God Calls the Young

God calls early because children listen easily

In this feature, some of the MENAU staff share when they first sensed God’s call to serve Him. They grew up all over the world and were introduced to God’s work in different ways. The one similarity, though, is the noticeable pattern that God’s calling begins young.

         “I grew up in Madagascar in Catholic schools.  I had to share my beliefs from when I was very young, but I actually enjoyed explaining to the priest who taught our religion classes.   Right after my baptism our family moved to a small church where we were very active with Bible studies, passing out literature, having evangelistic meetings.  When I moved to Morocco at 19 I noticed there was no church, so I started something for the Adventists I met.   Morocco was very much a cross-cultural, a cross-faith experience for me.   I had no knowledge of the majority religion and how to relate to them.  I only had what I knew from the Bible.  So I shared.  In fact, Tsila my husband became an Adventist through our testimony on campus!”

 –Mioty, MENAU Staff

         “I grew up reading mission stories, lots of them!  I imagined the world as a place to go work for God.  I moved from that innocent exposure, though, into a comfortable, cultural Adventist doing my job in a large Adventist institution in a big city.  But following some big life changes, I received an unexpected invitation to serve as a volunteer teacher in Yap, a very slow-moving, rural island in the South Pacific.  It changed my life completely!  I went on to volunteer for seven years and got involved in teaching, nurturing, witnessing, and learning about God.  I finally returned to a corporate Adventist position, but by then I was a completely different person; while serving for those years God took my life and turned me around.”

                                                                                                         Pema, Treasury

         “I grew up in a village in Upper Egypt where my grandfather was well known as one of the first Adventist believers in Egypt.  Our family represented the roots of the Adventist Church in our region, so we saw it as our responsibility to carry on the work of the church.  I always was in school or had neighbors who were non-Adventists or non-Christians. I had to explain my beliefs all the time.  That meant meeting many misperceptions about my faith, and many negative reactions.   I realized very early who I was and how I had a responsibility to present what I believed.” 

 Amal, Women’s Ministry

        “I grew up in an Adventist environment; I remember hearing mission stories as a child. But I didn’t connect with any calling until returning from Saudi Arabia where my father had been employed. My Bible teacher at Auburn Academy told me that one day my cultural and language background would come in useful, that God would use it for His glory. I didn’t pay much attention, but the comment stayed in the back of my mind for years.

So it was natural to sign up for a short-term evangelistic trip to Honduras. And that experience lit my cross-cultural desire into a flame that nothing could ever quench. God used it and kept watering it until, as I was pastoring a congregation in Washington State, Marcia and I received an invitation to Sri Lanka, our first cross-cultural calling!”

  Rick, President

         “I’m a third generation Adventist.  My parents were not church workers, but they were very active in our local church.  When I went to college in the Philippines I followed their pattern and got involved in crusades and evangelistic meetings that took us to towns near our campus.   I canvassed four summers as well.  By the time I graduated and was hired by the church, Christian service had shaped  me.  I was an accountant in our Adventist hospital, but I saw our mission as the same as the church.  That helped me identify with the church more, and to be more involved even as a member.”  

 Joey, Treasury 

          “I grew up in an Adventist home; my parents were faithful church workers.  But when  I graduated from college with a business degree, I was determined to be a successful businessman. My plan was to start a tourism business and take groups of tourists all over Egypt. But God had other plans for me. He called me to start a radio ministry in Cyprus.  It was a new challenge for me, but we built it from scratch.  Ever since, from publishing to youth work to more broadcasting to AMR to anything He asks of me, I know the Lord’s calling.  I can testify, He is good.” 

 –Amir, Field Secretary

          “I grew up in Tennessee reading mission story books.  All of them.  Even back then I thought, “This is what I want to do!”  I was 14 when I went on my first short-term mission trip to Guatemala.  When I heard everyone speaking a different language, I was enamored.  I thought, ‘I must learn Spanish!’ And I went every year after that and was able to translate by my senior year. To me, that experience was God’s distinct call to me for cross-cultural service.” 

         Robert, MENAU Staff

         “From when I was a kid I always saw how my parents dedicated their life to the church.  They were teachers.  I knew they gave a lot–not just for people but for God.  When I grew up, I found myself following their example–wanting to do something excellent for God.  When I was given opportunities to serve in small programs, worked with kids, or helped on short mission trips, I saw how people could be impacted powerfully within a brief moment and their life would be changed. 

That made me think, What should I do?  What should I dedicate my life to?  Who should I serve?  I felt a major call from God.  I realized I cannot live without giving something to God.  And I knew I needed to reach out to give something to people too.  I know everything I do is because of God.  I have learned that as I am involved in changing others’ lives, the more God changes my life.”  

  Moises, Trans-Media Group