ELENA'S * STORY
I was eleven years old, the daughter of missionaries. It was a hot afternoon in Mexico. My home school classes were finished for the day. With nothing to do, I picked up a Prayer Digest. I casually flipped through it, until near the end, it showed the picture of a lady missionary in China. I read her story. For some reason, I was attracted to her work. I prayed about China for the next two weeks. I could not let it go. Though I was too young to fully understand it, God was forming in me a heart for China. I began reading everything I could find about that emerging country. Isolated and asleep for centuries of time, it was now awakening to a new world order. And it was becoming a centerpiece of that change. But I was more interested in the missionaries who were ministering in China.
Then, at the age of thirteen, I found the children’s edition of Operation World, titled You Can Change the World. I was surprised at the number of unreached people groups in the world. But each new inquiry more clearly focused my attention on one particular group. Their language, their culture, their location and how they got there, and their religion made them distinct. I became aware of the danger in ministering among these people. This only made me pray more for them and for my preparation in working with them. As I continued to pray daily for them, I knew that God wanted me there…sometime. But I never dreamed it would be so soon.
In January, two years later, at a missions conference, I talked with a lady about her involvement in China. She mentioned that she had heard of a lady who took a team to this group once a year. I am not an introvert! I screamed! I jumped up and down! I yelled, “Is she here? Where is she? Help me find her.”
I talked with the lady for an hour. She may have thought me a bit…unusual, but she shared my love for these people. And shared my enthusiasm. I dragged her to find my father. They talked. “Yes,” she said, “I have taken people as young as 16 before. It is amazing how mature they can be when parents are not around.” More prayer. And we returned to Mexico.
I immediately got a job to begin securing the finances for this trip. A prayer team was committed and my parents said they would help me come down from the ceiling after expressing my excitement of actually being there. My parents, sister and others were encouraging me. I could tell a very supportive team was joining me on this mission. I did have one aunt who was a bit worried, but….
The trip was all and more than I expected! My complexion and purchased clothes made me look like them. Many started to speak to me in their language until they realized I was a tourist on a visit. I cried. I laughed. I was with a people for whom I had prayed specifically for three years.
Dad’s perspective: “I fully share Elena’s enthusiasm for this work. When we dedicated her to the Lord, we said, ‘Lord, she is yours.’ So when this began to develop, even at age eleven, we saw that this was God’s answer to our prayer. As the years progressed, we knew that God was all over this. There is no fear; no apprehension. This is what we raised her for.”
“It is awesome that God is leading her so clearly,” is the statement made by her sister—a sister who has also prayed every day for Elena to be sensitive to God’s direction.
And Mom: “Our times are in His hands. We are not ignorant of the dangers of this mission, but we are happy for her willingness to go where God has called her.”
* Elena is a pseudonym.