The farthest Angie Agner travelled before the age of 19 was the state of Wisconsin to buy fireworks. Growing up in a small town in Minnesota, there wasn’t a need nor was it a priority to travel. A cousin of her mother’s was a missionary in Ecuador. She would hear stories of the people and the work her relative was doing. Angie was captivated to the idea of giving your whole life to vocational Christian work. Because of that, God put in Angie’s heart a natural concern for the nations. When she was 14 at a summer Bible camp, the desire sparked into a calling and burden to go.
“It was at summer Bible camp,” Angie shared. “A missionary from Jordan shared his story. I learned my first Arabic word from him. I clearly remember him talking about God’s Triple ‘A’ Club. His whole message throughout the week to us was to have a willingness to serve God anywhere, anytime and anyhow. I had already accepted God, I understood and accepted God’s mission because of this missionary’s challenge. I wanted to stand up and run to the front. It was that mission piece that brought it all together for me...saved and now saved for something. I signed a card that day and I still have it. That missionary’s message made a huge difference in me and in my life.”
Her senior year in high school, Angie started to think about college. She now had this interest in other cultures and other countries even though she never travelled. After praying and researching, Angie went to college and graduated with a degree in Intercultural Studies, Bible, and Youth Ministry. Throughout her college years, she read every missionary autobiography she could get her hands on. Her favorite was I Dared to Call Him Father. Reading these stories, as well as many short-term mission trips in college, confirmed her life in missions.
“God used short-term to confirm long-term,” Angie described her decision to go into long-term missions. “I completed an internship that took me to England, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and China all in two months. God gave me an ability to adapt and hearing and seeing stories how God is at work was so inspiring. God is at work in all these places. I am not bringing God to these places because He’s already there. He’s drawing me and invites me into this and allows me to be a part of His work. It was an honor and privilege.”
After college Angie was all ready to go. She had her passport and was ready to go anywhere. She thought the plan was to go to South Korea to teach English, but there was a feeling of unsettledness.
“I prayed to God and said to Him that ‘I don’t know what you have for me Lord, but I am willing to serve anywhere,” Angie said earnestly. “God said to go back to your hometown to continue preparations for what He had in the future.”
Angie remembered a quote from Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed on the mission field. He said ‘wherever you are, be all there...” Angie knew that God wants to work in and through her right where she was at her home church. She was there for ten years. She helped so many at her church including her pastor and she even completed seminary and an internship in Brazil. After all of that, she had an opportunity to apply to go with a mission team to Spain.
“I was in Spain serving the immigrant and refugee population,” Angie described. “I did lots of language exchanges and practiced English and Spanish. I got to meet so many people. One memory that stands out was a woman that I got together with multiple times. Our team would pray for this person and for an opportunity to share the gospel or have a spiritual conversation with this person. One night, this woman and I met for dinner and the food comes and she says ‘you are American, do you do something before you eat?’ And I said ‘do you mean pray?’ The woman said yes so I prayed. A few minutes later (this was in the spring with all these parades for Holy Week), she asked me what are they celebrating? I explained about Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and so on. Afterward, I was walking home with my jaw at the bottom of the floor. I was reminded that God is already at work in the heart of this woman. Throughout and even to this day, HE IS AT WORK!”
Angie continued teaching Spanish to North Africans and continued having conversations with those around her. She worked with a team from a Latin American ministry and when it was time to leave one year ago, it was very difficult to say good-bye to this team who she grew to love.
Back at home in the States, Angie was again, open to where God wanted her next after the ‘hold’ button was pushed because of the pandemic. Around that time, a gentleman reached out to Angie through her mission donation page. Angie wrote back to thank him for his support and a friendship began.
“You know at 41, I was not necessarily looking for a relationship but a pen pal,” Angie said with a smile. “After about a year of mostly online dating and seeing one another when we could, I moved here in February 2022 and I married my husband, Dale shortly after. Dale had already been going to Citylight and it was Pastor Joe who married us.”
It was Dale who connected Angie to Citylight Global. With the ministry being new, Angie wondered if there was a way she could be involved and help. She and her new husband already had a heart for the local church. They lead a Bible study for medical students in Omaha. Angie started volunteering with InCommon's ESL outreach program. It wasn't too long after she wondered if there was an opportunity for the nations.
“Dale and I joined the Discovery Group hosted by Citylight’s Global team this past summer,” Angie started to share, “and that’s where we met Luke the Director. I told him I was available and wanted to be a part of the team.”
Since then, Angie has been serving the Global team by helping prepare and train participants who are going on the short term mission trips this coming summer. The mission trips include East Europe, New Orleans with the student ministry and three college trips happening throughout the world.
"So, why short term missions? Simply put it’s God’s invitation to be a part of what He is doing in the nations. Acts 1:8 says
'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'"
Everyone is called to missions. God calls some people to go and some to stay but He calls all of us to send and support. Angie’s encouragement is to be sensitive to God’s leading and ask Him questions. Also, if you have an opportunity to go on a short term mission, do it but don’t walk away thinking you are done with missions when you get back.
“One of the risks of short term is that it can inoculate a person,” Angie said. “Where you tell yourself ‘I’ve gone, and I’ve done my duty and I don’t need to do it the rest of the time.’ Instead, we should all prepare to go. We are all always commissioned to go and to be used by God.”
What about long-term missions? Long-term mission is usually defined as indefinitely in the field and requires a completely different mindset shift. It means you are giving up belongings and people long term. You put down roots. Short and mid-term missions you can look forward to ‘coming back’. Long-term you are ‘closing shop’ to what has been home and establishing new rhythms and relationships. Short-term mission can allow a person an opportunity to discern what God is calling them into. It can create space and margin out of the day to day so that you can hear the voice of God and see how you fit. Who should go?
“Anyone who is restless with life and trying to discern and who is open to God leading them. Each of the mission trips this summer can provide this setting for a participant,” Angie said with encouragement and care.
So, what is God revealing to you right now? For Angie, it’s the confirmation that God has work for her to do right here in Omaha and at Citylight. It’s been a big year of transitions and trying to figure out where she fits in but she is thankful God does remind her of His plan and that there is a need right here. God's like that...patient but also, moving. How is God calling you? Perhaps it’s to a short-term mission trip coming up, or maybe it’s serving your community and church. God can use each and every one of us anywhere to serve Him. And, if you are still unsure, Angie is eager to talk to you. She would love to share and invite you into the Triple ‘A’ Club.
To learn more about Citylight Global, visit citylightomaha.org/global.