left arrow
March 16, 2021
April 11, 2023

A Journey of “Yes”

“Are you real, God? If You’re there, I need to know.”

In late 2004, God answered the prayer of my heart while I was sitting in my University of Texas dorm room. I had been reading through a green, pocket-sized Gideon New Testament Bible given to me at the start of the semester by a nice old man—and something in me knew there was truth in this little book. As I read through it, night after night, God eventually gave me the answer I was searching for when He spoke through His word to my heart, “Georgia, when I rose again, I rose again in you.”

The First Yes

This began a radical journey of discovering that God was not only real and personal, but that His Holy Spirit empowers me to live out a calling of righteousness and a calling to bless the nations (Matthew 28:18). Soon after I committed my life to Jesus, I was invited to what I thought was a Christian concert. Standing in the bleachers in the back of a gymnasium, I listened to unfamiliar songs and awkwardly nodded my head and clapped my hands. It wasn’t until everyone sat down and someone started to talk about God that I slowly realized: this isn’t a concert, this is church!

Though some might say I stumbled into The Austin Stone, I see it as God’s faithful hand to bring me to the place where I would not only grow and develop as a new Christian, but also learn of God’s heart for the nations.

Through a connection from The Stone, I attended a Christian college conference called Passion with a busload of other college students. On the final night, the speaker shared about whole nations of people around the world who have not ever heard of the name of Jesus and do not have a Bible accessible in their language. After a refreshing weekend of worshipping the Lord in a stadium of people, reflecting on God’s saving work in my life, and praising Him for the great hope of heaven, I was quickly jarred out of my young, mountain-top Christian experience.

Growing up unaware of Christian missions, it came as a complete shock to me that the church had not yet been spread everywhere. In the midst of processing this life-altering information, a question was then posed to us by the speaker: “Are you willing to say YES to God and go to share the gospel with those who have never heard?” I remember feeling compelled to stand, like I was being lifted out of my seat. As I gave another “yes” to God, I felt that I now fully understood the gospel and what the Christian life was about: knowing God, and making Him known.

For me, the fullness of my Christian life didn’t begin until the moment that I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord and the moment I said “yes” to His invitation to play a role in His grand story for the world, the very mission of God.

Number One and Two

Going forward, it was simply a series of more big and more small “yes” moments—surrendering to God each time He led me to move forward in obedience. After being discipled by The Stone’s preaching and small group communities throughout college, I graduated and joined a six-month missions program in Australia. God used this time to continue to purify my character, deepen my burden for the lost, and more specifically call me to serve in East Asia as a cross-cultural missionary.

Upon returning to Austin, I asked to meet The Austin Stone missions pastor at the time. As I sat across from him in the Austin High School cafeteria and shared my heart to move overseas for the next two years, I was awestruck to find out that God had just affirmed a vision to our church leadership to send 100 people to the nations for at least a two year commitment. He looked at me and my twin sister, who also felt led to serve in East Asia, and said “You’re number one and number two!”

It was an incredible confirmation to me as a young, 22-year old just starting out on my missions journey. It also served as a great encouragement as I dealt with family disapproval, letting go of a teaching position I had dreamed of, and the reckoning with the reality that I was about to move halfway across the world, live in a new culture, learn a new language, and trust that God would use me to to minister to a people I had never met.

I was sent out as a goer before many of The Stone’s mission sending programs and structures were put in place. In fact, as God launched me from The Austin Stone, the church itself was launching its 100 People Network—the network focused on sending those 100 people to unreached people groups. But I never saw this lack of established structures as a disadvantage. Rather, it was a privilege to see God awakening a mission movement within The Stone. As I set out for the field, I felt deep love, encouragement, and support from the church who was sending me—a commitment that continues to this day.

Immediately, Joyfully, Wholeheartedly

I would encourage anyone who has a godly ambition to be a cross-cultural missionary to remember that each small “yes” matters to the Lord. He does not overwhelm us and ask from us more than we are able to give without also providing His strength. If we make it a priority to say “yes” to Him in the small things, then eventually, when the bigger tests of obedience come, we will have a solid foundation of faith and trust in Him to carry us through. I am continually challenged by a quote from the missionary Joy Dawson in which she exhorts us “to obey God immediately, joyfully, and wholeheartedly,” whether we go across the street or across the world.

Over the last 11 years of serving and preparing to serve cross-culturally, I have learned there is a constant, necessary tension we experience as missionaries.

On the one hand, we must stay close to God and listen as He shares His dreams and desires for the world with us. We must be diligent to not waver or lose sight of the inheritance we have in the nations (Psalm 2:8). On the other hand, however, we must also remember that He chooses to work with us as broken people on a journey to wholeness. We must personally recognize and embrace the spiritual growth and character formation that happens in us as we serve in missions, and must not resist the Lord’s gracious sanctification that occurs in our individual lives as we seek to accomplish His purposes in the earth. We walk with Him as a disciple who needs discipleship, and at the very same time, we are called to make disciples who make disciples. Saying “yes” to God is not something that’s simply accomplished once, as if checking off a box, but is a day-by-day decision to submit to His leading in our lives.

As I have experienced the great reward of saying “yes” to the Lord time and time again, I am confident that as I continue to do so, He will lead me to not only be a part of His strategic vision for the world, but will also guide me day by day to love Him and love the one in front of me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

Article Details

Goer from The Austin Stone
Related Congregation
Related Ministry
Related Initiative
For the Nations
from the field
written stories