When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong

This article by Liz J. was originally published in the March 2010 issue. I thought I’d repost it here today to encourage you!

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I was completely terrified.  With every step I took, I dreaded more the task in front of me.  It was a hot day in Uganda, and I was at a high school, getting ready to share my faith for the first time.  And I would rather be anywhere else.
Many people think that missionary kids are born with evangelistic instincts.  They assume ministry is in our blood, and wherever we go, we are shouting the gospel to the world.  Honestly, being an MK doesn’t make those things natural.  In fact, when I went to share the gospel for the first time in Uganda, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum- completely terrified.  Yet through the experiences I have had as a missionary kid, I have seen God work in me and teach me that sharing the gospel not only isn’t hard, but is one of the most rewarding experiences of life.
Growing up with parents who were missionaries, I had seen my parents evangelize many times.  I always wondered how they did it so boldly, and I thought about amazing it would be to lead someone to Christ.  But the thought of approaching someone to tell them about Jesus was probably the scariest thing I could think of.  So I kept my distance, wondering if I would ever have the courage in the future.  I felt guilty sometimes, because as an MK I felt obligated to stuff my pockets with 4 laws and continually be looking for someone to convert.
Then, as a 15-year-old, I went on my first missions trip to Uganda.  I remember sitting through the evangelism training, praying I would never have to do the things they were talking about.  The day finally came, however, to meet Ugandan students at their lunch time and make conversation in an attempt to talk to them about Christ.  We went in groups, and I fearfully held back, letting the others do the talking.  

We approached a group of Ugandan girls sitting on the grass.  “Hey, how are you?”  We introduced ourselves.  Then we asked them how old they were, how they liked school, about their families, hobbies, and finally, their beliefs about God.  They were open and excited to talk to us.

As the day went on, I realized we were essentially doing the thing I loved most: meeting new people, talking, and sharing the most important parts of our lives.  My fears melted.  The people we talked to loved the tracts we gave them, and many of them prayed with us.  God had changed my heart 180 degrees in one day.

Leaving Uganda, all I wanted to do was tell others about God.  As I traveled, I was able to share Christ with several people I met.  Yet my passion faded.  I began school, and as the year went on, the opportunities to evangelize decreased.  I joined the outreach team at school, but evangelism was not part of our ministry.  I was at a loss and felt as though my passion had been snuffed out.

The next year, my junior year, a chapel speaker challenged us to pray big prayers that seemed impossible to us, because God is bigger than we can imagine.  So I began to pray that God would use my school, ICSB, to bring the gospel to Europe.  I knew God could do it, but for some reason I doubted anything would happen.

That next summer, about a dozen MKs from ICSB went on the MK2MK mission trip to Mexico.  We were really affected by an evangelistic drama we performed there, and thought it would be cool to do the drama for the students back at school.  We performed the drama followed by an invitation to learn it, and through God’s work almost half our high school showed up at the training!  We were able to send teams out the next weekend to perform on the streets of Budapest, along with many other students approaching people on the streets to share with them about what the drama means and God’s great love for them.  I was amazed as I looked around and saw students from my school sharing with people from Norway, Germany, Poland, and even places in Asia and the U.S. God had bigger plans than I did!

God used my great fear of evangelism and transformed it to fulfill his big purposes.  He was truly strong in my weaknesses.  I am so glad God used me, a Budapest missionary kid terrified to do missions work, for his purpose and plan.  God takes our biggest struggles and fears and uses them to change the world for Him.

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