Where will my mission ﬁeld be? As I sit in class in my last year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, sometimes my thoughts drift toward the end of the year. A place. Faces waiting. People who need to hear about Jesus. But for now, waiting.
Or at least that’s how I thought I would feel.
As my wife, Grace, and I made the move back to Mequon after my vicar year, I learned that the TELL Network was looking for teachers for their live courses. I decided to sign up, thinking it might be a good way to practice teaching while I wait for parish ministry.
I underestimated the impact teaching for TELL would have on me.
Logging on for my ﬁrst lesson, I was greeted by 25 names, faces, and voices. Separated by half a world, here were a couple dozen people who wanted to gather, learn, and grow in the word of God. An instant mission ﬁeld. Bingo. I was excited to teach these eager students from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and even Pakistan.
Once again, I underestimated the way this would impact me.
As we studied the stories of persecuted prophets and God’s faithfulness to the exiles, my faith was strengthened as I learned about God’s hand working through the lives of these ambassadors for Christ Jesus.
Like Isaac, a student who faced considerable danger. As we studied Daniel in the lion’s den, he boldly shared, “Even if Daniel had died, God wins. That is comfort for me.” Isaac and his classmates were committed to the study of the word in mission ﬁelds ﬁlled with danger. They live like modern Daniels, committing themselves to prayer and witnessing despite the obstacles.
Or Emmanuel, who would ﬁnd a shady place under a tree to park his truck in the heat of the day. Taking a break from his commute to join live class. He is like that “tree planted by streams of water” as he thirsts for the Word of God.
Or Joseph, who recently gave me a reminder about witnessing to any mission ﬁeld. As the class discussed the fears and apprehensions we have when sharing the Word of God, I reﬂected on failed opportunities and fears that I’ve had. I couldn’t help but think ahead, knowing that those fears will be there in the future. That’s when Joseph spoke up, sharing the verse he recalls whenever he has a witnessing opportunity: Luke 12:12, “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
I pray that this is my conﬁdence and yours, too. That wherever the mission ﬁeld might be, that God the Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak through his Holy Word.
Written by Seminarian Jacob Ungemach, senior at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
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