When you say “Yes” to God…Buckle up!
An A&M grad and CPA, I started my career in public accounting in Fort Worth out of college. Picking a challenging major with good job security was typical of me, and I enjoyed the mix of people and numbers, as well as being back in Fort Worth close to family. About 6 and a half years later, I felt the need for a job change and to find a better work/life balance. I landed in the accounting group at a manufacturing company that allowed me a change of pace and also some new and interesting work.
While I had never thought of myself as a missionary or ever planned to go on a mission trip, my church began planning a trip to Northern Malawi, Africa in early 2017. As the announcements persisted, I felt God saying “and why not you?”. Being practical, I thought through all the reasons that it wasn’t ME that was supposed to go, but I really couldn’t think of many! It seemed actually a perfect time in my life to go as a single adult, no kids, and a job that would allow me to go for 2 weeks. So then, it was the moment of truth. “Jessica, do you trust me enough to go to Malawi to see what I will show you even if you don’t know what that is?”
Having decided to go on the trip, I felt a peace about going and as we prepared for the trip, repeatedly saw confirmations that I had made the right decision to take the leap! Our 2 weeks in Malawi were wonderful and also filled with a whole mixture of emotions – joy, anxiety, excitement, frustration, exhaustion, peace, fellowship, laughter and others! On our return, I couldn’t tell immediately how the trip had changed me. Though I had had an amazing life experience and saw God in new ways, I came back still feeling like this time in my life of freedom to GO surely had a purpose beyond my “safe” life plan.
Through months of prayer, conversations with friends and new contacts, I cast a wide net and asked God to show me the next steps, whatever they would be. In those months, my type A, planner, goal-setter self was really challenged to let go of the control that I naturally want but don’t have! Finally, following advice from a friend to “rest in the uncertainty”, I threw in the towel and said “Ok, God, I don’t need to know. I’ll wait on you.”
Just two weeks later, I learned about this opportunity in Uganda to serve with SAMS. New to missions, I was surprised to find an opportunity as a missionary that would use my business skills and background! I had been interested in working with college students, was feeling a call to be more involved in ministry in some way, have always had an interest in starting a small business coming from a family of entrepreneurs, and had been interested in exploring a passion for teaching. Understanding that I could never have dreamed this up on my own, I came to see God’s hand all over it and heard again in my heart the question, “Will you trust me enough to GO?”
At Uganda Christian University, I will be serving with SAMS missionary Mary Chowenhill who teaches economics and practical entrepreneurship at UCU. I’ll be working with students in the entrepreneurship degree program to further develop their small business plans and assisting the other Entrepreneurship faculty, as needed. With one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world, creating jobs through entrepreneurship in Uganda could hopefully lead to a reduction in poverty and empower young people to use their talents and resources to improve the future for themselves and their communities.
In the months of preparation to go, God has continued to “make the way” at every turn, reaffirming often that He is leading. Looking back at this journey so far, I’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness and hold on to the certainty that He is leading me step by step as I go to Uganda in early May!
“When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
…The Lord will fulfill his purpose in me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:3,8
Thank you for reading and following my ministry!
This is an exciting time for our ministry, but we are not doing this on our own! The name of our mission organization, Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, speaks volumes. Missionaries cannot go without senders – partners who share the vision and value the call. Our call is to be His hands and feet in the capital city of the world’s largest Muslim nation! We are incredibly humbled by and grateful for the outpouring of gifts and spiritual care from our family and friends. As we follow where God leads, we have two immediate needs.
Firstly, we need prayer for protection, provision, wisdom, and mercy. We hope that everyone we know and every church that is connected with us will pray for us on a regular basis. Secondly, we need an abundance of senders. In order to stay long term on the mission field in Jakarta with our family of six, we need to raise $4,500 in monthly support. We know you are thinking it will take a miracle and it will… but that is the beauty of it. God gets all the glory as we watch Him do what only He can! In fact, generous partners have already committed to 25% of our total support!
If you like visuals, check this out!
We have reached the end of the semester, thanks be to God. However, this also means that I have some marking to do.
So, I have about two inches of papers to mark, plus the 17 assignments that were submitted via email.
I also have a lot of coffee. Thanks be to God.
Bishop Skilton (our retired assistant bishop) loves to remind us that God is good, all the time. My last quarterly asked you to consider God’s call to you in helping my neighbors with their housing needs and God moved many to help, raising over $7,000 for this project, without limiting the gifts for the regular ministry. THANK YOU! We have been handing out applications for assistance and are starting to look at the returned applications and visit the homes to see how we can best help. Please pray for God to guide us in our decisions as to whom and how to help. This is our most recent project, Avida’s house before and after.
Teaching continues to be my primary focus in terms of physical therapy ministry. This spring term I have 3 classes all of them in the new curriculum which started in January 2014. Most of the terms since then, I have had a new class to prepare and this is no exception. Many of those classes I taught only once or twice, but we have reached the point where the three neurology classes are now open. Many of those classes have had the same core group of students. In this picture, we are working on wheelchair mobility tasks to better help patients who have neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injuries.
It is close to the time for my next home ministry assignment and I am planning to return to Colorado for the fall term. My hope is to visit supporting churches and share in person about how God is working in the DR, during the months of September through December. It is a short time to visit everyone, and some visits will need to be creative, as there won’t be enough Sundays to visit all on Sundays. We can start the rough sketch of planning anytime now, with details firmed up closer to the time. Please pray that God is in control of all that will take place during this home ministry assignment.
Thank you for your support for this ministry! May God bless and guide you in all you do.
Cathy Donahoe is a SAMS Missionary and Physical Therapist serving in the Dominican Republic. You can support here