When God called us to be missionaries, we had some misgivings, but not the ones that you might expect. We didn’t mind the thought of living in a foreign country, being far from family, or even having to learn another language. Sure, those things would be difficult, but those aspects of missionary life weren’t what gave us pause. Instead, we asked ourselves, “Does Liam have to be a pastor if we want to serve overseas? Can we combine Liam’s passion and talent for media and storytelling with our desire to be missionaries?” While we felt passionate about reaching the nations with the gospel, we didn’t feel very gifted in preaching or leading a church. We felt like we were gifted in other areas. Could God still use us?
Liam began an interest in storytelling through photography in college, and he changed his minor to photojournalism to further develop his skills. He continued pursuing this field with an internship in photojournalism with a missions organization after graduating. Soon he started exploring videography and discovered a passion and talent for that method of storytelling. He used videography to earn extra income while we lived in Louisville. During this time, we were also working towards moving overseas as career missionaries. The time came to select a position and we felt divided. We wanted to be a part of planting churches among unreached peoples, but we also wanted Liam to continue using his media skills. Could we do both?
God in his faithfulness provided a position where Liam works in a media office helping other missionaries with their media needs. In addition, we partner with the local church to make disciples and plant new churches. Although we live in a different country, our weekly routine looks very similar to our routine in the US: Liam goes to work and gets to do what he loves to help others. We attend a local church and are building friendships with believers. We also build relationships with nonbelievers so that we can share the Good News of the gospel with them.
We are just one family out of many who are seeking to use the gifts and skills God has given us to live overseas. The list includes doctors, teachers, accountants, baristas, graphic designers, business managers, musicians, athletes, artists, and more! These friends didn’t stop using their gifts when they became missionaries, rather they are using their gifts to be missionaries. Their gifts give them access to countries and communities that would otherwise be closed to traditional mission work. People who might not talk to a pastor will talk to a fellow businessman or their local barista. Through holistic relationships with believers, people around the world are seeing the beauty of following our God who wants to use every part of our life.
Using your gifts overseas comes with challenges, too, and the challenges are similar to what many Christian professionals face in the US. Continuing to work full-time as a videographer means that Liam keeps typical office hours and maintains a busy Monday-Friday work week. This limits the amount of time that he can devote to ministry and evangelism. Just like any family in the US, we seek to strike a balance between work, family, and ministry, and we try to combine them all whenever possible to maximize our time. For example, Liam might work from a coffee shop or co-work space so that he can meet others and build relationships. Or we might take evening walks in our neighborhood so that we get quality family time while also providing opportunities to deepen friendships with our neighbors.
What About You?
What skills, talents, and passions has God given you? Who do you have access to because of your job or hobby? How is he calling you to use your gifts to reach the nations? You don’t have to wait until you move to a foreign country! We are confident that you can leverage your passions right now to bless others and spread the hope of the gospel in Louisville. And, maybe, one day you can do the same as a missionary.