Joining God’s mission
February 27, 2023 / By Rev. Olga E. Gonzalez, Racial Ethnic Missionary
Are you feeling a call to be a missionary? My call to missions goes back to when I was a child. I grew up listening the testimonies of my uncle Miguel Gonzalez, who has been a missionary for more than 50 years. He’s now a missional pastor in Costa Rica along with his wife Sara. He was always receiving pastors and friends at my grandmother’s house, where I spent much of my childhood, to share about what God was doing in the lives of many people, through the Word of God. There I was, a young girl listening to the Word of God and his mission. That touched my heart.
It was 1998 when I went to a COMIBAN mission conference that I experienced God’s call to missions. In 1999, the Lord brought into my life a missionary from Colombia, who connected a group of us with a mission in Bogota and God’s adventure with missions began by going to our first short-term trip to Bogota, Colombia. I will never forget that experience. We visited men and women rehab centers, homes for children at risk of abandonment, and churches to learn and to share the Word of God. That was the beginning of more short-term mission trips to Colombia. In 2003-2004 we lived in Bogota, and we went back in 2005-2006 for a year and a half serving a home for girls at risk of abandonment. What a blessing! After that there was a time of silence on missions. Back then I did not know about the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
On New Year’s Eve 2011 I began praying to God about missions and seeking God’s will to go back to mission work. On January 17th, 2012, the Lord’s answer came by an email from a Colombian friend from Syracuse. I was in Puerto Rico at that time. She made a connection with Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell at Brown Memorial United Methodist Church who was looking for a Church and Community Worker (one of the missionary types of Global Ministries). Remember, when you pray with your heart seeking God’s will, God will answer. So, I served four years with the Syracuse Westside Urban Mission. After planting a new Hispanic faith community in Syracuse,with Rev. Swords-Horrell and my husband Alexis, God called me into pastoral ministry. I served the Hispanic Ministry Casa de Dios, Cicero United Methodist Church, and Lyndonville United Methodist Church. But guess what!?
We are currently back in missions with the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church as a Racial Ethnic Missionary. We are serving with the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. As part of my mission service, I am the pastor of Casa del Pueblo a Hispanic Faith Community mission of the Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.
By sharing my experience, I would also like to invite you to join God’s mission. It is very important today more than ever. Jesus says in Matthew 9:35-38 “And Jesus went throughout all cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”
That is my prayer for you. If you are praying to do God’s will, you can become a missionary through the Global Ministries and be God’s light to this world. For more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to umcmission.org. You will need the affirmation from your local congregation and from the Board of Global Ministries of the Upper New York Conference. I along with other members of the board will meet with you to make a recommendation to the General Board of Global Ministries.