Rebecca Jefferson grew up in Church and was saved in her “tween” years. Then God called her to be a domestic missionary in the Northeastern United States. Here's how she got started.
Name + Contact Info
Where and what people do you primarily serve?
The people of the Baltimore-Washington area.
How do you serve those people?
Sharing the Gospel through visual sketch-board Gospel presentations in public forums and after school clubs and partnering with churches and like-minded believers to reach their communities for Christ.
When did you begin to realize that you had a heart for missions or ministry?
Probably when I was around 13 or 14 years old.
How and when did God lead you to this? How did you recognize His call?
By twelve years old, I was saved, but struggled with condemnation a lot over my salvation. Because of uncertainty over my salvation and fear, I didn't witness to people. But God convicted me of this and changed my heart. He made me want to do this all the time. I couldn't go anywhere without telling people about Jesus or giving them a Gospel tract. Soon, I realized I could do this for the rest of my life. I was fourteen years old when I told my parents I wanted to be a missionary for the rest of my life.
Did you have a clear and measurable goal for ministry?
Some of my goals I've laid out at https://midcitymissions.edifyhub.com/five-part-approach/. I am open to wherever God may lead me in the future. I can say that in order to share the Gospel in a larger capacity, I need to raise nearly $4800 a month. I work part-time, but would love to use most or all of the time that I work to share the Gospel. I would love to partner with fellow believers to make that happen.
What would you do differently if you were starting today?
There are several things I would do differently.
- Rely solely on the grace of God. Sometimes, when a dream is realized, it's easy to define yourself by the achievement of that goal more than what God has said about you in his Word. So when things went wrong, I defined myself by what the outcome of situations might be rather than Christ's own sacrifice for me on the Cross.
- Realize God has chosen you to do this. I didn't think I could do anything, so when the opportunity finally opened up to be a missionary-evangelist, let's just say I was in disbelief. But one mistake I made was that I got stuck there. I stayed in disbelief and doubt, and it really hindered me in the first year or so of being a part-time evangelist. I was constantly afraid of making a mistake instead of seeing what a gift God had given me in this opportunity and embracing it. I was also unsure of God's direction despite what he had clearly shown to me.
- Own it. This is similar to #2. Before doors began to open for me, I aspired to be an evangelist. After doors opened for me, I felt like an evange-failure. My fears held me back from truly taking advantage of this opportunity. I was frozen because I was too afraid of what others thought about me and what Satan said about me. If I had another chance to do things differently, I would have contacted churches asking them point-blank if I could speak for their groups or in front of their congregation. But I thought I might sound too forceful about it, and I was hesitant to speak in front of a church.
- Check yourself out, spiritually and mentally. The Bible says to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith and if God's Spirit is in you. Just because God may open a door for you to do a certain task doesn't mean you have it all together. In fact, in ministry, you will be in need of Christ even more than before. Satan will be sure to attack you. I think I underestimated the amount of spiritual assault that would come upon me and my family within the first year of joining Open Air Campaigners. The hardest times in my life thus far that I can remember have happened after I chose to be an evangelist with the organization. I don't regret my decision, but I wish I had taken more time to fortify myself with God's Word so I could have fought the Enemy back more effectively.
I also wish I would have checked myself for my now-diagnosed Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. I believe I had it since I was young. It has affected every single area of my life. Because I have a hard time following people in conversation and miss signals to properly understand context, I sometimes misinterpret what people are saying, which has caused confusion, frustration, and anger on my part. This problem showed itself soon after I joined OAC. By the grace of God, my condition is managed through medication, counseling, and prayer. I would encourage anyone, especially anyone considering joining the mission field, to seriously consider their mental health. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your colleagues whom you will affect through your emotions and actions.
How do you connect with new partners or supporters and stay connected with your existing partners?
