First Baptist Church of Cabot is a GREAT COMMISSION church! Every year the church provides local, national, and international opportunities to serve on God’s mission field. Recently we had a team return from a one week service trip to Guatemala. The Women’s Ministry has reached out to a member of that team, Mrs. Julie Shumway, and she has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us. We hope that this will wet your appetite and inspire you to be involved in missions through praying, giving, and going.
For those in the church that have not had the opportunity to meet you, tell us a little bit about yourself?
My husband Bryan and I have three children. Rebekah is 9 and in the 4th grade, Alex is 8, in the 2nd grade and Emma is 6 and in Kindergarten. This is our second time living in Cabot. We were here with the Air Force back in 2000-2004 then after 5 years away we moved back in 2009 and have been coming to First Baptist since then. I have a degree in Elementary Education and I have a heart for children, I have enjoyed teaching both Sunday school and VBS. Our family is currently attending Sundays at Chapel Hill where I teach in the 2nd hour elementary Sunday school class.
How did you know that God was calling you to Guatemala?
Our family lived in Ecuador for 2 years and God gave me a love for Latin American culture and a heart for the people. I knew God was going to use my experience in Ecuador through missions at some point I had been praying that God would make it clear to me when I should go. I read in the bulletin one Sunday about a trip to Guatemala to do a VBS and I knew immediately that I was supposed to go.
Was this your first mission trip?
This was my first foreign mission trip. I spent the summer of 1996 in Yosemite as an Innovator with the SBC.
For the moms out there, Julie has young children at home. Julie, were you nervous about leaving your kids? What would you say to other mothers who are contemplating mission work but are apprehensive about leaving their children?
I was not nervous about leaving my children. I have a very capable husband and I knew they were in good hands. Honestly, I’m an Air Force wife, I have had many times when my husband has been deployed or away for a few weeks at a time – I was looking forward to my turn away! 🙂
My advice to other mothers that might be apprehensive about leaving their children is to remember that this is what God has planned for you and He will take care of your kids!
How did you prepare yourself spiritually for the trip?
I didn’t do anything extra special. I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God to guide me in doing His work.
In the mornings a group of us would go visit houses of members/attenders or prospective attenders to pray with and encourage to come to church. Most of the people we visited were already believers, but had not been coming to church for some reason or another. Some of them were struggling with their faith because of harsh circumstances in their lives. We were able to encourage and pray with them. This was the part I was most nervous about and I kept asking God to let me know when I was supposed to say something – and I never felt led to share the first two days and I thought “What is wrong with me” On the third day we visited a group of four families that had about 14 children all together. When our leader asked if anyone would like to share something I started talking before I even had time to think. I shared my testimony, and challenged the kids that if any of them, as I had, knew Jesus was their Savior but had not given their life to him, that they need to make that step of making Jesus Lord of their life. It was amazing to me to realize how God was using me at just the right time, that someone there needed to hear that message at that time.
The other part of our ministry was the VBS in the afternoon. I led the singing and I was so blessed to be able to use my knowledge of Spanish to sing with the kids in their language – I also enjoyed just talking to and joking around with the kids and loving on them without the language barrier. It was a blessing to me.
The men also built two walls in the church to make two rooms. I really wasn’t involved in this operation!
Do you feel that God equipped you for what you were asked to do while you were there?
Yes. I didn’t necessarily feel completely equipped when I left for Guatemala, I answered the call and made myself available to Him and then He equipped me when I needed it.
Please share with us how you perceived God to be working in Guatemala.
The Christians in Guatemala are passionate about Jesus. They are working against the Catholic church and the deep rooted traditions and superstitions that the people there have. The Christians there are passionate about telling those who have these false ideas of salvation, the truth of the Gospel of grace. It is inspiring to see their passion.
The church and people we visited were thankful and blessed by our being there.
How did this trip effect your growth as a Christian?
It reminded me that it is all about God – He uses us to do His work, but it is all Him. Also, it made me realize I can do more here where I live – reach out to people who are struggling and need encouragement or need to hear the gospel. And again, even though I may not feel equipped I have been reminded that God will give me what I need when I need it, I just need to step out in obedience.
Thank you Julie for your willingness to serve. It is always wonderful to here testimonies about how God uses yielded hearts for His divine purposes.
To find out more about how you can be involved in our global mission effort contact Pastor Dick Avey at 501.843.5472 or send him and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20