Three missionaries, Marvin and Myrtle Mitchell and Lisa Sipes, shared their unique experiences of traveling overseas to spread the Gospel with students in Bowld 247 on Thursday night at the Missionary Panel, as a part of Global Focus 2017.
The three missionaries all shared similar backgrounds of living in Tennessee. Marvin and Myrtle Mitchell resided in Dyersburg before starting their missionary journey in Ethiopia, and Lisa Sipes, originally from Bolivar, is a Union University alumna who now lives in Indonesia, spreading the Gospel to the largest Muslim country in the world.
For the Mitchells, it wasn’t easy to leave everything behind and to create a new life in a foreign country. Marvin joked that when he told his wife he wanted to become missionaries in another country, she “passed out crying” and insisted she was not going to go. Of course, Myrtle lightly smacked her husband in the arm after he shared this information, claiming that he was exaggerating. She did admit, though, that she was not keen on giving up their lives here in the United States to start a new one in Africa.
Myrtle said for a long time she made excuses about leaving and refused to discuss the matter with her husband. Two years later, she said her eyes were finally open to how stubborn she had become.
“I was broken by my disobedience,” Myrtle said.
In 2008, the Mitchell family packed up their bags and moved to Ethiopia.
Lisa Sipes’ journey to the mission field, on the other hand, started here at Union. While she was a student, she realized how the Bible is centered around the love God has for the world, and she became convicted about how narrow-minded her faith was.
During her freshman year, she flew overseas for the first time on a mission trip to China. At the time, she was a social work major who thought her life would look completely different than what her future had in store for her.
After college, Sipes moved to India to spread the Gospel there for two years.
“During my time in India is when I realized I wanted to do this type of work for the rest of my life,” Sipes said.
Sipes came back from her trip to India with a craving to reach more nations with the Gospel. She is currently working on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia teaching the Gospel to the most unreached Muslim group in the world.
The Mitchells and Lisa Sipes admitted there are many challenges of leaving their lives in the United States behind to become missionaries in foreign countries. They shared the trials of sickness, persecution, food and water shortages, security threats and exhaustion.
“You really see what you’re made of when you’re out of electricity for long periods of time,” Sipes joked.
Despite the difficulties these missionaries face on a daily basis, they made sure to reveal the joys their job brings as well.
Each missionary emphasized the joy of teaching someone who has never heard the Gospel how to accept Christ as their savior. Sipes shared a touching story of how she impacted the life of a girl by teaching her the Gospel, and years later, this same girl has helped thousands in the island of Java come to faith in Jesus Christ.