I took this verse seriously as a teenager. I gave my life to God. I surrendered and vowed I’d go anywhere and do anything God wanted me to do. As a college student I traveled what seemed like everywhere. A man named Charles Shelton was the leader of my first international mission trip. God sent Charles into my life at the right time. Charles gave his life to the Lord the day he retired from Coca-Cola. He led mission teams everywhere. He was like a grandparent to me. Sometimes we were traveling to encourage and revive a small church somewhere that was struggling. We planted a church together. We traveled overseas and I was able to speak what God laid on my heart. Every summer I served as a summer missionary. I worked for peanuts but God took care of me. Charles was instrumental in setting up a summer I worked in Puerto Rico. Charles became a great mentor to me. He hosted my friends and I in his home on the weekends sometimes. Charles took this verse seriously and so have I.
In 2001 I was in my last year of seminary and I had just been voted in as associate pastor for youth and families. Charles passed away right before. He was in his office planning more mission trips and an aneurysm burst in his brain. My first Sunday at work I sat in the pew thinking I wish Charles knew all of this. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “He knows.” Tears streamed down my face as I expressed my gratitude to the Lord for Charles, an old man who led me to serve God. Charles put me in circumstances I was even afraid of at times but I grew in my faith and ministry.
Odd that an old man would lead college students everywhere sharing the Gospel. Charles and I committed to go. We surrendered. What a wild ride we experienced together! I’d do it all over again! How about you? Will you go?