I have a few ways of doing this. The Internet has made it so easy to stay connected with people interested in my work. I tend to email churches to ask if they would be interested in my newsletter. I also reach out to Bible studies and kid-friendly groups if they would be interested in a sketch-board Gospel presentation. One thing I love to do is to go witnessing with people whom I have met via social media or otherwise. This is a great way to build relationships and form evangelistic partnerships to reach the lost. Being part of a missions board like Open Air Campaigners has also been key to partner with churches to reach their communities. There are churches and people whom I may have never associated with had it not been for my branch director Tom Fox paving the way for those relationships.
What books, tools, or resources that are important to doing what you do?
The Bible, but I guess that's cheating 🙂 For books, The Way of the Master is a great model to follow in evangelism. I get many of my tools from Open Air Campaigners' online store (i.e., paints). The mission board itself supports me by helping to process donations I receive. Staff conferences truly reveal the heart of the organization, as well as what is being newly utilized by the ministry. See the below answer for more on this question.
How do you get ongoing training and coaching?
My branch director shows me sketch-board-related techniques and dos and don'ts of outreach and engagement and takes time with me to show me communication skills. He encourages me to reach out to others to gain support for my work and to become an evangelist who represents the Lord and the organization well.
What first steps or training would you recommend that others just starting out?
- Know your Bible well. It is a double-edged sword, and is to be used for teaching and instruction in righteousness. This is your #1 tool for evangelism.
- Preach the Gospel to yourself daily. This is something my pastor-father always says. You must know and have confidence in the Gospel in order to proclaim it and teach it to others.
- Expose yourself to sound Bible teaching. Don't listen to teaching that tickles your ears, but sermons that convicts you and inspires you to reach higher for Christ in your spiritual walk with Him.
- Surround yourself with compassionate believers who will tell you the truth. There is wisdom in an abundance of counselors, Proverbs says. It is easy to walk in pride, self-righteousness, and disobedience, and yet not know it. Having accountability is crucial.
- Don't forget the unsaved nearest you. The people in your life are your mission field. Reach out to them in word and deed. May your every action echo of Christ.
- Pray for the unsaved. You can't save the lost, but you can pray for them. This is how God operates in his universe. He responds to prayer.
- Get some great gospel tracts. There are good, as well as bad, gospel tracts out there. Websites like onemilliontracts.com and tractplanet.com have very sound gospel tracts for a reasonable price. There are some places where you can order tracts for free; the publishers may just ask you for an optional donation.
- Keep your options open. There are people all around the world who have never heard of Jesus, but ultimately, let God lead you. He knows how to use you and direct you to where you need to be.
- Immerse yourself in the lives of missionaries. Read missionary biographies, learn about current missionaries, support missionaries, pray for them, volunteer with them, send them letters. If they are coming back to the States on furlough, reach out to help them. One great place to volunteer to help missionaries is Siloam Missionary Homes in North Carolina; they help missionaries coming back from overseas. Also, there are organizations like OAC who love volunteers because it helps us to further the Gospel. Check for OAC branches in your area who you can help volunteer with. I wrote an article on how important it is to help missionaries in https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/10/the-mission-in-missionaries/
- Take evangelism courses and seminars. Open Air Campaigners offers a weeklong Sketchboard Evangelism Training every year which is half evangelism seminar, half missions trip. This will be an unbelievable opportunity to stretch your faith to reach the lost around you. Living Waters offers a course you can take online called the School of Biblical Evangelism. This course contains 101 online lessons about how to reach the lost using the Law and the Gospel.
What is a critical mindset or perspective regarding listening, teachability, flexibility, grace, etc?
This has everything to do with humility. If you are not willing to listen or be corrected, there is no sense in going into missions. Something I had to learn and continue to learn is that not every criticism is meant to tear me down. The same God who wounds also heals. Brothers and sisters in Christ are not perfect, but for the majority of the time, criticism is given in and through love. A key to extending love to others is realizing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. If you fail to realize the love that Christ has for you personally, this makes it much harder to love and forgive others. I would encourage you, before going on the mission field and as you are going, be secure in the love that God has for you.
Knowing what you know now, would you do it all again?
I would do it again, but I would do things with hopefully more courage and more security in my identity in Christ.
Missionary, Open Air Campaigners
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