Kris had a lot on her mind as she unpacked her bags. Sifting through the keepsakes and dirty laundry she brought back from her week in Venezuela, she reminisced on the relationship she built with the missionary couple that hosted them. “You should be in missions,” someone had said to her. “You should come back.”
Most importantly, she had a deep sense that this was what she was created for.
Kris grew up in a home and congregation that broadened her worldview beyond Pennsylvania: her family hosted exchange students from Africa, and her congregation was home to many people passionate about missions. As a collegiate member of the World Christian Fellowship Group, she had taken many short-term trips and attended several missions conferences. She remembers a pivotal moment when she signed a commitment card that said she would follow wherever God called her.
The Venezuela trip reignited a that passion once again, now in her early thirties. As she returned to life as a public-school teacher and continued to pray and dream about this cross-cultural ministry, one burning question lodged itself in her mind: how can I expect to go share the Gospel in another country if I’m not actively doing it at home?
That convicting question led her to form a Bible study for some of her colleagues who were interested in topics of faith and Christianity but were not themselves Christian. For the next three years, she led this study and practiced sharing the Gospel with people in her own culture. She also invested deeply in her church community and invited trusted mentors to join her in discerning God’s call for her life.
“Get involved in ministry at home,” Kris says, looking back on those pivotal moments. “It’s not going to be easier to do ministry when you have all the stressors of living in another country, learning a different language, and being in a different culture. You need to start doing it at home.”
Kris eventually felt led to Southeast Asia where she has spent the last two decades. Even today, she looks back to those years in her thirties as some of the most formative of her life. The practice of sharing the Gospel with non-believers in her own culture, engaging in active ministry, and building strong relationships with mentors have become the building blocks for her work today.
This is part one of a four-week series about the risky steps of faith global workers took in obedience to Jesus and the legacy of service that followed.