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?
Taylor Pate shares how she has overcome the barrier of going to the field as a single. She shares her call to serve overseas and her trust in the Lord to equip and prepare her for the journey!
“I make a habit of praying for our missionaries, but I’ll be praying extra for you since you aren’t married.” This is a phrase I’ve heard more than once in the last eighteen months of fundraising. In the eyes of most, singleness is seen as a huge hurdle that we have to jump over when we enter into cross-cultural ministry; as if being married would somehow make it easier. However, I’d like to push back on this stereotype of single missionaries. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of challenges with being single, but there are challenges in ministry no matter what phase of life you are in.
Global missions has always been my goal. When I was just thirteen years old, the Lord very clearly instilled in my heart a passion for cross-cultural missions. As the headstrong and independent person I am, I never considered singleness to be something that would hold me back from the mission field. That was until it was time to actually commit to going.
During my senior year of college, it was time for me to decide if I would apply to do a two-year internship somewhere overseas. The reality of being single in this journey had finally set in. How could I possibly live in a different country alone? Who would I turn to on the hard days? Who would be my encouragement and partner as I walked through the process of fundraising? Certainly, God wouldn’t want me to struggle in these ways. But, when I was approached to join the New Life team in Hokkaido, Japan, the answer was an immediate yes. There was no second-guessing about what I would do as a single woman. Any doubt or fear that I felt disappeared as I walked in obedience to what the Lord had called me to do.
There’s a universal stigma around singleness within both the Christian and secular settings, especially for single women. This stigma is what can often create a barrier for people, and briefly created one for me. There was an underlying fear that if I go to the field now as a single person, then I’ll never have the opportunity to be married or have a family of my own. Some fall under the assumption that going to the field alone will only cause more hardships. People frequently ask me, “Aren’t you going to be lonely?” Of course, all of these are valid concerns and fears. I may not be married, but God continues to put amazing people in my life who support, encourage and walk beside me. I think Paul would disagree that being single adds more challenges to ministry. As he writes in 1 Corinthians 7, singleness is a gift! At the end of the day, ministry is challenging. Whether you are married, single, young, or old, there will inevitably be hardships to walk through. Some challenges may appear differently for different people. As I prepare to leave for Japan soon, the worry of loneliness is often on my mind. I am certain there will be days that will feel lonelier than others. But I am also certain that God would not have called me to Japan in my singleness if I wasn’t equipped and prepared to walk this journey.
Even in my doubts and fears, the Lord sustains me in such a way that only He could do. So, if you are single and thinking of missions, do not let this be something that holds you back from being obedient to the Lord’s calling. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 offers words of comfort and truth as I walk through this time of singleness and into ministry. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”