Would these words strike fear into your heart? When my daughter, Becca, said this to me around the age of 16 it was actually confirmation of what I already ‘knew’. Since she was about four, I had felt a firm and growing understanding that God would eventually call Becca to the mission field. I have been so grateful for this insight into his plan for Becca’s life. I knew that where God calls, he also equips and it was a relief to be able to leave it all in his capable hands.
Train up a child
Not wanting to pre-empt the Lord’s call I did not share with Becca what I ‘knew’. She had to hear it herself and not ‘second-hand’ from me. As the church missionary secretary I had some experience of working with missionaries and I was determined that Becca should not have the stereotypical romantic view of mission. I knew it was rarely heroic and always involved a life of sacrifice, commitment and hard work and that it was a life woven through with joy and refreshing from the Lord. I encouraged her to get involved in writing to missionaries and to follow their prayer letters. I watched her interest in mission grow and fuelled that interest as much as I was able.
So the time came when Becca heard and responded to the call. I was both relieved and apprehensive. In spite of the forewarning, I still felt it tug at my heart strings. What parent wouldn’t? I had read stories of hardship, deprivation, persecution and even martyrdom amongst missionaries from different parts of the world – and here was my own daughter set to go to ‘darkest’ Africa! I remember reading an article at about that time which said ‘You are immortal until your work for the Lord is done’. What an encouragement! I quote that regularly to myself now when I feel anxious. I know that Becca is hedged around by Omnipotence and Omniscience. It is so comforting to know that she is right in the centre of God’s will. That is the only safe place to be. He knows what is ahead and will be there with her in every situation.
Losing a daughter
When it was time for Becca to set off for Uganda – I can’t tell a lie – there were mixed emotions. I felt elated at the thought of this new adventure for her but of course there was sadness also. There have been many challenges since then. The first time she referred to Uganda as ‘home’ was hard. Christmas Day and birthdays are poignant times – but actually there are so many encouragements. I didn’t so much lose a daughter as gain a whole community! In 2011 I had the privilege of visiting Kiwoko hospital, where Becca works, and was so overwhelmed by their warmth and friendliness. No wonder Becca calls it home! I was able to see how Becca interacted with people there, visualise where she was living and understand her prayer needs and the needs of the wider community.
Support your local missionary
It is important for every missionary to have a local church behind them, praying for them, supporting them financially and writing to encourage them so they don’t feel forgotten. Becca has received all this and more from her sending church, St Mellons Baptist Church in Cardiff. We try to do the same in our church for the missionaries we have pledged to support. We are all still learning but the message coming through is loud and clear. This is God’s work and he will build his church. What an honour to obey him in any way and wherever, he calls us to serve.