The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” … So Abram went, as the Lord had told him … Genesis 12:1, 4
Coming home from work last summer, I suddenly felt I had about a year left of living in the Washington D.C. area or working my current job. Something needed to change but was not sure which one. A week later we were talking to our friends, who lived in Croatia. They told us about Croatia’s new Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers and the international school being established in Split, Croatia. Since my wife Rachel was a teacher and director of kids’ ministry at New Life Wesleyan, Alexandria, Virginia, she could easily fit into a classroom. It seemed like a door was opening for us to go to Croatia.
There have been times it was hard to know whether a feeling was just my desire or God speaking. What I’ve discovered is when God moves, he doesn’t speak to someone in isolation, he starts to simultaneously work in other people’s lives as well.
In dreaming and processing what our time in Croatia could look like, I had a conversation with Dave Drury. He let me know Global Partners was planning a pathway for people to work abroad and do ministry without becoming full-time fundraising missionaries called Global Marketplace Multipliers (GMM). Hearing this was being considered as an actual pathway for ministry was validating what God was beginning to speak to my heart.
I grew up as a traditional missionary kid with my parents being Global Partner missionaries in Colombia and Puerto Rico through my elementary and middle school years. I have many fond memories of being homeschooled and traveling with my parents for a full year, raising support from various churches. For the type of work my parents did, which included teaching at a Bible school and helping with the local churches, being a fundraising missionary made sense. There are still today roles where being a full-time missionary is what is needed.
But when we look at the need to fulfill The Great Commission, sharing the love and hope that Jesus brings with those around the world, we need way more people scattered across the globe.
Think about it. In most churches today, there are more volunteers serving at the church than paid staff. While there is a pastor, perhaps support staff, a worship director, youth and kid’s pastor, on any given Sunday there will be lots of volunteers — from the worship team to greeters and those sharing God’s love with the kids. Most of those people have jobs that put them in daily contact with a network of people. These volunteers lead small groups, serve in ministries and share Christ’s love with their community and their network. We need to find ways of taking this approach and applying it to missions around the world.
In the 20 years since I was a missionary kid, the way we work has changed — working remotely has become commonplace. Opportunities for taking jobs and doing them in another country have increased exponentially. Are we as Christians ready to take these changes and find ways of plugging into ministry opportunities around the world?
Doing so just requires saying “yes” to God when the opportunity comes and preparing for when God opens a door.
For me to be ready, I needed to simplify. I switched to a more flexible co-working space and began using more contractors who work remotely. My wife and I focused on paying off debts to have the financial freedom to go when the opportunity arose.
Saying “yes” to go hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it feels like we are walking in a dark, unfamiliar room, trying to find the light switch on the other side. All we can do is take things a step at a time. But every time we take a step of faith, God has been reaffirming things for us in ways that only he could.
After months of waiting, trying to decide which visa path to choose, we prayerfully determined to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa, regardless of whether Rachel’s teaching visa happened. Several days after that decision, we learned Rachel and our kids would be accepted at the school if she could volunteer because they currently hadn’t worked out the teacher visa. We had peace about the decision because we had already made it through prayer. It’s been amazing to see God answer those prayers in a way that only he can.
I have no doubt there are others who want to take their jobs abroad, become involved with missions and share God’s love with those around them. Perhaps, a little bit of encouragement and permission to know that God really wants to use that desire to spread his love is what is needed.
Some may be thinking that sounds great, but I have a job that won’t allow me to go abroad. Instead of saying it isn’t possible, ask yourself, “What would it take for me to be able to go abroad?” It might take several years of preparation but in the meantime continue to serve, invest in others as your grow and prepare for the next big opportunity to say “yes” to God.
To expand your imagination around being a global marketplace multiplier, read Dave Drury’s article, “The global economy is on the move … is the church?”
For more information about how to become a Global Marketplace Multiplier, click here.
Wesley Dean is a Global Marketplace Multiplier and video producer providing contract services to World Hope International, churches, nonprofits and faith-based organizations with a strong focus on cross-cultural work.
Rachel Dean is a Global Marketplace Multiplier who taught in Quito, Ecuador and Northern Virginia while serving as New Life Wesleyan Alexandria’s kids’ ministry director.
*Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.