Pastor Mike Breaux tells the story below when his daughter Jodie answered God's call to go into missions work:
During her junior year of high school, Jodie struggled to find a faith of her own. She wanted to know in her heart that all of what she'd been taught to believe was true and that Jesus Christ was real. Honestly, she was headed down a dark road. But God pursued her down that road. She eventually found a faith of her own, and when she graduated from high school, she said, "I don't think God wants me to go to college right now. I want to take a year to go to Haiti, and I want to serve people in a medical mission down there."
I said, "Are you sure you want to do this? Jodie, it's 3,000 miles away from home. It's AIDS-infested and the poorest country in the western hemisphere. And do you know it's controlled by the voodoo religion?"
"I know all that," she said. "But I feel like God wants me to go and help those people."
I said, "Okay. If that's what you want to do, we'll make it happen."
One of the hardest days of my life was putting my little girl on an airplane and watching it lift off, not knowing whether I'd ever communicate with her again.
One night I got an e-mail from Jodie. She wrote: "Dad, tonight has been the most remarkable night of my life. I got called out to this hut to deliver a baby. Dad, I've only delivered one, and that was with somebody. I'd never done this by myself, but I was the only one around. They called me, and I get to this hut, and there's this naked, screaming lady on the dirt floor. I got a flashlight, and I'm thinking, Here I am, 18 years old, and I'm in a hut in a third-world country with a naked, screaming, pregnant lady. I have a flashlight, and I don't know what I'm doing--but I'm here.
"To make matters worse, this lady from the voodoo religion walked into the hut, dressed in her red and blue voodoo garb, and began to chant some voodoo incantation in Creole. She put some kind of oil on the lady's head, and when she started to walk away from me and the woman, she stopped at the woman's belly, put some other kind of salve there, and walked the opposite direction--all while chanting this Creole spell. I didn't know what to do. She stood at the head of this woman and stared a hole through me. When I was getting ready to deliver this baby, I just looked back at her, and I started singing. I knew she didn't understand English, but I just started singing: 'Our God is an awesome God, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God.'"
Jodie said that the voodoo lady became completely unglued. She grabbed all of her stuff and ran out of the hut. Jodie wrote, "That night I knew that that baby was going to be born with the blessing of God and not the curse of Satan."
As I read Jodie's e-mail, my fatherly side thought, You get on a plane tomorrow! What are you doing in a hut with a voodoo woman in the first place? But then my heart beat so fast for her as her brother in Christ. I thought, Way to go, Jodie! Way to make a difference with your life! Way to stop floating around accidental-like! Way to put your life in the hands of the destiny-maker! Way to make a splash! Who knows who that little baby she delivered that night is going to grow up to touch and who that person is going to touch--all because of one courageous girl who said, "Okay, God, I want to put my life in your hands; I want to make a difference."
In Mark 8:35 Jesus said if you insist on saving your life--if you insist on the comfort of playing it safe--you're going to lose your opportunity for life! Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it really means to really, really live.
(From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, The Way to Life, 5/16/2011)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Melvin Newland on Aug 2, 2002
Our Lord said, “Go into all the world & preach the good news to every creature.” What is that good news? I think it consists of two things that need to be proclaimed - that would really be “good news” to the world today. (PowerPoint Available - #288)