Many missionaries pray for courage to go overseas, but a minister in College Station, Texas, explains in a OneChild podcast that sometimes it takes just as much courage to come home.
I remember sitting in a pew when I was 6 years old, begging God not to make me a missionary. (This isn’t my proudest childhood memory!) Week after week, missionaries visited our church, sharing their stories, photos, and many challenges.
Their lives seemed so unsafe, uncomfortable, and unpredictable!
But Shane Mikeska, missions minister at Central Baptist Church in College Station, Texas, loved being a missionary. He lived for the exciting opportunities to stretch himself, build flourishing relationships, inspire others, and share the love and hope of Jesus.
It didn’t matter if he was serving in Indonesia or England — he was all in.
That’s why he and his wife were surprised when, after living overseas for 15 years, God called them back home.
‘Not Easy … But Awesome’
That must have been quite a shock! But as soon as God made His plans clear, Shane and his family immediately obeyed.
I like how Shane describes their move in the podcast: “It’s not been an easy transition, but it’s been awesome.”
Isn’t that how our life with God so often is? God doesn’t promise us the easiest path. But His ways are always the best.
I admire Shane for his willingness to follow God anywhere. When he interviewed for his job at Central Baptist Church, he even told leadership that although he was excited about the new job, if God told him to quit and move overseas, he would pack his bags that very moment.
They were a little surprised by his words, but I love his trust in God!
Purposeful and Intentional
In the OneChild podcast, Shane also challenges us to ask these tough questions to make sure we’re purposeful and intentional — both in our ministries and personal lives.
Just because you’ve doing something a certain way for years, is it the best way?
Is this really where God’s leading you?
Does anything need to be tweaked?
That’s one reason I appreciate this ministry. Because OneChild’s leadership team is constantly working to find the best solutions. And I mean constantly!
Leaders ask questions like:
- Is the child sponsorship program as effective as possible?
- How do kids actually feel about the sponsorship program? (OneChild even created a special program called Voice of Youth to ensure that children feel heard and valued.)
- Can we create ways to help sponsors and kids feel more connected? (Here’s a hint … the answer is YES, and it’s called Bridgley — a revolutionary new approach to missions!)
- How can we send more support to kids around the world so more lives are changed?
OneChild’s president, Dr. Scott C. Todd, Ph.D., is one of the most innovative people I’ve ever met. He’s determined to find the best strategies to help children thrive!
Wrestle With Your ‘Why’
Shane also asks us to “wrestle with our why” because it helps us prioritize our lives.
For instance, if you’re serving at church, what’s driving you?
If you’re interested in becoming a missionary, what’s your motivation?
If you’re excited to take an international service trip, what’s your inspiration?
If you sponsor a child, why did you make that decision? Be sure to share your answer on the Wall of Champions and encourage others to change lives with you!
A New Perspective
And if you’re hoping to grow spiritually, Shane suggests going on a missions trip in the podcast.
“What God does in your heart is priceless,” he says.
Because as you travel, you discover a totally different perspective. And as you help those in need, you learn what compassion truly means.
I remember the first time I visited Uganda. My life was completely changed.
I was so struck by the incredible sense of community that Ugandans shared. One man told me, “In Uganda, if someone is filled with joy, the whole village is filled with joy. And if someone cries, we all cry together.”
The same man told me that even though he lives in severe poverty, he feels rich because he has very few distractions to keep him from God. What an extraordinary perspective.
I also fell in love with the precious kids living in poverty in Uganda. Despite living in poverty, each child was full of hope, potential, and dreams because Child Champions in their lives encouraged and equipped them. When I think back on the trip, I can still see their bright smiles, hear their joyous laughter, and feel their tiny hands grasping mine.
To be completely honest, I found it very difficult to come back home. I think it was because when I was there, I could do something.
If a child needed critical medical care, I could rush him to the hospital.
If a child was hungry or thirsty, I could offer her a healthy snack and safe water.
If a child’s mud hut needed repairs after a flood, I could write an urgent proposal for his family.
As I said goodbye, I prayed for each child I met, leaving them in God’s hands. But I still felt a bit helpless.
Just like Shane says in the podcast, sometimes coming home is the hard part.
As I flip through old photos from the trip, I find myself wondering, “Whatever happened to the children in Uganda who captured my heart?”
Are they healthy?
Do they feel loved and protected?
Did their dreams come true?
Knowing that through OneChild’s child sponsorship program, Child Champions are there each day, on the front lines, giving kids in hard places:
- Vital care
- Love and encouragement
- The courage to dream
- Opportunities to thrive
I have to believe that their answers would be, “YES.”
You can give a child a reason to believe that a better future is possible.
Stories of Hope in Uganda
If you’re interested in learning more about the beautiful country of Uganda, please take a minute to enjoy these real stories of hope, resilience, and determination:
- Be inspired by Dr. Jacob Kitonsa, who overcame poverty as a child in Uganda and now serves as a vice president at OneChild. Read about Dr. Jacob’s life and hear him tell his incredible story!
- After losing both of her parents, Faimah, a 7-year-old girl in Uganda, went to live with her grandfather, who barely makes enough to survive. Discover how child sponsorship and the gift of a calf is giving their family a better future.
- Pastor Steve Warman’s partnership with OneChild, along with a queen in Uganda, has transformed his church — and the lives of hundreds of Ugandan children. Read the heartwarming story and watch the video!
Check out more insights from Shane and others in OneChild’s podcasts. Be sure to share the podcasts with your pastors to encourage them in their ministry!
We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.
Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)