My daughter, Jana, has been on my heart. She is a missionary to Burundi, a small country in the heart of Africa. She was home on furlough for the past six weeks and left Saturday.
We noticed that at a very early age she was interested in the world. She taught herself the 50 states and locations on a map while she was in Kindergarten. When we went to the library, she always choose at least one book about another country. She was always interested in people of other cultures. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time on geography.
Another thing that’s important to missions minded children is serving, especially serving in the local church. Starting at around age 11 or 12, Jana served in the children’s ministry department of our church. She was a helper in the kindergarten class for a couple of years, stepped down for a short season, then began working in children’s church and eventually served on the children’s church worship team. Upon completion of high school, she began serving in the youth dept. and did that for a few years. When she turned 22, she stepped down from serving the youth because she felt that she had been in youth for 10 years and it was time to move on. She then served in the music ministry at our church singing in the choir.
Jana took her first missions trip to Mexico when she was 15. She liked it but wasn’t sold on missions. Two years later, at age 17, Jana went with our church youth group to Germany and God “called her to missions.” Her call was so strong that our youth pastor had to talk her into coming home.
Following her calling, she had to figure out where her place was in God’s grand scheme. She prayerfully went online and found Global Expeditions, a missions group where teens and young adults can sign up and take missions trips all over the world. She went on 5 trips with Global Expeditions and visited 8 countries. She went to New Zealand, Thailand/Cambodia (with a side trip to Myanmar and Laos) and Costa Rica. While she enjoyed these trips and God did move during her time in these countries, this was not where God wanted her. Then she went to Uganda in Africa and Africa stole her heart. She did go on one more trip to Panama and spent some time in the Jungle (which has helped her in Burundi). A friend told her about Burundi and after struggling and arguing with God, she answered the call and is now a teacher helping develop leaders in this wonderful country.