by Lori Witham
When the first two Pioneer Bible Translators families arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1977, I was graduating from high school and asking God to lead me into a career. As it happened, He eventually led me into word processing/secretarial work, but I had no idea He was preparing me for more in the future. So throughout most of my twenties, I was gaining experience in various word processing jobs.
When I was nearly thirty, my church had a Bible study based on the book, Unleashing the Church, by Frank R. Tillapaugh. This book stressed that the purpose of a church body is to work together to introduce people to Christ through everyone’s individual gifts.
God was truly speaking to me at this time, telling me He has given me a ministry equal to any in the church, which will enable others to be brought to Christ. Evangelists love to preach, teachers love to teach, and God has gifted me with my own unique ministry for the kingdom.
Our pastor suggested we each ask God what our gifts are. I prayed and listened for six months. I tried many church ministries, plenty of which had been started because of our Bible study. All were meaningful, but my heart had no burning desire for any of them. I continued to pray.
Finally God led me to realize my office skills are my gift. At the same time, I had a strong desire to work overseas, and God said, “I have work for you overseas using your office skills!” How exciting was that?! So after being trained in typesetting (word processing on steroids), I have worked since 1993 at the PNG office to enable translated books (both scripture and literacy material) to be published. I still love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.
So how would I encourage you? Give yourself to God to be used for kingdom growth. Pray that God show you what your ministry is. Don’t allow yourself to believe any excuse that you cannot be used.
PBT has needed workers in many ministries for years but it is always difficult to find willing workers. I would encourage you: if you open your heart to service to God, and He stirs up a fire within you, please don’t quench it with an excuse like, “I’m a nobody,” “I’m too young,” “I’m too old,” “I’m single,” “I have no money,” or “I can’t learn languages.” All God needs is your willingness and desire to serve. When He has that, He will use anyone in any circumstance to go anywhere and do anything He asks.
Continue to pray about your desire, be patient and wait, and He will make your path clear. Isaiah 48:17 says, “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’ ”
Lori is the Publications Department Administrator.