Amanda Painter felt the call to missions at a young age, and her passions and numerous short-term experiences confirmed her calling to go into it long-term. As she is preparing to go, she sat down with us to share her heart and give encouragement to others who may be exploring missions.
When did you feel God’s call to missions?
From a young age, I had a heart for vulnerable children from the Lord. And so, my baby dolls, I would always pretend that they were like my orphans that I was caring for, I sponsored a child through Compassion International in elementary school, and so just honestly from a young as I can remember, I’ve had a desire for children to know that they are precious and loved by Him – and specifically for vulnerable children to be aware of that factor.
So when I was in high school, I had a diagnosis of a brain tumor that was very unexpected and ended up, just throughout that whole medical process, having peace in knowing that God was in control and that He had put a calling, a heart’s desire, in my life from early childhood, and that hadn’t come to fruition yet, so that His plan for my life was not yet done.
And so then went on to do short-term and mid-term missions through my college years, and through each of those experiences God really further affirmed His call in my life to do missions. But also, He really showed me – and each of my missions trips were focused on different models of caring for vulnerable children – and through each of those models it became clearer to me, with each experience, that nothing can replace the family, and that not every child is going to get a physical family this side of eternity, but every child can know their preciousness in God’s eyes through being part of a spiritual family and accepting Him as their Heavenly Father.
And so that really became my focus, that every child would know that they are adored and loved by God, and that happens by going to them and being the hands and feet and loving them and holistically caring for them, making sure their needs are being met, and through that for them to experience and know God’s love for them. Yeah, and for the Gospel to be made known ultimately and breaking the chains of bondage for future generations of children.
In preparation for long-term missions, how are you living missionally while you’re here at home?
I’m striving to live missionally by being open-handed in my time, my resources, praying for missionaries who are already on the field. I think for me one thing I pray for regularly is that God would give me eyes to see and ears to hear for the vulnerable around me, and that He would then give me the boldness to step towards them in love.
And so there is a guy who’s living homeless on my way to work, and so I make it a point to – I can’t fix the poverty or the other things he’s shared with me, that addiction, things like that going on in his life – but I can be a relationship to him that points him to Jesus. And so whenever I see Steven, I always ask him, you know, what’s been going on that day? How can I be praying for him? And I ask him what does he need? And he actually, he doesn’t ask for money from me at this point. When we first talked that’s what it was, but now he’ll say, “I really could use a pair of Long Johns.” So, ok for Christmas I got him a pair of Long Johns, wrapped them up and gave it to him.
And so I think just having eyes and ears that are sensitive to the vulnerable right here in our local community and relationally engaging with them in a way that will express God’s love. And so, he also knows that I memorize Scripture in my car – I’ve got notes in there – and so I’ll share what verse I’m memorizing with him and things like that.
What encouragement would you give to someone who is considering doing missions?
My encouragement is that as a Christ-follower you are an image-bearer of Christ. And so it’s not a matter of if you are supposed to do missions, but who is around you right now that you can be missional to.
And one of my favorite verses I want to share is Isaiah 61, and it says,
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…”
And if you are in Christ, then you have the Spirit of the Lord on you, and you get to be a part of this great work. And for me, God has given me a heart for justice missions, to be proclaiming freedom for the captives. And so it’s now your opportunity to find out in what ways has God gifted you so that you get to be a part of His missional plan. Not a matter of if you get to be a part of it, but how and to whom.
And so look around right now, maybe there’s people in your workplace, in your family, in your friend group, even in our local church community right here that you can be missional with. And as you go on mission – and what I mean by that in this context right now is just loving people so that they may come to know the good news of Jesus, the Gospel – then your path with become clearer and God will grow your heart for a people group, He’ll reveal your giftings to you, and do this in community with others so that they can help guide and direct your path.