I remember praying for missionaries on Wednesday nights when I was a GA. Our Girls in Action leader would make a food or beverage filled with foreign spices and strange new ingredients. We looked at a map of the world to find the corresponding country where missionaries served, and we learned about the peoples and cultures they were trying to reach with the gospel.
Some of the best memories I have are from that little classroom in the basement of our small church. We memorized Scripture, studied places like France, Zimbabwe, Japan, and Ecuador, and prayed for both the people serving in those countries and for those with whom they were sharing the good news of Christ.
It all seemed so simple to me as a child. We have been told the story of Christ and his love for us. There are those who don’t know and haven’t been told. We must go and tell them. That is our purpose.
Through the years, my understanding of missions expanded. The Lord revealed it is not only for the sake of others that we go and share his name. It’s for his glory and our sanctification.
“The Lord revealed it is not only for the sake of others that we go and share his name. It’s for his glory and our sanctification.”
During my college years, I had the opportunity to intern at National Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), the very place where the Girls in Action curriculum was developed. After college, I was offered a full-time job as a copyeditor for their adult missions magazine, Missions Mosaic.
I read countless missionary stories, prayed for missionaries on their birthday using WMU’s prayer calendar, and learned ways to share the gospel in my community and around the world. I often found myself in prayer for these peoples and missionaries. I cried for their struggles, laughed over their stories, and praised the Lord for what he was doing through them.
Trickle-Down Effect of Missions Education
When you pray for missions, learn about missions, support missions, develop a missional lifestyle, and participate in the work of the church, you cannot help but desire to know Christ more, share him with others, and serve the world. These are the core values of WMU—the core values instilled in me as a GA and that were continuously poured into me during my time at WMU.
After three years of reading those mission stories, the Lord called my husband and me to go overseas. We served in South Asia and were supported by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the very offering for which, as a GA, I helped raise funds. Although we were led back to the States to mobilize the church for missions, our heart for unreached peoples has not diminished. Now I have the honor of working for the WMU Foundation where we support those taking the gospel to all nations.
The very aspects of missions I learned as a GA and from my work with WMU are the core, foundational missions values I now want to instill in my daughters and other women.
We have to set aside comfort for the sake of others in order to share the gospel.
We recently took our almost-two-year-old to South Asia and Southeast Asia for two weeks with our church family. She provided ways for us to share the gospel with other families, helped our youth and college girls lead worship with refugees, and she endured countless Asians touching and pinching her face for the sake of God’s glory.
Praying for the nations is part of the overall mission.
Each morning, our family uses IMB’s Prayer Points to guide us as we pray for unreached peoples and the missionaries working among them. This keeps us connected to the work the Lord is doing around the world.
All believers have a role in God’s mission.
My husband and I pray that one day our girls will find themselves in a right relationship with their Creator and know their purpose is to glorify God by making disciples of all nations. Through missions education, they can grow up consistently hearing about God’s love for his people, his redemptive plan for us, and how we are significantly involved in this mission to glorify God.
Growing up with missions education changed my worldview, taught me the grand narrative of the Scriptures. I learned to pray for missionaries and unreached peoples. I was taught why it’s important to give and support those who are going through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. And the foundation for my life was laid—that God has a plan and purpose to use me for his glory.
Bekah Rivers is a mom to a toddler girl and a growing baby. She’s a pastor’s wife and an advocate for all believers to be on mission.