World Mandate is more than a conference. It is a catalyst into the dreams of God. Year after year, peoples’ hearts are captured as they learn more about what God is doing in the world around us, and they are invited to be a part.
A few years ago, two missionaries from Antioch Norman had their lives changed by encounters they experienced at World Mandate. We had a chance to connect with them and hear their story. Check it out:
Tell us a little about yourselves:
Ashley: Adam is from Fort Worth, Texas and I grew up in Mexico City since my parents were workers with the IMB (International Mission Board). We both grew up in Christian homes and our parents loved Jesus a lot, so we both came to know Jesus relatively early in our lives—Adam in his youth group when he was 13 and me at home around Christmastime when I was eight-years old.
How did you get connected to Antioch?
Ashley: We both went to school at the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and that same year, Antioch planted a church in Norman. I had an older friend invite me to attend Antioch Norman my first Sunday in town and I loved it.
Adam: I hopped around a few churches during my first semester, but one Sunday I attended Antioch and the pastor talked about Lifegroups, the lifeblood of the church. He shared about how Lifegroups are based on Acts 2:42-47 and that surprised me. Years before, I felt like God said Acts 2:42-47 were verses that would mark my life. So, I decided that Sunday that I would get plugged in with Antioch.
So, your family is currently living in Southeast Asia. When did you decide to move there, and how did World Mandate play a part in your journey?
Ashley: We had separate encounters with God at World Mandate in 2011. While asking God about the nations, I saw a picture of Southeast Asia in my mind, but I didn’t really know what it meant.
Adam: For me, I had a vision of jungle mountains, villages and people. It was so detailed that I could see the specific structure of the houses and the type of clothing the villagers were wearing. I saw various encounters in this vision occur: villagers worshipping God on a mountaintop, people eating around a low-sitting table and a skin disease being healed. It ended with a strange two-syllable word; I had never heard these syllables before, nor seen anything like this place. I continued to worship until the service ended, and when I returned to my hotel I searched for the things I had seen and heard. As I searched, I learned about an ethnic group living in the mountains of Southeast Asia. They were unreached and unengaged, according to Joshua Project. When I searched images of this people, amazingly, the images matched those of what I saw during worship, right down to the style of houses and the type of clothing.
Ashley: When we got married, we decided together that we would look into moving to Asia. At the time, no one was in the area we wanted to go to, but Antioch Norman was looking to send people to a different country in Southeast Asia, so we jumped on board. We’re still not in the nation we hope to ultimately be in, but we’re believing that our time here will be fruitful, we will learn helpful strategies and meet people who will partner with us in the future.
That’s amazing! Living in the nations isn’t easy, but what makes it worth it?
Ashley: One of the things we both love seeing is people grasp small truths of God. We have many friends who are unbelievers and have no real grasp of Biblical truth or understanding of the Good News of Jesus. In these instances, we try to identify ourselves as followers of Jesus by inserting truths about God, stories from the Bible or testimonies of His goodness in regular conversation.
Adam: One example was with our neighbor, Amorn. During a conversation we were having, he asked the meaning of my name, Adam. I proceeded to talk about how it means, “of the Earth” and how God created Adam from the dirt of the earth and His breath. In our country, it’s very common and important to have a nickname, usually one syllable, partly due to the fact that full names can be very long. A few weeks after my conversation with Amorn, he approached me and asked if I had a nickname yet. I said that I did not have one, at which point he said, “Good, I have the perfect one for you. Your nickname can be ‘dirt.’” I asked him why he chose such a strange name, and he responded like this: “Well, you said that God made Adam out of the earth, and since your name is Adam, your nickname should be dirt, because God made you from the dirt.” It was amazing how inserting a simple spiritual story in our conversation caused our neighbor to grasp something about God that stuck with him weeks later, and opened up the opportunity for further conversation.
What would you tell people considering going to the nations?
Ashley: Orient yourself to be a servant and a learner. If you come in with all the answers and a desire to lead others, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to identify with important aspects of Jesus’ character—He was God in the flesh; He had all the answers, and still He came not to be served, but to serve. If you only want to teach, but not learn, you may overlook or neglect what Jesus desires to do in you. Lastly, examine your motives — come onto the field because you have received a Great Commission assignment from God. Do it because it’s what He’s telling you to do. Don’t do it because you feel like as a believer, or even as a member of Antioch, it’s what you’re “supposed to do.” It’s definitely not easy to be overseas, working cross-culturally, away from family and things that feel comfortable. But if God has called you to go, He’ll give you the grace to walk out each day, come whatever crazy situations.
We believe God has something for you at World Mandate. He wants to dream His dreams through you. Will you take a weekend to learn more about what God is already doing and allow Him to speak about how He wants you to be a part?
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