Not a Typical Missionary Calling

After years of running from the Lord, this couple was finally burdened to fully follow Christ—and to leave home.

From Message magazine issue "2020 Candidate Issue"

Ten-year-old Angela racked her brain as she tried to recollect and confess every sin throughout the week so that she might not go to hell if she suddenly perished.

This was a typical exercise for Angela, as her family followed a false Christianity centered on good works. Long hair, ankle-length dresses, and minimum makeup were part and parcel of a religion that was fixated on the exterior—this “gospel” had nothing to do with the heart.

But over time, Angela grew weary of such a rigid lifestyle.

“When I was 15, I cut my hair, and my mom cried and cried,” Angela said. “I wanted to get out, and my parents respected that wish and let me live how I wanted to.”

Almost a decade later, Angela reluctantly agreed to accompany her parents to the Baptist church they had started attending after she graduated from high school. Angela ran into Robert at the church, whom she had known from growing up.

Despite being raised in a Christian household with parents who were active in the church, Robert didn’t place his trust in Christ until his senior year in college. He plugged into a church and began reading the Bible regularly. After graduation, Robert returned home and started working in the church, which included overseeing short-term missions.

By the time he reunited with Angela, Robert had been serving within the church for several years, gradually stoking a passion for missions. They were married within a year of dating, and the overseas ministry dream fell by the wayside as Robert continued his student ministry responsibilities.

Ten years flew by, and in the busyness of life and career, Angela still hadn’t surrendered her life to the Lord. But after her diagnosis of chronic back pain, she fell into deep despair. While listening to a sermon, Angela realized that she wasn’t just broken but dead in her sin. She accepted Jesus as her Lord that night through tear-stained eyes.

Over the next three years, missions came to the forefront of the Jacksons’ lives as God opened their eyes to an eternal perspective. Temporal pleasures became less and less attractive.

Despite joking that they would never serve in a non-English-speaking country, Robert and Angela found themselves gravitating toward Portugal in 2019. Today, they are hoping to arrive in Portugal by spring of 2022.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about the Jacksons’ ministry here.

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