USA (InterVarsity/MNN) — If God is calling you to serve Him in China, obedience could be a risky step for you in 2016.
And yet, obedience is exactly what Gillian Edube advises. Edube is co-founder of Global Link Africa, and she also spoke at last week’s Urbana 15 conference.
In a recent blog, Edube issued the following “words of wisdom” to Urbana 15 participants:
“Take the next step—don’t take a huge one, don’t look very far. I have learned the will of God is not hidden. It’s not very far. I have learned to obey him for what he’s telling me to do today. And that becomes a stepping-stone to the next thing, to the next thing and the next thing.
“Maybe it’s something small in your campus, to walk with your neighbor, or do a short-term mission, or write an article. Do what you need to do now. But obey today.”
These are Gillian Edube’s words of advice for Urbana 15 participants as they head into the final day of the conference. They are words she has lived by since first becoming a Christian as a high school student in Kenya. They are words she still lives by today as one of the founders of Global Link Afrika, an indigenous mission organization based in Uganda.
Gillian describes herself as someone who says yes to God. “I don’t say no. It’s very hard for me to say no. I will doubt. I will fear, but I will follow.”
Ironically, her very first yes, the one that ignited her faith, had a condition attached.
“God called me through my gifting of a good voice. In high school, the Christian Union had no one who could sing, so they asked me if I would come and lead worship. I said yes, provided you don’t pursue me to become a Christian.”
Usually, Gillian would lead in worship and then leave the meeting. But one day, a speaker insisted the worship team sit and listen to his teaching. “That’s when I heard the truth. I gave my life to Jesus,” she said.
In university, Gillian became a leader with the Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS) in Kenya. “I was mentored; I was really helped by FOCUS staff to grow. They took me to conferences, provided Bible training. I was really, really growing.”
When she graduated, FOCUS invited her to a one-year term as a student worker. Her answer was yes.
At the end of that year, Gillian intended to find a job in business, putting her university degree into practice. But she was invited by FOCUS to do student work in Norway for one year.
She said yes.
In Norway, Gillian met the man who would become her husband, a Ugandan student on the same mission. After they were married, they returned to Uganda and Gillian intended to find a job in banking. But, once again, she was invited to join FOCUS.
And once again, she said yes.
Part of Gillian’s assignment was to organize mission conferences for students. And that’s when she encountered an obstacle. Many students were eagerly responding to God’s call on their lives, saying, “Here I am, God, send me.” But Gillian and her colleagues had nowhere to send them. They could place a few on month-long missions, but that was not enough. They needed more.
So Gillian began approaching mission agencies in Uganda, asking them to accept students to serve with them. Time and time again she was told, “We don’t recruit Ugandans.”
“We wanted organizations on the ground, places where we could send our young graduates who were so passionate about mission,” she explained. “But there was no particular organization that could help. We kept telling each other, we need to do something. We are the only people who can do something.”
Gillian was just 30 years at the time. “We boldly decided we would start connecting young people who wanted to serve the Lord to opportunities. We would train them to be missionaries, equip them, and send them. How, we don’t know, but we will do it. And we started.”
Three years later, Global Link Afrika is doing just that. Focusing on healthcare, they are placing young graduates in small communities where there is great need, spiritually as well as physically.
“It’s very risky to be indigenous. It’s very tough but it’s important because the Global South must wake up,” she said.
“The Global South has waited for missionaries for as long as we have lived. And missionaries have come and churches have been built, but the African church is not engaging in global missions. We are trying to work with churches to help them understand they need to stop parking people in churches. We are trying to say it’s time to send.”
As she prepares to leave Urbana, Gillian offers the same message to everyone at the conference.
“God is still sending. Be keen to know where God is sending you. It’s not mysterious. If you are obeying, he is there. He will help you.”
Pray students at Urbana will take this message to heart. Organized by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Urbana 15 is the largest student missions conference in North America.