In Focus: Missionaries
By Judy Chung
October 1, 2019 | ATLANTA
Global Ministries’ missionaries come from many nations and backgrounds and witness and serve in dramatically different locations, cultures and contexts. Working in more than 80 countries around the world in a range of activities, missionaries serve as educators, congregational and leadership developers, agriculturalists, health coordinators, pastors and doctors. From college students to professionals and those seeking a second career, they seek to live out God’s calling in their lives.
The reasons missionaries give for serving, or their call stories, are as diverse as their work and backgrounds. One which comes to mind is from The Rev. Israel Maestrado Painit who was commissioned in October 2018. Painit was called to ministry when he was 16 years old. Years later, as he attended several events at Global Ministries’ headquarters in Atlanta, he felt the call stirring once more in his heart. Painit pursued commissioning as a missionary with Global Ministries after witnessing the courage of three young missionaries who were first restricted and then deported from the Philippines in the summer of 2018 for upholding human rights in the province of Mindanao.
“If these foreign missionaries were used by God to defend the rights and help the plight of the poor people in Mindanao, Philippines, where I live, why could I not be a missionary too? I was challenged, and I decided to make the ultimate choice to become a missionary,” Painit said.
More than 400 missionaries serving in more than 80 countries have chosen to become missionaries like Painit. I am grateful for their work and personally understand the importance of it. My own grandmother accepted Christ because of the missionaries who worked with her in Korea. The passion of a missionary often means other generations will benefit from their faith. Because someone said “yes!” to their calling, three generations of my family are Christians and many of my cousins are involved in ministry. I wonder how many lives will be impacted through Painit’s work.
You may not feel called to become a missionary, but you can be part of the mission work of The United Methodist Church. I invite you to explore the many ways missionaries are serving within communities around the world. Take time to consider how you will support them through prayer or financial gifts, or by becoming an In Mission Together Partner or establishing a covenant partnership in your local church.
Together, we can say “yes!” to God and make an impact that will affect the lives of others for generations to come.
The Rev. Dr. Judy Chung is the executive director of the Missionary Service unit of Global Ministries.