“Who will go?” An “inadequate” student responds

Missionaries and students praying together

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)

If you’ve been around a Navigators or missions community for any length of time, you’ve heard conversations about world missions and making disciples. All too often I left those discussions feeling convicted but also completely inadequate to apply for a mission trip—let alone go.

Available to God for short-term missions

Going on a missions trip was something I had always desired to do, but I never felt ready. I didn’t feel equipped. I allowed fear to creep in, thinking I couldn’t defend my faith articulately or share the gospel clearly. I know I’m not the only one who’s been in that place. Feelings of inadequacy, however, do not negate the fact that we’re called to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

When I felt led to go to Puerto Rico, it wasn’t because I believed that I finally had it all together or that I had reached “peak spiritual maturity.” Rather, I was certain that when I made myself available to be used by God, he would do “abundantly” more with what little I had to offer Him (Ephesians 3:20).

Relying on God

The only qualifier God laid down was a willing and obedient heart, for me to respond to Jesus’ call to advance His Kingdom for His glory. God doesn’t expect perfection. That’s why He sent His Son to be the atonement for our sin, the very message I took!

When my team and I set foot in Puerto Rico, we expected God to use us. That doesn’t mean, however, that once we arrived we suddenly had it all figured out. We all came into the mission trip having struggled through difficult semesters academically, relationally, and spiritually. We realized our responsibility was to bring the gospel and we wondered if we could carry that weight throughout our time there. Our keen awareness of our weaknesses and brokenness allowed us to rely on the strength of the Lord rather than our own, as we went out to share the gospel and interact with Puerto Ricans.

Seeing God work overseas

During our time in Puerto Rico, my team and I surrendered our pride that had masked our weaknesses, our vision for how the trip should go, and our foolishness in striving to sustain ourselves in order to witness about our Savior. By doing that, we joined with Paul in saying, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

I shared my testimony, including my inadequacies, with some of my new Puerto Rican college student friends. A few days later, some of the students shared their testimonies with me and my team members. Our Puerto Rican friends said that my vulnerability led them to share their own story. That moment on the trip solidified God’s purpose in sending me to Puerto Rico, as I got to see the chains of shame and guilt lifted off my new friends and watch them walk in the victory of what Jesus Christ had done for them on the cross.

Have you doubted that you’re called? Do you believe that you’re unequipped for missions? Make yourself available to God and see how He will use your weakness to reveal His glory. All it takes is an open heart, willing spirit, and brokenness before Him to repeat the words of Isaiah: “Here I am. Send me!”

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