Short-Term Missions Leads to Long-Term Commitment for Missionary Couple

Molly and Matt Landry (names changed) look toward their future together, serving the world wherever God leads them. IMB photo

They discuss holiday plans, an upcoming family wedding and the Sundays that they will have left with their home church. The weeks ahead will inevitably go by quickly. The mild Southern winters of their upbringing will be exchanged for the bitter cold of Eastern Europe in January.

As they share about their call to missions and their decision to plant their lives among unreached peoples, the predictable “why would you do that” question is quickly replaced with the answer: This is where God wants them to be, to do what He has prepared them to accomplish. Neither seems to have any doubt, though the bittersweet emotions of leaving family and friends behind are present.

The Landrys met in college through Baptist Collegiate Ministries. While both were raised in Christian homes, they had different feelings about the idea of serving overseas. Molly says that in college, she was very open to international missions. After serving for a summer in Portugal through IMB’s summer missions opportunities, she sensed God’s calling.

“It was a process of God breaking me of plans that I had for myself,” Molly says.

When Matt was in college, he told an IMB representative he would not consider overseas missions. Already seriously dating, Molly began to wonder if she and Matt could stay together. She chose to pray about the situation instead of talking with Matt.

“I didn’t even know we were on the rocks!” Matt quips.

As Matt was approaching graduation, a trusted student leader urged him to think about a short-term assignment overseas. With a passion and a gift for evangelism, Matt opened himself to ways he could be used outside the U.S. IMB’s Hands On program offered a 4-month term that Matt began to explore. He heard about a young man who had already committed to a Hands On assignment in Scotland but needed a partner. This would become a life-changing season for Matt.

Gena Wilson was the team’s supervisor in Scotland. Gena, who served in Scotland for more than 20 years before her death in May 2019, knew just what to do to equip the two recent graduates for life-on-life missions. She encouraged them to read Scripture together every day, and then to live out what they read.

“She had us read Colossians first,” Matt says, “which was so good for us to learn to live as Christians, how to relate to one another, how to serve each other, and how to be about the mission throughout our time there.”

Then they read through the Book of John. Matt saw how Jesus oriented His life toward lost people and taught His disciples to do the same thing.

“He gave them the vision for what missions should look like,” Matt says.

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Source: Baptist Press