Summer Missionary 2023

Elaina Schumacher

Where do you currently attend school? Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City
Where are you serving this summer, and who is your mentor?
Refuge KC with Carson Mysers, with specific emphasis on Somalis in the Northeast of KC
How did you first encounter Jesus Christ, and how has His lordship continued to change your life?
I was 9 years old when, after a week in the kids classes at Family Camp 2, being poured into by the college-age interns that year, especially the missionary storyteller, I became aware of my sin and how it was separating me from God and from the ability to be with Him in heaven. The next week at another youth camp, after receiving counsel from an older girl there, I grew in the understanding of how my sin separated me from God. She demonstrated the Romans Road to me, sharing how “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) and that “God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him” (John 1:7). I understood then what Christ’s sacrifice meant and knew that my sin earned me death, but that God gives the free gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). I received that gift the following year after a breakthrough moment of understanding additionally what Christ’s life, death, and resurrection meant for me, and I know that I will spend eternity in heaven with my God. As it is written in Romans 10:13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” I have received the gift of salvation. I am justified through Christ. I became serious about pursuing my faith and sanctification when I was 14 years old. I realized that I was still living completely selfishly, even having received salvation. The only change that I had was that I then felt more guilty and ashamed of the sins that I held on to for so long. From ages 14-16 I was slowly but surely learning more about how Christ calls His followers and about how I needed to pursue Him and obedience to His word in everything. God used people in my home church and youth group as well as some friends and speakers at summer camp to guide me onto the straight and narrow path in pursuit of a Christ-like life. When I was 16, I asked God to teach me how I could live in full surrender to His will. Over the next two years I learned more and more from His word and His people, and I developed a much more intimate relationship with the Spirit by spending time in prayer and through reading his word. At a certain point almost 4 years ago, I realized the importance of confession of sin; confessing to God right away, and then to the people who I had sinned against. There were two major sins that I was still holding onto since before I became a believer, and at that time I confessed them to Him and to my family and friends and asked for their forgiveness. I know that Jesus’ sacrifice covers my sin, that God forgave as soon as I repented. When I confessed to my family, they also forgave me and helped keep me accountable so that I could grow further in Christ. Ever since that moment, I have been in pursuit of God and Christ-likeness. I am working on making Christ and the ways that God has revealed Himself in my life the topic that I return to constantly with believers and non-believers. As I am learning how to live fully surrendered to God’s will, He has cultivated in me habits of prayer, worship, community, confession, thanksgiving, and most importantly an understanding of unconditional love.
What does the church mean to you?
The church is the essential lifeline of a believer. When people profess their faith in Christ and are baptized, they must get plugged into a local body. The body of Christ is the place where obedience and accountability happen. The Lord calls us into the community of the Church. The global church is the bride of Christ. Revelation 21:2 says, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” There are many many instructions given in the New Testament, from all the Pauline epistles, the letters to Timothy especially, that are meant to be carried out by the church. The local body where I am currently pursuing membership has been such a sweet gift from the Lord. The community is filled with genuine brotherly love, stern and gentle correction, and bold Gospel proclamation and preaching. Sitting under the teaching of the Word regularly by trusted elders and participating in community and discipleship groups has been a wonderful ground for obedience to the “one another” commands and accountability in the spiritual disciplines.
As a student, how have you shared – and are currently sharing – your faith with others?
I go out normally once a week into a place where my “normal” rhythms of life wouldn’t go to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims, especially Somalis. I regularly rehearse the Gospel with my discipleship groups in the local body and with my school program. I currently work at Chick-fil-a and have pretty regular opportunities to be a living and proclaiming my testimony of Jesus Christ among my coworkers.
What do you feel is your vocational call (future career), and how do you anticipate sharing your faith through that call?
At this point in my understanding, I believe the most obedient career for me to pursue given the education and opportunities that the Lord has ordained in my life will be in full-time vocational missions/ministry. And most likely cross-culturally where there is a great need for the Gospel to be made known. My primary task (along with raising a family, if the Lord wills) is to make disciples among all nations, according to the Great Commissions, especially where His name is not known.
Why do you want to be a summer missionary?
Missions can mean a lot of different things. The Mission of God is the work that is being played out in time and creation with the end being His glorification. His followers obediently participate in this by proclaiming the Gospel in their communities and some by going away from their hometowns and crossing cultures. The latter is who we normally call “missionaries”. Although, with the correct understanding of the Great Commission, every person who claims to know Christ as their Savior and Lord must have a missional mindset. Our chief goal as followers of Christ is to pursue His glory through the ministry of the Word and by making multiplying disciples of Christ. I believe that the Lord is calling me to be one who goes to “the ends of the earth”, and I want to take every opportunity to gain experience, knowledge, accountability, etc. in this field. I want to learn from the Word and with many believers what it means and looks like to be obedient in our calling.