Saturday, December 9

My call into missions service

Twenty years ago today, December 9, 1986 my wife Linda and I were appointed as missionaries with the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention.

I was just looking at the appointment certificate signed by R. Keith Parks and recalling much of the drama that accompanied our appointment. Actually the "drama" was spread out over nearly ten years...

As a college student at the University of North Texas I struggled with God's call upon my life during much of the 70's. I was pretty open to doing whatever God wanted with me, but always shut the door on foreign missions.

Strangely enough, this was due to my great admiration for missionaries. Growing up as an MK on the mission field (here in Ecuador) my heroes had always been missionaries. I truly admired them and considered my own missionary parents some of the finest people I have ever known. I knew in my heart I was not that caliber of person! The idea of ME being a missionary was beyond my comprehension. I couldn't preach, teach, sing, counsel, administrate, evangelize, or do ANYTHING as well as my missionary aunts and uncles. I didn't even necesarrily LIKE doing many of those things anyway. I was more into the music scene and interested in the communication arts.

The years went by in college with me praying continuosly that God would "reveal His will for my life."

As a college student I was active in the University of North Texas BSU program. I was involved in many mission endeavours during my college years from 1974-1979. One of the frustrations I experienced was how few of my fellow BSUers or home church members seemed interested or responsive towards global missions. We would go to missions emphasis meetings geared for college students and hear wonderful speakers and great music. During the invitation I would "peek" and see only a small handful of people responding to God's call. It didn't matter that my own heart was bursting on the inside. All I could see and understand was that all the OTHERS were NOT responding. What was wrong with THEM? Didn't THEY know there was this huge world out there and all they seemed interested in was their own little world?

Slowly it began to dawn on me that maybe, just maybe, God could use me in some small way. As a music major, I could play the guitar and piano, and could manage to sing in tune. Through my minor, Mass Communications, I knew a bit about radio, TV, film, drama, etc.

Christmas of 1977 I went home to Quito, Ecuador to spend the semester break with my missionary parents. While there I decided I would try and get a reaction out of them by announcing that I thought maybe God was calling me into foreign missions. I intended it to be just an opening to discuss with them and hear their thoughts about what they sensed God's will might be for me, especially since my graduation was less than a year away.

Much to my astonishment and surprise they made the comment, "well, son, it's about time you finally figured out that God has been calling you all these years...we've known this for a long time now...we're so happy for you..." I was totally floored! We did talk about the matter during those days and I sensed God speaking to my heart through the words of my parents as they related all the "signs" God had worked in my life over the years. Only a fool like me wouldn't have seen the Hand of God at work in my life!

When I got back to Denton, where Linda and I were members of Grace Temple Baptist Church, I went forward on a cold winter's Sunday night during the general invitation and told the pastor, Bro. Robert Richardson, that I felt God was calling me into missions. There were no fireworks or lightening flashes. I don't even recall anyone coming forward after the service to shake my hand. But the deed was done in Heaven.

Not too long afterwards, on April 11, 1978, there was an appointment service at the Tarrant County Convention Center in Ft. Worth, Texas with the full board in session (William L. Self, presiding.) Dr. Baker James Cauthen was then President of the Foreign Mission Board. That man could preach a missions sermon like no other living person of his day. The hymn of invitation was "Take My Life, and Let It Be." By that time there was absolutely NO DOUBT in my heart that God was calling me to serve him overseas. I was one of the first to make it down to the front!

That night three couples were appointed to Ecuador. Little did we know that years later we too would end up in back in Ecuador and actually serve alongside two of these couples, Jim & Dawn Packwood, and Jack & Karen Ables!

Well, thanks for reading my story. There is more to tell, in fact--a lot more, including my wife's call into missions and how that got us together, but I'll stop here for now.

If you think even there is the remotest chance that God might be leading you to serve Him overseas, my prayer for you is that you would consider Dr. Cauthen's paraphrased words as I recall them, "unless God has specifically told you to stay put, He has called you to go." International Missions is a big step of faith, but in our 20 years so far, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

15 comments:

antonio said...

I myself would have never thought that i would be on the field either. It is funny how things work out. Congrats on the anniversary.

Nigel said...

