I remember the time my husband announced that he believed we were being called to missionary service.
He’d been attending seminary while I worked at a Christian ministry to pay the bills.
Among the many things one should do to prepare for a call to missionary service is to figure out where god wants you to go, what kind of help is available to get you there and support of all kinds once you arrive.
We were directed to a missionary sending agency, Elim Fellowship.
Elim Fellowship says of itself that it’s, “of Pentecostal conviction and Charismatic orientation.” Seemed like a pretty good fit. While we wouldn’t have called ourselves pentecostals, we had been involved in the Full-Gospel, Charismatic movement for a number of years. Baptized in the holy ghost, tongues, healing, the whole she-bang.
So, we applied with Elim and scheduled a meeting with their board of elders. It’s been so long now I can’t remember exactly what they called themselves – but I’m sure board of elders is close enough. In any case, we arrived in New York in our Sunday best for an interview. If they accepted our application for service, they would help us take the next steps.
There were 10, maybe 11 men, several older than dirt, one I swore was going to keel over at any moment, all seated in a semi circle with a chair in the middle. My husband took the seat while I waited across the room.
First they questioned my husband at length about his call. What did he see god doing through him in Africa? What were his spiritual strengths? Weaknesses? What was god teaching him about service to humanity? What, exactly, was god’s call on his life? The interview lasted a good half an hour or more. Then it was my turn in the hot seat.
I was asked the exact same questions. EXACT. What did I see god doing through my husband in Africa? What were his spiritual strengths? Weaknesses? What was god teaching him about service to humanity? What, exactly did I think god’s call was on my husband’s life?
At the end of the interview, I gathered enough courage to attempt to interject my presence in this whole thing. I explained that I viewed my husband and I as a team on the mission field. That we both were called and I, too, had a purpose there. That I’d opened myself up to whatever god had for me, that I was ready to work for god’s kingdom.
One of the oldest of the men replied, “Well, not every couple can be Pricilla and Aquilla.”