This past August, I was able to go to Nairobi, Kenya, along with a team of six powerful men and women of God. For me, this missionary trip was a dream come true. All of my life I had imagined myself standing on the soil of the continent of my forefathers, and finally this dream had become a reality. Nevertheless, the most significant thrill to me was not that I was there to receive some experience “out of the ordinary,” but that I was there to share someone very precious to me, Jesus.
When I first came to know the Lord, God gave me an excitement for living. I realized that God had a purpose for my life and that there was nothing I could not do that He had initiated in my life – the sky was the limit. However, though the eye of my understanding was opened and provision had been made for me to know my Creator, I found myself yoked to one burden: the plight of Black America.
In my heart I had made a commitment that I would go anywhere and do anything for Jesus. It wasn’t until I began serving as the Missions secretary at the International Office of Maranatha Ministries that my commitment was challenged. One day as I went about my work, the Lord interrupted my thoughts with this question, “Are you willing to go anywhere for My sake?” My response to His prompting was: “Of course, you know I will go anywhere.”
The following day, as I was going about my work in the office, the Lord interrupted my thoughts again with this question, “Are you willing to go anywhere for My sake?” I again responded, “Of course, you know I will go anywhere.” Little did I know that what I meant by anywhere was very different from what Jesus meant by anywhere. You see, my understanding about how God would use me, and how I desired the Lord to use me, was limited to the black arena. I could not see the Lord calling me to anything outside of reaching my own people – certainly not in the scope of reaching nations. I could not escape from the limits I had placed upon my own life.
I was not wrong in my desire to reach Black America, but I had limited God so much in my life that I felt I could not be used in any other aspect. What I realized later was that I had been carrying a false burden for many years that was not mine to bear.
After all, what would my family and friends think if I sold everything and left everything I had worked for in life? – a college degree that would open many doors for me in the business world, success and a great future. I’m black and I had to make something of myself, not only for my benefit but for the benefit of those to come. In Black America, there is a great pressure to succeed and gain great riches in this life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful, but when success became my aim I closed myself off to the perfect will of God for my life – which is true success.
Not many months later the Lord began to place a desire in my heart for Africa – He rekindled a desire in my heart that I had had as a child to one day go to Africa. Though my heart yearns to see Black America come forth into all that God has purposed, it’s not up to me to bring it to pass. God is more concerned about Black America than I could ever be. Learning to see from the whole to the part set me free and has released me to fulfill God’s intentions and plans for my life.
Now that I have had a taste of the mission field, I have a desire for nothing else. I know without a doubt that God has called me to Africa, particularly to Kenya at this time. But that true purpose and fulfillment came as I lost my life in Him and removed the constraints that I had placed upon myself. I have come to understand that God has commissioned me to disciple the nations, not someone else. He can use me and has called me to go beyond myself to reach a nation that is longing to hear the gospel.