I’m Ana Rosario, a Puerto Rican. I want to share with all of you the experience of my first Christian mission overseas. God calls each of us to sow seeds, so He can make them grow. Therefore, a missionary is one who is sent. A missionary has to be ready for any challenge, both, physically and spiritually.
Depending Only On God
At first, when I was searching for missions, I wanted to go to Europe, London, among others. However, God’s plan is always perfect and better than our own. He guided me to Ethiopia with Jesus Film Mission Trips (Campus Crusade for Christ). Furthermore, I remember that when I was 8 years old, I said to myself: “Someday, I would like to serve in Africa”. So, God heard me and used that for His Glory. The purpose of this mission trip was to train both, Ethiopians and Kenyans, so they can evangelize with the Jesus Film clips in the future. It was very enlightening to experience a Puerto Rican, Americans, Kenyans, Ethiopians; all gathered together praying in their own language.
In Ethiopia, we encountered opposition and a lot of challenges. One morning, we could not preach in the streets because there were protests outside where we were. They wanted us to stop evangelizing. We had to change the schedule that day, so we stayed and prayed. However, God is good all the time, so we went out in the afternoon and more than fifteen people in less than one hour accepted Christ as their one and only savior. Every time we went out to evangelize in the streets, a lot of people asked us to move and said that we cannot preach in this or that area. Many times we had to move. Also, we had to avoid big crowds, so we would not get called out of the place, which it happened one time. Some of us were kicked out of places with an axe or with just a phrase. We constantly prayed for God’s hand to guide us to the people He had already picked out for Him.
God Is In Control
One day, we went out to the streets to evangelize and preach the gospel. That day I was alone with one Kenyan and one Ethiopian. We worked together for God to be glorified. That was a challenging day. God led us to Muslims and Orthodox. We explained that we were not talking about religion and we were only talking about a relationship with Jesus. One Muslim was convinced, but did not accept Christ because there was another Muslim next to him, so the pressure was high. At least we planted seeds and showed them the prayer in case some day they would like to accept Christ, so they would know how to.
The Mercy of God
We were all walking in the streets searching for a place to eat dinner. We were not preaching in the streets in that moment, however, the mercy of God was present. We saw a disabled man without legs crawling in the streets. In Africa is very rare to see a person with a wheelchair. That man had his shoes on his hands and a hard material around his body, so he would not scratch his skin while crawling. God led us to him so we could preach the gospel to him. He accepted Christ as His savior. However, two seconds after that, we were surrounded by angry Muslims. They were yelling at us so we would stop talking about Jesus to that man. They did not want that man to decide on his own. We stepped back and prayed, meanwhile the Ethiopians would talk to the Muslims. The man kept on crawling and went away. We waited for the Muslims to go, so we could run to the man and give him a booklet explaining salvation. A Kenyan pastor and an American pastor were crying and overwhelmed by this event. We know God was protecting us and that He used us as instruments and messengers of eternal hope for that man.
God is Provision
One of the last days, we went out to preach the gospel in the streets with no translators. We did not find one for that day. We had a lot of rejections by not knowing the language and we kept on saying: “God help us we need a translator”. God led us to a born again Ethiopian Christian. She was thankful for what we were doing, so she walked with us to translate for us. We trained her in evangelism and she kept on translating. God provided in a great way and never left us alone. We encountered more born again Christians, so we explained to them how to preach the gospel, so they can preach in all of Ethiopia. That day more people came to Christ and we introduced the translator that God provided to the Ethiopian team, so they would preach together when we Americans were gone. That was a wonderful thing because God connected the dots.
Nighttime Film Showings
During these film showings I would play volleyball or soccer with the little kids. Also, I taught most of them Spanish, English, Bible stories and geography. The Americans gave their testimonies, two or three in every film showing. At the end, we would explain what happens after we accept Christ if any of the people in the crowd accepted Christ. We did the showings only inside the churches because we were not allowed, by official orders, to do the film showings outside. However, they made such an impact that a lot of people came in to watch because of curiosity and the loudness of the film sound. God did His job to call them in. In addition, some of us would go to the streets and invite people to the film showing too. Finally, more than 200 people accepted Christ, including Orthodox and Muslims, in only the two weeks that we were there. I have no doubt that God was with us all the time and that He controlled everything.
What Is Your Calling?
If you are called to be a missionary. Believe me, God will teach you what you need to learn and will guide you to a lot of places that you cannot even imagine. It’s a blessing to have such an experience and to actually see that God needs each part, ministry, nation to be a whole in Christ. Everyone is needed together as one for the purpose of God.