A few years ago I sat around a campfire in the desert of Northern Kenya with leaders wishing to recruit missionaries to reach nomads. They were having a lively discussion about what qualities are needed to work with nomads. What do the best recruits look like? Nomads live in the harshest environments in the world. They survive by sheer determination and beautiful resilience in the midst of great physical challenges. With this in mind, these leaders formed an image of the "ideal" candidate...young, flexible, healthy, independent, adventurous, resourceful...and the list goes on.
I sat listening to this conversation and chuckling to myself. Why? Because God called me and I am none of these things! I am a normal housewife with little desire to travel, a dislike of the unfamiliar, and fragile health. Yet in 12 years working with our people group, we saw a tremendous move of God and the planting of a church. I am so blessed to have stories of gathering with women and sharing the story of "God's greatest gift" for the first time. I have the privilege of developing vision for reaching the women through health teachings. My family is adopted by a clan leader and members of a nomad family...a camel-herding, desert-dwelling, machete-carrying family! Many times as we travelled into the desert or slept in a tent surrounded by huts, I thought "How on earth did I get here?!"
We lived in the capital and maintained a fairly normal lifestyle, for the sake of our children and my health but that did not eliminate us from God's plan for our people. See, I chuckled listening to these men create the "super nomad missionary" because what I know is that all that God needs is willingness and obedience. I know that God can use anyone to build His kingdom. I know that God can work with all of our limitations, insecurities and weaknesses because it is not about us at all. I know that there are people living and dying without hearing the Gospel and I can have a part in remedying that.
So many people think that they are not made of the "right stuff" to be a missionary. If that is the excuse stopping you from jumping into fulfilling His calling on your life, let me reassure you. The "right stuff" is simply listening to that call and being willing to step by step walk toward it, and being obedient to whatever He asks. And then watch God move.