From Indiana to Thailand

collier-nettie-berkshire-familyA call to missions . . . in Thailand. When did it come? When does God prepare someone for a call? Did He only start preparing us after the call? Or does He prepare us long before the call? I am not sure that we can answer all of those questions, but as we look back over the years, we see God’s hand moving in various ways, moving from one call to the next call, and always preparing us for what lies ahead.

When we were first asked to consider going to Thailand, it seemed so . . . distant. And yet, there seemed to be something that whispered “This is for real.” We privately prayed about this for months . . . (much longer than the board preferred!!). We finally announced it to our local congregation and asked them if they would pray about it, and eventually give their voice. We asked them to voice whether or not they would release us from our present responsibilities as deacon, and also, that if we should decide to go, would they support us with their blessing and prayers. The wheels seemed to move slowly, and the picture grew darker as one of our ministry team became seriously ill with cancer. The voice was taken in January, and God spoke through the church with 91 percent giving us their release and blessing. Many shared that their desire would be for us to stay, but they were and still are willing to release and support us! That was big. I thank God for a congregation that is willing to release to God, even when their personal desire is otherwise.

We continued to pray, seek God’s leading, and I (Collier) took a trip to Thailand with the board in May. God burdened my heart during that time for the followers of Buddha. What sacrifice. What service. What idolatry. As I watched two women making their food offerings and burning incense, and bowing low before an idol of Buddha, I just wanted to find a hill and start preaching Jesus. Upon our return to the states, as a family, we decided that we were willing to go if that is God’s call on our lives. This means leaving our two oldest here in the states. That’s a tough one. But they feel as strongly as any of us that we need to go if God is calling.

At the time of this writing there is yet one more door that must open. We need to sell our house in order to leave. Our prayer is for God’s will to be done, in and through us.We have caught the vision of training Anabaptist missionaries to take the Gospel into the Asian countries. As Anabaptists, we have concentrated much in the Central American countries, the Caribbean Islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But we have neglected in taking the Gospel of Jesus to Asia.

Please pray for the Rick Rhodes family, for the Val Yoder family, as they make their move in October, and then for us, as we plan to move in January, Lord willing.

By Collier Berkshire, IGo Staff Pastor (I Witness News/Fall 2006)

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