Love the pici :-)

God called me to missions when I was 11. I think I've told you our story of how he brought it all together for us. He works out his plans for sure.

Strider said...

Congratulattions on 20 years of service Guy! You left out the story of your wife in the Call. My wife would remind me in a hurry if I did that. She married me on the condition we would serve overseas.
By the way, I too was a Music Major. I find that while I use it in no aspect of my 'job' music is an integral part of my life and ministry.

GuyMuse said...

Antonio, Nigel, Strider,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Nigel, I don't recall your own story, will look for it on your new blog someday! Strider, yes, I purposefully left out all the part about my wife's call. The story is just too long and didn't want to add too many parallel streams that went on at the same time. The big issue for us getting married was the absolute assurance that God was calling us BOTH. Until that was settled, our courtship was conditional. Of course it all worked out in the end, but that is the subject of another story/post!

Debbie said...

Guy: What a great post! Between Micah's post today, your post, antonio and Nigel's comments, I have been so blessed today and commit even more to pray for you all daily. Specific prayers of course. :)

This is what it's all about.

GuyMuse said...

Debbie,

Thanks for being in the "missionary corner" ringside with your prayer support. If you haven't already signed up on one of our two prayer list, I would invite you to do so by clicking on one or both in our right-hand sidebar. I just finished mailing out our December letter "Standin' in the need of prayer" to the Muse-prayerlist group. I too read Micah's post and saw his video today--great stuff!

Les Puryear said...

Guy,

I knew our M's were brave, but you have demonstrated exceptional valor in posting that picture. You wife looks great, but as for you, what's up with that hair? :)

Seriously, congratulations on your anniversary.

Many regards,

Les

Daniel said...

¡¡FELICIDADES!!
Mi corazón eleva en agradecimiento a Dios.
"...Sabiendo que vuestro trabajo en el Señor no es en vano".
Un abrazo fraterno desde Buenos Aires, Argentina
Daniel Dañeiluk

GuyMuse said...

Les,

Glad you and Nigel liked the photo. When I posted the picture, even my wife commented that "who are those two?"

Daniel,

Gracias por un versículo Bíblico que realmente me anima. Es comfortante saber que en el Señor, nuestro trabajo en es en vano. ¡Cuanto necesitaba escuchar esa palabra hoy!

Darrell said...

What a great story!

As one those revolutionaries in a house church (HC)I am very curious about your reference to HC in the 70's! WOW! How? When? Where????

Thankfully my experience with HC and missions is very different. All the HC's I know of are very invested in missions. Going and supporting. Because there is no faculties or staff to pay for the giving is totally directed to missions and helping the poor. It is my prayer that this movement will be the biggest boon for missions in History!

In fact most of the HC's I know of are more intrested in missions then they are their own city! Go figure?

Lance Johnson said...

I must say, Guy, that photo brings back lots of memories. You and I were both a bit thinner then. I spite of having not kept up the way I should have over the past years, Diana and I always valued your friendship. May the Lord continue to bless his work in you.

GuyMuse said...

Darrell,

What reference in my post alluded to hc in the 70's? I never heard of such a thing until the late 90's! We continue to work hc concepts througout our province and are thoroughly convinced this is the way we are going to reach Ecuador and beyond for Christ. HC empowers all believers to do what only recognized clergy usually perform in the Western Church.

Lance,

What a most pleasant surprise to hear from you this afternoon. It has "made my day!" ¿Cómo estás mi buen amigo? It's been a while since we heard from you. Yes, that photo is how you would remember us, it's been so long! :)

I clicked on your profile and linked to your blog, leaving a comment on the 5/29/06 entry which really touched my heart. I am not the crying type, but came mighty close after reading that tribute to Diana.

We will definitely have to get together next time we are Stateside. Bendiciones hermano.

Darrell said...

It was this sentence:

"One of the frustrations I experienced was how few of my fellow BSUers or home church members seemed interested or responsive towards global missions."

I get it...you were takling about people from your church, not people in house churches. Duh...

mr. t said...

Great pic. Que joven.

Bryan Riley said...

Oh that more would hear and obey the call! Thank you for this personal testimony, Guy. And, as with all of us boys, you did well and she did... well, who knows why they pick us. It's a testament to God's grace.