Goat Farming was My Method of Entry into a Limitless Missionary Force

I often stand in awe at the creativity of God, from his plan of sending Jesus as a baby to how he uses each of us in his plan to carry out the Great Commission. If you have ever wondered whether God has a plan for your life, I can relate. Perhaps, you’ve wondered if maybe God wants you to serve him as a missionary, or whether you might fit into the “limitless” vision of the International Mission Board.

My husband and I walked that path of uncertainty together a few years ago as we considered where and how God wanted us to join him in his work. It was not an easy decision, and it was bathed in much prayer and tears. As it has fleshed out, the rewards have been tremendous. Let me back up and give you a little of our story . . .

Living the American Dream

My husband and I were living what we considered to be the American Dream. We lived on a large farm where my husband and his family farmed crops, cattle, and pigs. I had a successful veterinary practice on the farm with some of the best clients and teammates anyone could ask for. But that’s not where we were meant to stay. God was calling us—albeit ten years apart—to go to the mission field. It was a challenging period of time during which God did a tremendous amount of work in my life.

As a person very driven by my passions, veterinary medicine consumed my life. It was tough for my relationship with Christ to grow when my priorities were out of order. I needed to learn that sometimes God asks us to set aside the things that we are passionate about in order to show us something far greater. In a way, this process of dying to self can be painful and uncomfortable but, in the end, reaps great benefits.

Waking up to Reality

God used a series of events to draw me closer to him. As he did, I became more aware of the great need for people to take the gospel message to the nations. I could no longer use my “perfect life” as an excuse to run from his direct command to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20 NIV).

Today, After Eighteen Months on the Field . . .

I have recently been both amazed and inspired by Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV). I am experiencing this firsthand. I have discovered that God gives me new desires that align with his desires, and he also fulfills my personal desires in unexpected ways.

God doesn’t waste anything.
He orchestrated my education, passions, and experiences to equip me for a unique place in his plan.

First, as I spend time delighting in him, I become more like him, and my desires follow his desires. When I want the same things that he does, he delights in giving them to me. I have discovered that abiding with him leads to delighting in him, craving time with him, and recognizing where he is at work. His desires become my desires.

Second, he seems to delight in fulfilling my personal desires in unexpected ways. God doesn’t waste anything. He orchestrated my education, passions, and life experiences to equip me for a unique place in his plan. He now uses all of that in a more exceptional way than I could have ever imagined.

During those years when my husband patiently waited for God to work in my life, God gave us life experiences that developed wisdom, skills, and opportunities that we would later share with others. We had no idea how God would use the personal growth that occurred during that time. But now, looking back over the past year and a half on the field, we are catching glimpses of how he is using those experiences.

God Uses Our Desires, Passions, and Skills

When I came to South Asia, I was willing to lay aside my passion for veterinary medicine because God had given me new passions and desires. But, because he knows my heart and doesn’t waste anything, he put me in a place where I can also use my veterinary skills. I am even growing and developing new skills while keeping my focus on sharing the gospel and making disciples.

In his sovereignty, God orchestrated a way to incorporate his desire to see Matthew 28:18–20 fulfilled with a local believing businessman’s desire to start a goat dairy. The details are extensive but, suffice it to say, the thumbprint of God is all over it.

I usually spend five days a month on the farm teaching, training, and practicing veterinary medicine. In the evenings, I focus on developing relationships, practicing language, eating with, discipling, and learning from nationals. Our work opens doors to farmers and suppliers, to staff members who work with us, and to the greater community whose lives are impacted by our work. I could never have imagined that running a goat dairy and practicing veterinary medicine would allow me to have such a unique entry point with people.

We didn’t have to know ahead of time what the details would look like. We just had to make ourselves available and follow God.

“Limitless” Means I Am Free to Be the Missionary God Uniquely Made Me to Be

That’s the vision—empowering limitless missionary teams who are evangelizing, discipling, planting, and multiplying healthy churches, and training leaders among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.

“Limitless” breaks down borders to traditional methods and utilizes creativity. In our case, we found that we didn’t have to know ahead of time what that would look like. We just had to make ourselves available and follow God as he worked out all the details in the unique way he had orchestrated.

Rebecca Garrett serves in South Asia with her husband and two children. She is wading her way through homeschooling for the first time and loves living in a huge city.

For more information on current opportunities to utilize your professional skills for global missions, check out the professional opportunities page.