K.B. was very young when she first thought about what it means to follow Jesus wherever He might lead, and even then, she considered what it could cost her.
“I first felt called to foreign missions when I was 13,” K.B. shares. “From that time, there was a real sense of counting the cost—as in, ‘Am I willing to die for this?’ I’ve known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do, but this past year I went through another season of counting the cost—this time of going overseas.”
Despite the unknowns, K.B. made the decision to leave all she’s ever known to live in a completely different cultural and spiritual context for the sake of what matters most. For K.B., the question isn’t whether it’s worth the risk to follow Jesus, the question is one of obedience.
“There are tons of temporal risks, but they don’t matter.” She explains, “I mean, the worst that could happen is that I get kicked out of the country. That happens all over Acts, and that’s not failure (as long as it’s because of the good news and not having done something foolish). And I think that’s what Paul is saying in Philippians 3—the risks don’t matter. What matters is knowing Jesus Christ, knowing the power of His resurrection, and following Him in faith.
“I’m really not facing much risk. Missing out on family and friends’ events is the greatest burden I suffer in being here. There are other people in the field who do face real risk—the risk of being kidnapped or killed, or the risk of what you put your children through, such as being surrounded by another religion you don’t want them to follow. But the greatest risk would be to NOT obey what God is telling you to do. The greatest risk would be to abandon everything in America, to get here, and to not follow Jesus, to not do whatever God has for me here.”
Though K.B. was obedient to go where she knew God was calling her, the work is not without its challenges.
“It’s very difficult to be away from friends and family. It’s also very difficult having wisdom to know how to live life with local believers who face a real threat to their lives—how to be a good sister-in-Christ to them, encouraging them as they walk through difficult things. Our local friends need to be bold in their faith, but at the same time, we don’t understand the implications. Thankfully, the New Testament is full of wisdom for how to live under persecution.
“Sharing the gospel with people has also been a challenge, especially when they are not receptive to the good news. It’s a challenge because we know this is the good news that would lead to their salvation, and they’re rejecting it. Sometimes that might be because of the language barrier. We moved here to do this, but our morale is affected when we share and share and are constantly met with people who do not want to hear or respond to what we’ve shared.”
When faced with a situation that proved to be one of her greatest challenges, K.B. sought the Lord’s wisdom, immersing herself in His Word and in prayer.
“In the moment,” she says, “you’re thinking of all that could happen. But God is sovereign, and He may do something that doesn’t sit right with me. I just have to trust Him and His plan.”
Though she can’t share details of the circumstances, she says the Psalms were especially rich for her during this time. God is our shelter, and we have nothing to fear from man. Psalm 143:8 gave her ground to stand on:
“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
On Fridays, K.B. and her team share encouraging stories they call “sticky notes.” She gives an example: “A sticky note from this past week was having two close friends come to church. It was a work of God that they wanted to come, that they loved it, and that they’ve asked questions about it. They both particularly loved the songs we sang, and those songs were quite clear we believe Jesus died on the cross. One of them even commented, ‘These lyrics are so powerful!’ They’ve seen we love God and are people of righteousness, and that has led to them wanting to hang out with us more.
“For me, this is a gift—that we even get to see an immediate and positive response to the good news. I try not to lean on these things to sustain me. I’m grateful to the Lord for the gift they are, but I want to be sustained by the fact I know God, He has called me here, and He has a purpose. I don’t want to be sustained by fruit I see on the field because I may not always get to see it. Jesus Christ must sustain me.”
With every challenge, K.B. knows the work is worth it.
She says, “It is good for any follower of Jesus to consider the cost, to truly consider if this is worth dying for. Even if you are in a place where you’re not likely to die for your faith, deciding it’s worth the cost changes how you live. It propels you to more faith. We see this with Paul. It changed the way Paul saw everything because he had already counted the cost. He knew Jesus was worth being beaten, stoned, and persecuted for. So every follower of Jesus needs to consider if this is worth the cost, and if so, live all in because the greatest risk is to not follow and obey Him.”
K.B. has been a part of the Brook Hills faith family since she was born. Before she moved overseas, K.B. was a fifth-grade reading teacher. She joined the Central Asia team in September of this year, after a summer of training, and will continue to serve there for the next two years.