Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My call for missions

Several years ago I felt the call to go into missions.  I didn’t know when or where, but I said ‘send me, Lord’.  A couple of years passed and I thought, I need to figure this out.  So, I went to Zimbabwe on a mission trip.  It was a very productive trip, but God let me know, that was not where He wanted me to go full time.  

A couple of years later I was able to attend an international deaf ministries conference in Egypt.  Thirty-three countries were represented and I asked the Lord to show me where. At the end of the week it was clear none of those missions were where God was leading me.  I realized I needed to be patient and wait for His direction and timing.  Oh how hard that is. 

The day after returning home, I received a call from the school.  They needed an interpreter for a freshman at the high school which was just two blocks from my home.  OK, Lord, you want me to stay here right here in Kokomo?  Fine, I will serve You there!  (Little did I know he needed me to get back to having the desire and passion to learn while assisting an awesome young man through his high school years.  The challenging classes of the past four years was just what I needed to prepare me for my future.)

Right after New Years my sister reminded me I was turning 50 that year.  She told me she wanted to take me somewhere on a vacation, a real fun vacation.  It was not a mission trip or church camp as I normally do for my vacation times.  I asked her where we were going, all the time thinking Florida or Hilton Head or some place like that.  That's when she told me she wanted us to go to Italy.  My first thought was that's not even on my bucket list of places I want to see, but who in their right mind turns down a trip like that?

So she took me on a special birthday vacation to Italy.  And what a vacation it was.  It started out rough.  We missed the connecting flight to Rome due to an airport issue.  We were able to catch another flight just 45 minutes later to Belgium and then on to Rome.  We would only be five hours behind schedule.  Awesome!  We took the flight.  Our luggage didn't.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5).  Oh, to do Italy with a carry on and a purse.  He knew we needed to lean on Him, trust Him, He would lead.

The first few days I was in art overload.  I LOVE art, but to see it everywhere is a little overwhelming!  It was in the museums, on the ceilings, covering entire walls, on the sidewalk, statutes everywhere, ancient ruins many places, etc.  Most of it was religious art.  Some were of the ancient Roman gods, most was Christian art, as well as modern art.  The churches were filled with art, too.  There were a lot of tourists around.

We were there from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.  I started to notice how these large churches were setting up extra seating.  I asked about it and learned although Italians may belong to a church, they don't have a relationship with Christ.  95% of Italians never go to church. About a percent of Italians are evangelical Christians.  My heart broke for the people of Italy.  I felt the call.  I asked with all sincerety, “Lord, you’re calling me to Italy?”  I thought no one will believe this.

When I got home I was excited.  I thought, now I know where I'm going.  I need to prepare to go.  A friend of mine, a former missionary to Italy talked with me and suggested I pray for six months for God's leading in this before deciding.  I took her advice and doubled it.  I prayed for a year for direction and confirmation.  Then in August 2011, I was accepted as a missionary recruit with Team Expansion to join the team in Verona, Italy.   

Verona is the setting of Romeo and Juliet.  It is about an hour away from Venice and just south of the Austrian Alps.  The climate is very similar to Kokomo, IN, except they don't have snow very often.  There are some disturbing facts about Verona.  Abortion is legal, as is prostitution!  The percentage of people who are evangelical Christians in Verona?  It drops way down to 0.045% of the population of approximately 265,000!  Divorce is at 70%!  They need to know Christ personally.  The people of Italy love their art.  To them it doesn't matter which kind of art it is, ancient, Christian, modern, since it does one thing, bring tourists to their country.

Team Expansion is a mission organization which partners with the church to mobilize, train, and coach qualified workers of church planting movements.  Our core values are 1) to remain faithfully committed to His Word; 2) to work among the unreached; 3) Church planting is the primary long-term goal; 4) to work in teams; 5) to desire, provide, & seek coaching; 6) to extend Grace by having a non-judgmental attitude; and 7) maintain accountability with monthly reporting to the team of prayer and financial partners.  Their goal is to plant 80 indigeous churches by 2015.  They need people to go plant seeds and cultivate a personal relationship of Jesus in people's hearts.

Between Christmas 2011 and Jan 2, 2012, I was in Verona to meet the members of the team already on the field.  We all felt God's peace and look forward to working together.

July 2012 - I am now a full time missionary recruit.  There are trainings at Mission Training International and Team Expansion I will be attending before I go on the field.  The rest of this summer I am looking for prayer and financial partners for the mission.  My goal is to be on the field in Italy in November 2012.  

I would love to count you as one of my prayer partners who have committed to pray regularly for me and this mission.  Would you please consider partnering with me in prayer?  If so, let me know at my email address (  I already have over 100 people committed to pray for me and the mission.  

Team Expansion has set my budget at $5935 a month with one time startup costs of $26,347.  This is not just my living expense, but mostly it is my part of the mission budget.  I can't do this alone.  I need 60 people to partner with me at a $100 a month, 1200 people to partner at $5 a month, or a variety of people to partner with whatever God lays on your heart!  Would you prayerfully consider being one of these people?  A one time gift of any amount is greatly appreciated.  At the end of June I am at 37% of having my start up costs and over 10% of my monthly budget met.  Team Expansion is a non-profit organization so your partnership is tax deductible.

My forwarding agent's name and address is on my newsletter every month.  

Italy needs Jesus.   Please join me in my belief that God has a plan for Verona, Italy.  Please consider partnering with me to bring the light of Jesus to a land that is dark because they have forgotten their first love.  If you can’t go, send me.  I want to make a difference for Him.  

I'm updating this post on December 15, 2012.  

Currently there are 182 partners committed to pray at least monthly for my ministry.
My start up amount committed is at 67.8%  ($17,871.15)
My monthly partners have committed to 15.7% ($931/month)

Praise God from whom all blessing flow.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Ask God how He wants you to partner with this mission.  I'd love to share this mission with you, your small group, Sunday School class, ladies' group, or any other group or individual interested in learning about this work.

Contact me at

Feel free to follow me on this blog and read the other posts.

In His service,

Dot Elliott
Missionary with Team Expansion to Verona, Italy

No comments:

Post a Comment