It was 1983 when I took a job as a clerical worker for an oil company in Houston to fill the time. I had a college degree and aspirations to teach, but after two years of working in the office, I didn’t want to teach anymore. I also didn’t want to climb the corporate ladder at the oil company. In fact, I had no idea what I wanted to do next! I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
When Keith Green died, his wife Melody felt like she was supposed to tour the country with a video of his concert as a memorial. A Friday night in February rolled around, and I was bored. There wasn’t really anything going on except that concert. I honestly wasn’t a big fan of his music, but it was better than being bored. I called a few of my friends from church, and we went to the concert.
A month before Keith Green died, someone had filmed one of his concerts. This was the video used for his memorial. Keith didn’t like being on camera, so it was actually without his permission. The video was all about missions and how few missionaries there were. There were so many unreached people all over the world, and it was important to fill Jesus’ last command to "Go and make disciples of all nations."
I started praying that God would send more missionaries. Right then, God said to me, "I want YOU to go into missions."
I froze. "Me? I’m just an ordinary person! I’m not an evangelist or anything."
He said it again, "Go into missions."
I crossed my arms. "Well, God, what about finances? I’m shy; I can’t talk to people."
He was so patient with me. "If you do what I say, I will take care of you."
Another issue came up. "What about my dog Megan? I love my cocker spaniel, she is my baby! I can’t give her up."
God asked, "What is more important: Me or your dog?"
There was a lot of wrestling within me, but I said, "Well of course you are, God."
He said, "Then go."
That night, there were five missionary organizations there. I had already done college, so I didn’t want to go through a lengthy school. One of them was YWAM from Tyler, Texas. I had heard of them throughout college, but didn’t know a whole bunch about them. I decided to look into that.
They had something called a Discipleship Training School starting in September. It was three months of training and two months of actually being a missionary! I felt impressed to go in September. I really liked that layout. In fact, I liked it so much that I thought God couldn’t possibly be calling me to do that.
A few months went by, and I had pushed the idea aside. I had a really good roommate now, and my job was fine. I didn’t need to go to YWAM. The idea of missions was still pricking my conscious. I started looking for missionary things I could do without leaving my comfort zone. None of the doors would open for me!
That month, I was on a trip. I was alone in a hotel room in Tennessee, and I felt God say. "I still want you to go to YWAM in September."
This time, I was determined to follow through.
The school was just a few months away, and I had not taken care of any of the details. I went back to my job and told them I would be quitting in September. I had to burn my bridges so that I had no option to turn back.
I called my parents that day to tell them I had decided to be a missionary. They were NOT happy. My parents thought I was joining a cult or something. I understood, I mean, they had invested so much into me through college; they thought I was wasting my life. It was still hard.
I also called my brother Phil. It turns out, he had also just decided to become a missionary with another organization! We prayed with each other, and God encouraged us so much. I came out of that phone call ready for what God had planned.
In July, I had a garage sale, and all of the money for my school came in through it! One of my friends was willing to take care of my dog. Everything was falling into place.
My parents became more supportive, but were still very concerned. Dad called ahead to make sure that YWAM wasn’t a cult.I think Mom and Dad prayed for me A LOT when during those first few months I was in Tyler.
Christmas came around, and I went home to pick up Megan from my friend. I was so excited to see her! Then the bad news came. My friend was no longer able to take care of Megan.
I shared this with my parents and they said they were willing to take care of her. They didn’t like cocker spaniels, so they were adamant that I would have to figure something when the school was over.
I went back to the school, and a few months passed. I got a call from my parents. "Jenelle, we really fell in love with your dog. Would you be willing to let us buy her off of you?"
This was amazing! I said yes.
God really provides. This was the best option for me and the dog. For the next years of Megan’s life, I got to go on missions all over the world, and I still got to see her when I visited home!
Another cool thing: over time, my parents became really supportive and excited about my brother and I in missions.
Guest Author ~ Jenelle Mear, a long time YWAM Tyler friend and alumni 😊
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28 NIV
God is invested in taking good care of you. From finances to your dog to your parents’ support, He’s got it in his hands. The first step is obedience.
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