Shane Mikeska’s original calling and plane ticket didn’t land him in London—a tropical illness did. “It definitely wasn’t part of our plan,” he assured. “My wife, Lindsay, and I started out in Southeast Asia on an agricultural farm. We loved the people, and we loved the language. But long story short, I got sick.”
He needed to be in a place with a colder climate, and after much deliberation, it looked like England was the place. So the couple moved, and the difference was stark. It wasn’t just the climate that was cold; Shane said the people seemed cold toward faith, and the pace of life in England’s cities felt chaotic and hard to engage.
“I grabbed every book I could find on the people of England, and I started going to pubs, campuses, everywhere to try to get to know our neighbors,” he said. “God began to stir in us a love for the people here.” And He began to open their eyes more and more to the tremendous missions field they had been placed in.
“We have the world at our fingertips,” Shane announced. “We have an amazing capacity to be senders to the world.” London, the city the Mikeskas call home, has 300 spoken languages spread across hundreds of people groups from around the globe. It holds 48 universities, with a quarter of that student population coming from other countries.
“We come in contact here all the time with people who haven’t heard of Jesus,” Shane says. Because of the vast opportunity and size of the task, the Mikeskas have teamed up with other IMB missionaries to divide the city up into (strategic) groups.
“Our group is the millennials,” Shane states. “London is a young people’s haven.”
The Mikeskas meet people for coffee, feed them meals, and try to create a sense of community for young internationals. And on a regular basis, they experience divine appointments, Lindsay reports.
“We met this guy from Singapore one night and got to talking, and we told him the name of the town we had lived in in Southeast Asia,” she said. “He told us he had a friend from the same town.” One night he brought his friend to meet the Mikeskas, and it turns out they had lived on the same street. She even knew the house they had lived in.
“She recalled, ‘I remember when new people moved in and painted it brown,’ and we said, ‘That was us,’ ” Lindsay said.
It was confirmation for the Mikeskas that their God is bigger than borders and tropical illnesses and everything else. He’s bringing the world to London from everywhere, Shane admits, including the city that captured their heart in Southeast Asia. “And He is doing great and amazing things here.”
- the Mikeskas to continue to make strategic friendships with internationals in order to impact unreached people groups in their city.
- God to put a desire in the hearts of new believers to take the gospel back to their countries.
Grace Thornton is the author of the book I Don’t Wait Anymore: Letting Go of Expectations and Grasping God’s Adventure for You. She writes for the International Mission Board, Baptist Press and other Southern Baptist ministries and blogs at gracefortheroad.com.