Missy Ward, McAfee School of Theology student and recently commissioned CBF field personnel, talks about her journey with CBF. Perhaps her story can help to encourage you if you are looking to find ways to plug into CBF life. Missy shares her story below as a part of a new series on CBF Young Baptists.
At General Assembly, I was commissioned as CBF field personnel to serve as the Refugee Women’s Advocacy Coordinator in Kampala, Uganda. It seems surreal that moment is almost here. I have dreamed of this day since I first served alongside CBF field personnel, Fran Stevenson and Rick and Lita Sample in Fremont, CA through Student.Go. I had no idea what CBF was before that summer. All I knew was that it was a Baptist organization that had missions opportunities for students. Little did I know at that time how much these three little letters would have a profound impact on my life.
That summer, I was enlightened to a different way of doing missions than which I had previously experienced- taking seriously Christ’s mandate to serve with and among the “least of these.” Student.Go gave me the first opportunity to engage in a ministry that was in line with my vocational calling- ministry amongst refugee women. That summer, I had the opportunity to learn from, be mentored by, and ultimately become family with the CBF field personnel with whom I was serving. They shared guidance, wisdom and encouraged me greatly in my calling. By the end of the summer, I felt that CBF was an organization and family that I wanted to be a part of and belong.
I continued to participate with Student.Go every opportunity that I had. I had the privilege of serving with Student.Go in California one more summer and in Uganda one semester and one summer. Overall, I have spent 12 months serving through the Student.Go program. Through these service opportunities- God changed my life in profound ways and my life was “ruined” forever.
I could no longer live life the same. God used these experiences to break my heart for women whose lives had so profoundly been impacted by the traumatic experiences of war and conflict in our world. These women were no longer a statistic, article, or news story- they are my students, friends and family. Through our time, we laughed together, cried together, learned together and walked through life together. They deserved to be treated with the equality and respect in which every person deserves. Although the stories of their experience carry the weight of unimaginable tragedy, the joy, hope and resilience which God has given them is even more profound. The reality is, I cannot imagine doing anything else but pack everything that I have ever known to move across the world to minister with and among East African female refugees. This is the work that I have been called to by God. It is the work of my heart.
Over the last four years, God has edified and refined this calling of my heart within the context of the CBF community. This calling has been affirmed and nurtured by many people within my CBF family who have prayed for and mentored me along the way. Still, there are many who I have not met who faithfully prayed for me, as a Student.Go intern, and others during our time of service. It was an honor and privilege to be amongst the larger fellowship family at General Assembly as I was commissioned to be the hands and feet of Christ to refugee women in Uganda.