From Google Maps to the Mission Field

Josh and Sarah weren’t always on the same page about missions. But one day, God began to change that.

From Message magazine issue "Christ in the Crisis"

“Lord, either take this desire away from me, or please change my wife’s heart.”

Josh muttered his prayer in frustration as he closed out of Google Maps. After spending the past hour on a virtual tour of Europe while waiting for his next client, Josh was torn between God’s call on his life to pursue missions and his wife Sarah’s reluctance.

Tensions had grown between Josh and Sarah since he first approached her to discuss ministry overseas. Sarah could not imagine being so far away from her loved ones.

“No one in my immediate family has ever moved more than an hour or two away from home, so moving out of the country was out of the normal for my family,” Sarah said.

The thought of leaving them behind was deeply unsettling. She also felt unworthy to become a missionary, a vocation in her mind that was reserved for “perfect Christians.”

Yet pastors and church planters continued to affirm Josh’s passion for the nations. Aware of Sarah’s hesitations, they encouraged Josh to continue praying and gaining experience. Josh began leading a Bible study and sharing the gospel with coworkers at his barbershop. If he

truly sensed a calling to conduct ministry overseas, what better place to start preparing than within his local community?

Josh soon felt exhausted from what seemed like a tug of war between God and Sarah pulling at opposite ends—with Josh in the middle. At work, after perusing maps of Europe on his phone, Josh finally laid his concerns at the Lord’s feet, asking God to either extinguish his ambition or change Sarah’s mind.

Josh returned home that night strangely relieved. Later, he and Sarah found themselves on the couch enjoying some precious solitude, their children now in bed.

Unprovoked, Sarah turned to Josh and said, “What do you think about moving to Europe?”

This was God’s answer. Sarah had not known that Josh had been praying specifically about Europe. The pair stepped out in faith by contacting ABWE, which Josh discovered while listening to The Missions Podcast.

“Over the past two years, God has done a 180 with my heart, completely turning it toward missions,” Sarah said.

Now, Josh and Sarah both share a passion for the nations and are currently preparing to serve as church planters in Portugal.

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