(I apologize for the lack of picture clarity. At the time digital cameras were ten jillion dollars and I was a poor college student still using 35mm film.)
This picture is of my college roommate, Kelli, and me. It was taken the night Kelli graduated from UT and a month before she would leave as a journeyman with the International Mission Board to serve a two-year term in Santiago, Chile. I would graduate later that year from UT, make a detour to Corpus Christi, Texas, and then be on my way to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The night that picture was taken if you would have told Kelli that in ten years she would be married, have two children, and be serving as a career missionary with the IMB in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she would have laughed at you.
That same evening if you have told me that in ten years I would actually survive graduate school, live and serve Jesus in North Carolina, and be leading a mission group to Buenos Aires for a week of mission service with our IMB missionaries, I would have responded, “You have the wrong Ashley Allen again. I think you mean one of the other three Ashley Allens on this campus. Thanks so much.”
However, God’s plans for His children are much greater than they can imagine as 20-year-old college students.
And for that we are grateful.
On May 31 when our plane lands in Buenos Aires, our team of nine women and one man will work with Mark and Melissa, missionaries who serve with Kelli and her husband, Jason. We will teach in ESL classes and give testimony to Who Jesus Christ is and the hope He has to offer and the Hope that He is; host a block party for families in an area where Mark and Melissa are trying to plant a church; host a ladies’ tea that will include personal testimonies from our group of ladies and worship of our Lord in Spanish; and some time spent at an orphanage where we will get to share the love of Christ with 20 children who range in age from one-year-old to about 13 years old.
While a decade ago I wouldn’t have any inclination about God’s intended purposes at this point in time, I am confident that He will use our team for His Kingdom and His glory. As I think of the great and mighty privilege it is to serve Jesus, that He chooses to use us for His eternal purposes, I am humbled.
Often I think about the “great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches in . . . their hands, [crying] out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Rev. 7:9-10).
When I think of every tribe and tongue worshipping the Lamb around His throne, my mind goes to the 11,000 language groups in our world and the 234 language groups in North Carolina. While at times it is hard to wrap my mind around so many different languages, I am amazed that God allows us to be a part of seeing that every tribe, tongue and people are worshipping around His throne in eternity. What a responsibility He entrusts to us as we join Him in what He is doing all over the world!
Maybe you have the same mind-set that my roommate, Kelli, and I did ten years ago – no idea that God would and could use you for His Kingdom. But, yet, He desires to do so.
What are you doing to see the nations around His throne?