Posted on February 18, 2023.
A lot of people do a double take when I say that I’m a full time missionary. Most of the time they don’t know what that means and what that looks like. Being a missionary as a vocation is not common and so I understand the confused looks and need for clarity.
As I was growing up I was around a lot of full time missionaries and so I thought it was a normal thing that people did; like being a teacher or going to college haha. Some people worked in the marketplace and some people were full time missionaries; it was that simple in my mind. That was also my mindset as I set out to do my Discipleship Training School (DTS) in 2013. There was no way I was going to college; my mind was set on doing a DTS and then jumping into missions as my full time gig.
After completing my DTS God spoke clearly to me that I should go to college instead of becoming a missionary. I was shocked but obedient. Four years later I graduated from college and was back at square one of deciding what I wanted to do with my life. Just like I had felt to take a break from missions, I then felt an invitation to go back into missions instead of a job in my degree field. So when my husband and I got married in 2019 we jumped into full time missions and have never looked back.
With all that being said, what does our day to day life look like now that we serve as campus leaders of YWAM Denver? Short answer: every day looks so different. And that’s part of the appeal of being a missionary; you never know what the day is going to hold. We obviously have structure to our days and weeks but God always surprises us. Whether it’s an unplanned phone call with a stranger that becomes a friend/student/missionary partner, navigating running our coffee shop, or planning our curriculum for our next DTS and outreach location, every day has a unique element that keeps us on our toes.
Being a missionary also means experiencing community every day. We work alongside our friends, live with our friends, and have students and staff that we get to disciple. Life is lived amongst others and that makes life richer and more meaningful. They say if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go with others. I think that rings true of life in missions. If you want to be a missionary, doing it in a community of believers will allow you to go far. Far in your growth, far in your ministry, far in the dreams God has put in your heart becoming a reality.
We also live off of the financial support of others and that is usually the area that people are confused by or hesitant about when they are thinking of becoming a missionary. To clarify, there are some missionaries who work part time and are able to use that money to live out their missional calling. But my husband, son, and I live off of the support of others. We get to sit down with people and share the vision God has put on our heart and invite them into financially partnering with us to make that vision happen. It definitely increases our faith to be living off of the support of others, but it makes us more responsible stewards of our finances and we have to live in deeper faith that all of our needs will be supplied.
There are plenty of other things that play into what missions as a vocation looks like, so be on the lookout for part two. Just know that if you want to do it, it is possible, and there are many heroes of the faith who have gone before you, both alive and who have passed, that can inspire you to live this unconventional life!
- Danielle Butler