Dressed and out the door at 5:45 a.m. isn’t new anymore, but it also isn’t any easier. For the eighth week in a row, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are booked. This is their time for prayer.
They huddle around a coffee table littered with half-empty mugs and bowls. They pray for friends, family members, workers, those already sent and more to follow, seeds sown and yet to sow, and they pray for boldness. From 6 to 7 a.m. they don’t stop, not even to welcome the late-comers. It’s not rude. It’s agreed upon. This is their time for prayer.
Callie, Brittany, Serena, and Hannah are two months into a Goer Missional Community with seven others. The four single twenty-somethings became friends through the Austin Stone Institute’s Women’s Development Program and together gained a passion to move overseas within the next two years to minister among the unreached.
To prepare for that day, they committed to join one another in a Goer Missional Community. Though their backgrounds, life stages, launch dates, and destinations may vary, for nine months they will prepare in unison. They will live together and devote their time to reaching internationals in Austin while meeting for prayer, support, accountability, and training.
The course of their nine months is as simple as 3-2-1. Every week they study the Bible at least three hours on their own, spend at least two hours engaging in evangelism and meet as a group for at least one hour of prayer.
Of course, it’s not all work. The 11 Goers meet once each week over dinner to unwind and check up on each other, and the four roommates devote an additional evening to each other. They eat, pray, talk about their work, and build one another up.
Though the group’s expectations for prayer, study and sharing the gospel seem low, the girls say these activities don’t come naturally and their effect is transforming. The standards become an afterthought and habits form that would make neglecting their work near impossible. Over time a realization has set in.
“We actually have to do this with our whole lives,” Callie says, “and while I knew that, I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a lot of tension there for me.”
On one hand, she feels legalistic and annoying when she approaches strangers about Jesus, and on the other, she can’t deny that this persistence is working. She struggles to balance between her new work, her full-time job, and a Sabbath, yet she can’t deny that the Lord is faithful to provide rest in new rhythms.
Hannah feels the tension too. As simple as the work may sound at first, the life that comes with it isn’t something she was prepared for.
“It’s more than I expected, and even more than I was told,” Hannah says, “but the great thing about that is our lives end up looking more like Jesus said they should. It becomes not meeting the bare minimum but constantly asking, ‘What’s the best opportunity for the gospel?’”
The “what’s-best” thinking, as Hannah calls it, that began with a shared desire to reach the unreached in Austin hasn’t stopped there. The girls’ new thinking and new patterns have bled into other areas of their lives: two of the four are studying the Bible with their parents.
They have yet to choose their destination countries for after these nine months, and as things go, it could be years before it’s time to leave. For these girls, though, the work doesn’t start when they touch down in unreached territory. As their lives show, they’ll never be simply waiting to go. They’re already going.
This post was written by The Story Team and originally appeared at https://austinstone.org/stories/written/87–already-going.