Overcoming Barriers to Fulfill the Call
Hear from IM missionaries as they share their stories about the variety of ways they have each overcome different barriers to fulfill their call to the mission field. How is God calling you to take the Gospel to the nations or to those around you?
The Duncans share their story of “Divine Discontentment” and how that led them to serve as missionaries to Ecuador later in life. Being a missionary doesn’t always look like a young person or couple fresh out of Bible college. Read their story about overcoming barriers and being obedient to God’s call for them.
If you had asked us in 2015, we would have said we were serving the Lord faithfully. Adam was serving bi-vocationally as the Associate Pastor of Rejoice Church in Columbia, MO, and serving on the board at Camp Niangua. He had just been promoted to Assistant Director at the University of Missouri’s police academy. He was near completing a Master’s degree in counseling Carol was working at the same school our kids attended and managed our farm, which we were on track to pay off early. We were serving as foster parents, and we had to take two vehicles to church each week. We were living the Christian American dream and should have had every earthly reason to be proud of what we were accomplishing. We had one problem. Adam calls it “Divine Discontent”, the sense that what we were doing was not bad, but it was simply preparation for the next step God had for us.
Over the next four years, God pruned good things from our lives, idols really. Jobs, farming productivity, loved ones, and mentors, one by one God took them from our lives, and we couldn’t figure out why. In response, we doubled down on serving and seeking to find purpose in our service. Carol changed jobs, working in Maternal/Child Health at the local hospital. Adam started his own security and consulting business. Again, the American dream with a paid-for farm, 2 income household, business owners, kids healthy and doing well in school, and yet Divine Discontent remained. We were asking the question, “What are we missing? What are you trying to show us, God?”
When He answered that question, we were shocked. You see, we had a picture of what a missionary looked like. A young couple, fresh out of Bible college, eager and prepared to share the Gospel with those who were eager and prepared to receive it. Or maybe an experienced missionary after a couple of decades on the field talking about God’s faithfulness through struggles and obstacles overcome. Or even a single man or woman, more concerned with sharing the Good News than with marriage and career, working with a team. You know what was missing from our picture? A couple in their 40s, with jobs and the promise of a pension, with two teenage kids in the home and a bonus kid just establishing himself as an adult. A couple with multiple degrees from secular universities and decades working in public service, who had been raised with the unspoken understanding that the American Dream was good if you had Christian morals.
Yet that is exactly who we were when God called us to Ecuador. It wasn’t easy. Through selling property, completing an advanced nursing degree, raising support in the midst of a pandemic, five moves, and hundreds of goodbyes, we can confirm that His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. We can also confirm that there is no better place to be than following hard after Him even when the path is not straight. It might even lead to another continent and another language, but He is worthy of our obedience in addition to our praise.