In this episode, Pastor Austin Gardner and Missionary Jonathan Anderson discuss his calling to Mexico, talk about the hardest points and the highest points in his ministry, and many more great insights into Jonathan’s life and ministry.

  • Jonathan’s Introduction
  • How did God confirm to you that you should be a missionary?
    • God gave me a desire to preach when I was 12
    • I was at the first ever Our Generation Summit
    • God really used that weekend to work in my heart
    • I surrendered to be a missionary there
  • How did He confirm to you that it should be Mexico?
    • I’ve been to Guatemala, Argentina, and Mexico a few times
    • I prayed for the Lord’s leading to where He wanted me
    • Through seeing the need and praying, the Lord lead me to Mexico
  • How much did your wife’s being practically Mexican have to do with it?
    • We weren’t a thing yet, so that didn’t actually have much effect yet
    • I didn’t meet her until after I already felt called to Mexico
  • What in your childhood prepared you to be a missionary?
    • I grew up in Christian home, and that was a big part of it
    • I was able to see missionaries even from a young age
    • My parents were very excited about my being called to preach
    • Every step of the way, felt like I really had their support
    • The Lord also put men in my life a certain stages to help encourage me
  • How did your family react when you told them you were going to be a missionary?
    • Excitement 
    • Joy
    • They were very excited that God called their son into the ministry
  • What about your siblings?
    • They have been excited too
    • They’ve all be very supportive
    • That’s really been a blessing to us
  • What would you say to a missionary whose parents are against all this?
    • Love them
    • Respect them
    • But also follow God and let the Lord direct you
    • Even if your parents are against your being a missionary, you need to follow the Lord
  • What about your wife’s family? 
    • Her dad was a pastor
    • From there, her family were missionaries in Mexico for six years when Rebekah was 10-16 years old
    • So going back to Mexico just felt very natural for her
  • Did her parents let her out of the house?
    • She was able to go out a lot 
    • She was able to experience Mexico
  • What book has been the most encouraging to you outside of the Bible?
    • The Master Plan of Evangelism Robert Coleman
    • I go back to it often 
  • If you could start over, what would you do differently?
    • I got to the field thinking that I knew more than I really did
    • I had to do more on-the-field learning than most guys should have to do
    • A lot of the things that I had to learn, I could have learned before I went to the field by getting more training
  • How long were you on deputation
    • About 3-3.5 years
    • I spent the first year single
  • What misconceptions did you have to overcome when you got to the field or on deputation?
    • I bought into a lot of the ideas that deputation is broken and doesn’t work
    • That really slowed me down 
    • Being around the team on furlough now has really helped and encouraged me
    • One of my biggest conceptions about the field was about the people
    • I had to learn to change a lot of the ways that I thought
  • What are some of the things you had to change?
    • I had to learn to not expect them to think like an American
    • I had to learn how they think and had to adapt to their way of thinking 
  • What is one of the funniest things that has happened to you in ministry so far?
    • Three months into my language learning, I took my blue suit to the dry cleaners
    • I came back a few days later without my receipt
    • My Spanish really was not very good 
    • I asked the lady to give me my blue dress back instead of suit
    • She had a great time with that
    • You have to learn to laugh at yourself in the language 
    • It’s fun if you’ll make it fun
  • What has been the hardest thing for you so far?
    • The things that are unexpected
    • Like a family leaving the church
    • Or someone turning on you
    • My wife lost a child on the field, and we thought that she might die from the miscarriage
  • Can you tell us about an answer prayer?
    • One of the biggest things is the men that God has given us
    • I prayed for God to send us men really early on even on deputation, and He answered
    • I acted on that prayer by faith and saw Him answer it
  • What part of being a missionary have you enjoyed the most?
    • The idea that you could be in another country, culture, and world and to see them get saved 
    • That has to be the greatest joy for me
    • As tired as I was at times, I was never tired of studying the Bible with people and seeing people changed by the Gospel
  • What advice would you give to those headed to cross-cultural ministry?
    • Try to leave your American mindset behind
    • That may be hard, but if you’re going to work in another culture, you have to be open to changing
    • You have to go in deciding to be the learner
    • You have to decide to ask them questions all the time 
    • Jesus spent thirty years becoming Jewish before He started His ministry! 
  • Do you have a missionary hero from the past?
    • Pastor Gardner is one of my heroes
    • I really appreciate him and everything that God has used him to do
    • The faith of the missionaries of the past is a big thing to me
  • What is your most treasured memory in ministry?
    • The opportunity to actually get to the field, learn the language, and see something started
    • Just thinking about what God has done in the past five years 
    • Even through all the trials in those years, it has been the most treasured time in my life
  • Are there any special people or groups in your field that has specially blessed you?
    • Really any group that is doing the work of God
    • The ones who have been the biggest encouragement are the guys on the VBM team
    • Just getting to be in constant contact with them and seeking insight from them has been a huge blessing
  • Closing Remarks
  • Challenge young people for just a minute
    • Young person, don’t hold back
    • Let God use your life
    • So often we’re passionate about many things but not about serving Christ
    • You have one life to live, and when you try to save it, you lose it, but when you give it, you save it
    • Reach out for help to see where God would have you and use you
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