by Angel Infantes
Editor’s Note: This article is the second of a six-part series on God’s call and discernment. The first article by Nancy Friesen (not labelled as part of the series) was published in the January 2021 issue.
In my previous mission assignment I was given an illustration to discern God’s call. Like a ship coming in to port should line up three lights to dock safely, so Christians need to line up three lights to discern God’s will: the Word, the church leaders and the voice of the Spirit. The agreement of these three reaffirmed the direction I sensed. But now, married with children, I found more lights to consider.
Children who grow up in the church know about missions and missionaries by their participation in the church. When they are young they go along with their parents’ decisions. However, the spouse begins her own mission call journey while serving in the congregation. How is a family called to missions? How does one member wait for the others to answer the call?
It is assumed that the members of a pastoral family are always in tune with everything related to the Christian walk. The reality is, everyone is unique; God treats each one individually. An advantage in the pastoral family is the use of spiritual disciplines, such as spiritual retreats. These activities provide the environment to discern as a family the task that God entrusts to them. Attending a retreat will not necessarily put everything or everyone into place, but it can be part of a process that involves individuals as part of a family unit.
Observing this process is precious, because what is happening to you is also happening to each of yours. When I understood from my spouse that the best way to serve as a family was in missions, I realized that we have begun to discern God’s call; this journey took many years. If God was really directing us to missions, I knew we were going to hear more from him.
Five years went by, in which I went from working full-time to university, while my wife started working full-time. In the last three years we participated as a family in a new ministry, and God’s call came more clearly. The leaders of the church were pleased with the work we were doing. Then we confessed our inner desire to go on missions.
Conversations with the mission director became more frequent. His guidance during the process allowed us to know more about the mission fields. On one occasion when we needed to be sure where we would go, we met a lady in a restaurant in Winnipeg, she passed to us a note with her information to meet her later; the address was from Guadalajara.
When God calls us to missions, there is no a frame time for the process. Everything and everyone comes into place when ready. In the meantime God works in the hearts of each family member, and when there is discouragement God has his way of encouraging you.
Angel and Blanca Infantes (Aberdeen EMC) serve with EMC Missions in Guadalajara, Mexico.