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Stories & Blog

What’s Keeping You From Missions?

What’s Keeping You From Missions?

Crossworld worker Kelly was born with cerebral palsy, but she hasn’t let that stop her from following God. She served 10 years with a street kids ministry in Brazil before returning home to Canada to recruit others to join God’s mission to the least-reached.

Hear Kelly’s story in this Q&A.

1. Tell us about your journey into missions.

I had a fascination with different cultures from the time I was very young. At 11 years old, I traveled to Mexico with my family, which was my first experience abroad. I remember walking down a dirt road and seeing this little girl in a pristine party dress swinging at a piñata at her birthday party. I remember thinking, How blessed am I to be able to get a glimpse into this sweet girl’s daily life. On that same trip, we walked through open markets and I saw with my own eyes for the first time people living in impoverished situations. I remember feeling that I just wanted to give them a hug and let them know that they were loved, by Jesus and by me.

As a teen, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to help people.

On a college mission trip to Brazil, the Lord exposed me to the reality of the street kids dealing with drug addiction, abuse, rejection, gang involvement, etc. Back in my classes, I found myself distracted, continually having the street kids on my mind. The Lord used my preoccupation and concern for them to develop a desire to return to Brazil full time. 

A lot of us have this false expectation that being called into missions is a lightning-bolt experience. More often than not, however, it’s a gradual process — as it was in my case.

2. You had a solid reason to say no to missions, but you chose to move forward in faith. What motivated you?

My parents were realistic about the challenges I would face related to my disability due to cerebral palsy, but they never treated me with kid gloves, so to speak, or made me feel as though the things I wanted to accomplish were too difficult to try. 

If God had told me as an 11-year-old with a disability that I would spend 10 years working with street children in Brazil, I would have said, “You definitely have the wrong girl!”

One of the most powerful things we can offer the Lord when it comes to missions is simply a willing heart. That is truly all I felt I had to offer him when I stepped out in faith in the beginning. The process of preparing for missions seemed entirely too big a task for me to accomplish on my own. But I experienced the Lord’s faithfulness: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).

3. What’s one way God reassured you despite any fears?

One story happened just after I arrived on the field. Although I was excited, I also struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Would the kids look down on me because of my disability or try to take advantage of me? I had no idea.

That morning, one of the boys watched me as I came toward him to sit down. I could tell he noticed the way I walked. Without missing a beat, he hopped off the piece of cardboard where he had slept the night before, grabbed a piece of broken broom, and carefully swept it off so that I would have a place to sit.

I’m convinced Jesus used that young man that day to show His love toward me in such a precious and personal way. It was all I needed to be reassured that God had called me to Brazil and that he had good plans for my future there.

4. What has God taught you about himself through your journey?

Often it’s our struggles and challenges in life that make us most useful for his kingdom. Although God had given me eagerness to serve overseas, I knew he would have to show up in mighty ways in order for me to accomplish this task with his help.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (ESV). God reminded me throughout my time overseas that it’s his job to do it and I’m just along for the ride with him in faith. 

5. What would you tell someone who might be fearful to take that step toward missions?

In my own journey to the field, I struggled with fears like leaving family, raising support, and going overseas as a single person. I can relate!

I believe it’s a good thing to feel somewhat intimidated by the prospect of overseas missions. Having these feelings only leaves more room for the Lord to show himself faithful to you.

Let’s be honest. We all have “disabilities” in one form or another, right? I’m thankful for the platform God has given me through my disability. It allows me to be honest about the cost of missions but also the incredible privilege it is to serve the Lord. Ephesians 3:20 says God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (ESV).

If God can keep a disabled person strong and serving him on the mission field for a decade, imagine what he can do with you, as long as you’re willing!

Kelly Hogg, missions mentorKelly Hogg has served with Crossworld for more than 20 years. After serving in Brazil for 10 years, she now loves to mentor students and help young people find their place in the Great Commission.

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