ou dont have to read much of On Mission to
discover one of our most important core beliefs: God wants every Christian to
be personally on mission with Him, delivering the gospel to the
Does that mean that every Christian is a missionary? Well, not exactly.
Some on mission Christians receive a special call from God to go from
where they are to places and people that God has prepared for them. Philip went
to Samaria and Gaza (Acts 8), Peter went to the
Gentile household of Cornelius (Acts 10), Paul and his partners went to places
and people now chronicled as the names of many New Testament books (Acts
13-28). Names like William Carey, Adoniram Judson and Lottie Moon bring to mind
more contemporary missionaries called to specific places and
So does that mean you have to cross an ocean or speak a different
language to be a missionary? Again, not exactly. Take for example the eight
modern-day missionaries profiled here. Their unique giftedness and preparation
now help them get past the barriers that have kept people in their mission
field from hearing the good news about Jesus.
These missionaries are representative of the 5,025 who have been
appointed by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to places of service in
the United States, Canada and their territories. During a special Week
of Prayer for North American missions March 5-12 thousands of churches and
literally millions of Christians will pray for these eight and for
theon mission cause of sharing the gospel throughout
We invite you, too, to be their partners in prayer.
When a woman is black and blue from physical abuse,
doesnt have a job, cant pay her rent, is responsible for a 2-year-old child and
may be pregnant with another, its hard for her to see that God has a plan and
purpose for her life.
Yet thats precisely the objective of North American Missionary Sheila
Mitchell and DaySpring Villa, a Baptist womens shelter in Sand Springs,
"The first goal of our shelter is for women to meet Jesus and follow Him,"
said Sheila, director of the center.
In its 20-year history, the shelter has seen approximately 10,000 women and
children come through its doors. Of that number, nearly 900 have accepted Jesus
as their Savior.
Sheila said about half of the women who come to the shelter have been
"For some women, everything is hopeless," she
noted. "We teach them that not only is this a place of peace and security where
they can put their lives back together, but there is a permanent place of peace
and security in Heaven for those who trust in Jesus." The work has made Sheila
appreciate even more her own husband, Todd, and his relationship with
When a woman arrives at the shelter she selects her goals with the help of a
counselor. She may need a job or discipline with her spending habits. She may
want to establish a home, be a godly parent, break the cycle of physical abuse
or escape drug or alcohol addiction.
"One of the things we strive to do here is teach the women how to have a
home, what they need to do to get into a home, and to prepare themselves for
life," said Sheila.
She said some people have never been taught how to clean a room, a house or
even a child. So there are times the staff teaches basics that most people take
Sometimes learning to accept help is a hard lesson in itself.
Ginas mother, for example, died when Gina was 13 and her grandmother was an
alcoholic. So Gina learned to take care of herself, never asking anyone for
help. But when she and her two children were thrown out of the house by her
abusive husband, accepting help meant survival.
Six months after she came to the shelter, she had secured a job and saved
enough money to move into a small apartment. Not only is Gina better off in her
physical circumstances, but she accepted Jesus while living at the shelter.
"I wondered if I was one of those people who God had turned His back on,"
Gina said. "My husband and I had done so many things that I should have felt
guilty about, and I just didnt. So I thought I was so hardened that God had
Carol, a volunteer at DaySpring, said the shelter and her faith in God kept
her going when she found herself without a home, a car and everything she had
worked for. Now she volunteers because "its good for me to know that I am
helping someone else, and because I pray that out there somewhere, there is a
Christian man who is taking time to help my son."
Sheila says DaySpring Villa has a two-fold ministry: to minister to women
and children in crisis, but also to teach others to minister.
Anywhere from 75 to 150 volunteers work at the shelter each month, and the
house staff includes semester missionaries, Mission Service Corps volunteers
and US/C-2 missionaries.
"If you want experiences in ministry, come to DaySpring Villa, because we
are dealing with the lives of people who are hurting," said Sheila. "If we dont
teach those who come behind us how to minister, then who will be our
missionaries 20 years from now?"
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC