BEYOND excited to be serving in Nigeria, it is not the country itself that brings me there, but the ministry I have been invited to work with. Grace Gardens is a place of love. A safe haven for ladies who have never heard how precious they are to our Father. It’s a ministry I’m all about. I’m about the Gospel. I’m about the heart of a woman. I’m about emotional healing in Jesus Christ. I’m about friendship and discipleship. I’m about building up women’s ministry. I’m about speaking truth into the Western and Eastern Church. I’m about showing the world who women are, why they were created and why they are vital to the Kingdom. I’m about the work of my Father and I believe Grace Gardens is, too.
What about your health? Your diet?
Almost every one I have spoken with has asked me this question. First let me thank you for your concern. I know this question comes from a place of love. Second, let me apologize for my possible frankness in the past. This is a hard question for me to answer sometimes since it has the potential to damper my zeal. The good news is I am as healthy as I have ever been! The past three years I have taken major steps in my life to accomplish healing in many areas and because of God’s grace and purpose, I have been granted that. My diet is very strict but from what I can gather, there will be plenty of food in Nigeria that I will be able to eat! And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to eat even more over there since there is zero genetically modified ingredients in Africa! I might do a fancy-dancy dance if I can eat real bread again! I am being as smart as I can about my health, here and over there, and I trust that the Lord will take care of me no matter the circumstances. He is good whether I feel good or not.
What does your family think about this?
I have a pretty cool family, y’all. Even though my parents, brother and future sister-in-law are admittedly terrified, they are incredibly supportive. I’ve seen them live out a piece of the gospel by balancing joy and sorrow at the same time. (Hebrews 12:2)
Who pays for your trip(s)?
As a missionary with SIM I plan to be fully supported by people and churches who have committed to joining my team as either financial partners or prayer warriors. Going to Grace Gardens is a team effort. It is something I cannot do alone. That’s why I am currently seeking people, churches, organizations, and the like to partner with me to help proclaim the gospel in Jos, Nigeria!
Don’t you feel guilty living off of other people’s income?
Honest answer: No. Because I don’t see it that way. Just as I don’t think Paul the Apostle saw it that way when he was living off of support and the kindness of strangers. I do not feel as though I am taking friends’ and loved ones’ hard earned incomes to send me on a vacation to a warmer climate and I hope to express myself in a way where my supporters do not see it that way either. When someone makes a pledge to support me and the ministry I am called into, it is more than just providing for me financially. When you give to a missionary you are telling a child about Jesus. You are hugging a mother who just lost her only son to war. You are bandaging a man’s burns in an understaffed hospital. You are handing out Bibles in a closed, nearly forgotten country. You are praying healing over a a baby girl who has less than a day to live before AIDS wins. You are playing soccer with the kids in a nearby african village just to show the kids someone cares. You are teaching English to a old man who never had the time or money to go to school before. You are standing in a brothel in the heart of Jos, Nigeria telling a woman she is worth more than what her body can do. When you give to a missionary you are investing in hundreds of lives. Not because of the work that one missionary will do, but because of the work that God will do through the ripple of that one missionary, the ripple of your gift. But the truth is this: nothing can be done by that one missionary without the work of the Holy Spirit and the support of a solid backing team. So no, I do not feel bad being financially supported by other people. Those other people are the reason I, and other missionaries, can do the things we’ve been called to do. Supporting a missionary means joining a team of believers passionate about proclaiming the gospel to the nations. Does that sound like something I should feel bad about to you?
How long do you want to do this?
Right now I am committed to SIM for two years with the hope of becoming long-term. I plan to use these next two years to pursue what God wants and to listen to where God leads. But I do not enter into this light-heartedly. My prayer is to be obedient to the Lord no matter what His calling for me may be and no matter where.
Don’t you want to get married?
Nope. Never. That’s gross.
Just kidding! 🙂 Of course I do! Many people have seen this decision as a final conclusion for my future love life. I do not see it that way. God knows the desires of my heart and I trust Him with them completely. If it be in His plan for me to get married, then I will. If not, I will be content with a life lived with, and for, only Him. And maybe the five cats I’m destined to own!
Are you scared?
Terrified! Truthfully. But my trust in the Lord far outweighs my fear of this world. He is my Guide, my Protector, my Shield, my Provider and my Rock. He will not lead me where He cannot go Himself. In that and in Him I will place my trust.
How can I help?
In so many ways! I need people like YOU on my team! As I said before, the only way I can get to Nigeria is by having financial backers and prayer supporters! I need people on my team who believe in the truth of the Gospel and want to see it shared in all corners of the world. I need people who believe in the redeeming power of Christ and believe it can and should be spread like wildfire until every tribe and tongue has heard The Good News. Does this sound like you? Then let’s talk. Because you’re needed and there’s plenty of room for YOU in this adventure!
You’re giving up so much, don’t you think? What are you gaining?
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.“ Philippians 1:20-21
Simple answer: so much. I am gaining so much! I gain experience. I gain adventure. I gain knowledge. I gain friendships. I gain blessings. I gain hardships. I gain tears. I gain sorrows. I gain laughter. I gain trust. I gain love. I gain triumphs and wounds and scars and stories and victories. I gain, life. And I gain Christ.
My prayer is that by you reading this post I accomplished two things:
1) I was able to give a you a greater depiction of my heart and what I am all about.
2) God was glorified in every word.
Still have questions? Email me, call me, text me, Facebook me, tweet me, Instagram me!
I’m about questions.