Summer Missionary 2023

Emili Pezall

Where do you currently attend school? University of Missouri in Columbia (Mizzou)
Where are you serving this summer, and who is your mentor?
Anthem Church in Columbia, MO with Kenya Gutwein
How did you first encounter Jesus Christ, and how has His lordship continued to change your life?
My initial encounter with Jesus was when I was seven years old at a Christian grade school in Springfield, IL. I remember being in my kindergarten classroom and choosing to trust the work of Jesus on the cross for my sins because of God’s great love, not by my own doing. By God’s astounding grace, I understood at that point that my life belonged to God, and I knew that I wanted to live a life that was pleasing to Him. This continues today as I grow to surrender more and more to Him. His continuing Lordship has changed my life by freeing me from sin tendencies of perfectionism and putting my identity in my works or the approval of others. I have a growing burden for the lost and eagerness to share about Christ to those who will listen and are searching. He has helped me to become more confident in the identity of being a child of God. I have become slower to anger, more of a peacemaker as I seek reconciliation, eager and zealous to die to my sin, more vulnerable with community, and more dependent on the Holy Spirit for every aspect of my life. This is just to name a few things.
What does the church mean to you?
The church body has been growing in significance for me. I did not grow up going to church despite being in a Christian grade school from K-8th grade. I began going to church consistently my freshman year of high school, but I was not very connected. I was able to build more connections my junior and senior years of high school as I was involved in a young adult Bible study and served more within my church. Since the last part of high school and into college being connected to Anthem in the past three years, I have learned the beauty of the church body for accountability, correction, equipping, encouragement, discipleship, and fellowship. It is amazing to see the many giftings within the church body and even my local church. There is great joy in gathering to worship the Lord and learn from His Word and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
As a student, how have you shared – and are currently sharing – your faith with others?
As a student I take the opportunities to share about God in my classes and with my classmates and students I see consistently on campus or at my apartment complex. I am a part of the college ministry of Anthem Church called the Salt Company. I have shared my faith in small group Bible study settings and within our ministry geared toward international students. I have spent time going out on campus and evangelizing to people I have never met before. I have language partners that I continue to have spiritual conversations with and talk about my walk with God. I also spent seven weeks last summer in Bangkok, Thailand sharing the Gospel with Thai college students and friends through my ministry.
What do you feel is your vocational call (future career), and how do you anticipate sharing your faith through that call?
I feel very called to vocational ministry. I anticipate sharing my faith possibly doing international ministry in the states like the international ministry I am currently, possibly going overseas as a missionary after getting a seminary education, or doing women’s ministry in the states. I am not sure what direction I am wanting to go with ministry specifically of these few. It could be a hybrid of these over my lifetime. I do not see myself overseas long-term for a bit of time.
Why do you want to be a summer missionary?
My life is to live in obedience to the Great Commission Jesus has laid out for all who believe. We are called to reach the nations to make disciples and baptize and teach them to obey everything He has commanded. Being a summer missionary in the context of Columbia, Missouri at Anthem Church is a great way to continue living this out with a more specific role or emphasis and grow in relationships with my home church. I also want to see more of the professional side of ministry and explore the giftings the Lord has given me and how those can best be used to serve those around me.