The Calling of The Unknown Brother

When I was eighteen I had the opportunity to visit a missionary couple in Peru. I traveled with them up and down the coast watching and engaging in ministry work with them. A few of our days were spent in Trujillo, where I stayed with Jim Elliot’s older brother, Bert, and his wife, Colleen. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were my all time heroes. So, I was shrieking inside like a fan girl at the Elliot’s home. At that point, Bert and Colleen, had spent fifty plus years of ministry in Peru. They left for the jungles right after their wedding, and then eventually settled in the city of Trujillo. I had always idolized Jim, his life, work, and death, and aspired to be like him. But I had never even heard about the life of his brother and his work. Bert lasted much longer on this earth than Jim, and yet his story is not famous. He is the unknown brother.

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Close to the Heart of Christ

When I was younger I wanted to be a missionary. I had idealistic dreams of living somewhat rustically, learning a new language, and being in a far off land sharing and living the Gospel everyday. I went on three short-term mission trips, read many books on missions and missionaries, and went to hear missionary’s speak. Overseas missions work still has a place in my heart, but the Lord rerouted my life and kept whispering in my ear along the way.

Every time I picked up a brochure about overseas missions work I felt a gentle nudge of no from the Lord. I didn’t understand, but I listened. He kept showing me hints of His plan for me instead. The hints pointed in the direction of being in the ministry, but not in the way I imagined it. My part would be a supportive role; a hidden role at times. The Lord pointed me in the direction of marriage, but I was afraid of my gifts being squelched. I guess I liked the limelight more than I thought. Maybe I wanted a little more recognition.

No luck there. I finally met someone and the Lord smashed all my preconceived ideas of marriage and invited me to follow him, my Shepherd, into the uncharted territory of love and commitment. I put up a decent fight, but God is a much better fighter than I; he always wins. He wins, because he loves me and knows what’s best for me…I just needed to believe it.

My Unseen Ministry Opportunity

I married this ‘someone’ and realized this was my ministry: to support and help my husband in his already established ministry. His business is also a ministry by spreading the Gospel through art and music. We even went on a music tour/missions trip together last summer to Poland. This summer he will be going with a few other men to tour Europe on an outreach.

My ministry has also expanded to motherhood. I’m on the greatest mission field in my home as my husband and I start a family. I have the greatest influence on my son (and future children.) I’m not just my son’s mother. I’m his teacher, counselor, trainer, and evangelist. I have the opportunity to share Jesus with my son every day for the rest of his life. I get a unique opportunity to mold a human life. Right now it’s just nursing, diapers, and naps, but soon he will understand more and I can slowly teach and share with him. I am still living the Gospel every day.

I was naive to think my only way of living and sharing the Gospel was overseas. Every day I lay down my life for my son by changing another poopy diaper. Jesus washed his disciples feet, I wash my son’s bottom; both an act of humility and servant hood. By putting my son first I’m showing him and others that Jesus put others first by dying on the cross. He did not think of his own convenience or comfort and neither should I. Every day I deny myself these two things, I’m pointing to something much greater than I.

Mother Missionary

Make no mistake motherhood is a mission field. It is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard to think of others first and it’s hard to have almost the same routine everyday, scrub the same toilet every week (or more), wash the same dishes every day, do the same laundry every day, and the list goes on. My ministry is as hard and rigorous as training to be an overseas missionary. It’s hard, because it’s refining and character building for me. It’s hard to not always get recognition or a medal for what I do, but that’s part of my ministry as a wife and mom. I’m serving behind the scenes to make others great. This lifestyle is as close to the heart of Christ as one can get.