Ashlyn Hunt, Freshman Biblical Counseling Major
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Africa”? Let me take a guess: wild animals, jungle, heat? Poverty, malaria, death? The one word that comes to my mind is HOME. What is a foreign continent to so many is the place that holds my heart!
Twenty-six years ago, before I was even born, my parents felt God leading them to leave their home in America to be missionaries in Africa. God clearly called them to ministry, but my question was: did He call me? See, I wasn’t the one who chose to move across the ocean to serve God. From the moment I was born, Zambia was home—my normal. Yes, technically I was an MK (missionary kid), but that doesn’t make me a special, superhero Christian (simply ask my siblings J). I attended church every Sunday, did school during the week, and hung out with friends on the weekends. Life in Zambia was normal for me. So yes, clearly my parents were called; but was I, Ashlyn Hunt, called too?
From the time I can remember, my parents would purposely get us kids involved in ministry. After Sunday service, my Dad would say, "Okay, kids, time to do ministry. Go pick up all the song books.” Other times, we would help clean up after an event. This usually meant washing the never-ending piles of dishes. Many times we would have a grouchy attitude, but Dad would remind us that we were serving Jesus. Due to the nature of our ministry, Dad would often be away for several days or weeks. Upon arriving home, he would always remind us kids that by our allowing him to go away and preach, we too had had a part in the spreading of the Gospel. Whenever he would make this claim, I would sarcastically think, “Yeah, yeah.” I did not see how doing normal life was helping people get saved.
As I grew older, God began burdening me to get involved intentionally in our ministry. At that time, we were beginning a new church plant, and that provided the perfect platform for me to serve and grow in my faith. I had been teaching myself guitar for a while, and so I decided to help get a music team started. I was fourteen years old and knew nothing about music (I couldn’t even keep a tempo), but it was so much fun! A year later, my brother and I, who had only just learned the rudiments of sign language, were asked to help interpret a conference for the deaf. Then this past April, I had the amazing opportunity to help organize and run our church’s first youth camp, an experience that still stands out as the highlight of my year. But my involvement in ministry was not just limited to playing on a music team, interpreting conferences, or organizing our youth camp.
Somewhere in my mid-teen years, it clicked. What my parents had been engraving in us since we were little finally made sense: that ministry isn’t just doing “big” stuff for God. Rather, ministry is selflessly serving every day. It is seeing a need and serving to meet that need for the sake of the Gospel. That’s why picking up song books, washing dishes, and allowing Dad to travel was indeed a ministry. Sure, we weren’t preaching, but we were serving Jesus by serving others.
This concept radically changed my world! I began to see everything as an opportunity for ministry, even down to the very friends I made! I began purposely making friendships with girls in my youth group, not just to have friends myself, but rather to have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them. About two years ago, I began developing a friendship with this one girl and even got a chance to share the Gospel with her. Then, my family visited the United States last year for five months, and every day I prayed that she would believe in the Gospel and turn to Christ. Upon arriving home, I found out that she had indeed gotten saved while we were away. And a few weeks later, I had the privilege of watching her be baptized. We then began meeting every week for Bible study, and it has been amazing to see the power of God’s Word transform her life.
I want to boil everything that’s just been said down to two important points – something that I have come to learn and full-heartedly believe…
Life is for ministry, and ministry is life. You see, life and ministry are really one. So often we separate them, forming an inaccurate view of ministry. Usually, our mindset is life – Monday through Saturday – and ministry – Sunday morning singing in choir. Ministry is so much more than just serving at church (although that is extremely important).
Life, every-day life, is our call to ministry! And people, every-day people, are our mission field! God hasn’t called us all to minister overseas, but He has called us all serve right where we are.
So to answer my question, “Am I, an MK from Kitwe, Zambia, called to ministry too?” my answer would be YES! Just like every other Christian is called to minister right where they are. You do not have to have the skill, experience, and degrees in order to serve. God is looking at the heart, and He will use those who have a humble, selfless spirit. And believe me, serving Jesus by ministering to others is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world! Be great and serve. Because life is for ministry!
The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.