A few years ago, Rachael and Jon attended Grace University’s annual missions conference. They both thought it would be a nice break from their studies, as all classes were cancelled to allow students to attend. Earlier in the year, Grace University announced that they were closing so Rachael and Jon were taking more than a full load of classes hoping to graduate in time.
Towards the end of the main session, the speaker announced that he was praying that ten people from the student body would step into international mission work.
Immediately, Rachael heard in her mind, almost as clear as an audible voice, ‘that’s you.’ And immediately Rachael thought ‘God, you don’t want me’ and that it was a terrible idea. All the excuses followed as she tried to bargain her way out of it. However, she couldn’t shake it.
Unbeknownst to Rachael, Jon had a similar experience after the speaker’s invitation. He knew immediately that he was being called.
“All I knew was ‘that’s me!’” shared Jon.
How could this be happening though? International missions had never been a dream nor a consideration for either of them. They had no experience. No preparation. They both were in fields that made no sense for mission work. Plus, people who are called into the mission field are “super Christians going out and doing amazing things and with amazing faith.”
The biggest fear though was what if only one of them was called and not both of them. How is that going to work?
The next day, Jon and Rachael were together and he jokingly asked Rachael, “Maybe we should do international missions.”
“How serious are you?” Rachael immediately responded. She and Jon at this point realized they had the same exact moment at the conference the day before. They both looked at one another and decided to go and talk to the speaker.
That next year was full of conversations, confirmations, applications, classes on preparation, graduating, and getting ready for their wedding. After their wedding and catching their breath, Jon and Rachael prayed and asked God if He was still calling them into missions. Having visited Eastern Europe on a college choir trip a few years earlier, they decided to book a flight to that region and ‘see what God does.’
Jon and Rachael ended up house sitting for a friend of a friend there and also stayed with another missionary family. The trip slowly evolved into a vision trip as God confirmed ‘yes’ to where He wanted them. Jon and Rachael noticed the more they trusted in God, the more details just started to fall into place.
One big detail for each of them was the understanding of how God could use their gifts and talents in the mission field.
For Jon, he grew up in a Christian home and was introduced to Jesus and church but struggled with feeling like he belonged.
“I was socially awkward,” Jon revealed. “It was hard to establish those relationships. I found it difficult to believe that I belonged with God. That He wanted me.”
God over time began to show Jon that he did belong. Regardless of if he deserved it or was good enough. Jon wrestled with belief in God and because of it chose atheism in high school. Internally, Jon intellectualized doubts and found underneath that he was a stereotypical oldest child who couldn’t follow the rules perfectly and that was eating him from the inside. Atheism made sense to Jon because he didn’t want to be accountable to rules and the intellectual questions that he didn’t have answers for.
“It was the love of people around me, who mentored me through that season that helped me to start to realize beyond,” Jon shared.
Jon continued with
“There’s that quote that says, ‘The longest journey a man will ever take is the 18 inches it takes from the head to the heart.’ And that was real for me, I had the knowledge, it was in that time it moved and connected to my heart. It’s about who God is and how He is good enough on my behalf.”
“I don’t need to be perfect to be able to belong.”
It is because of this time in his life along with his counseling degree that has given Jon a valuable perspective on how God can use him.
“I know a lot of Eastern Europeans are in that same place,” Jon described. “As a whole with the history of Nazism and communism there’s just a lot of deeply ingrained trauma and the thought of ‘it’s all my fault.’”
“Many Europeans think ‘if God exists, He doesn’t want anything to do with me even though I know He doesn’t exist.”
“I had people in my life asking questions in that season for me, valuable questions that I want to ask now. At the time, I thought being an atheist would get rid of the questions, it was in fact a whole set of other questions and doubts. I can relate to that and to where the Eastern Europeans are at. And to step into that.”
For Rachael, she grew up in a first-generation Christian home. When Rachael’s parents became Christians, they obviously wanted to do the right thing. They attended church, did all the programs and events, prayed together, etc. The way Rachael took that on was to be the better kid, the better sibling and in doing so, she could then feel that complete love by her parents, by Jesus, and have the acceptance of people.
“People love the kid who does all the right things,” shared Rachael. “However, deep down, I was feeling guilt and shame and I didn’t know what to do with it.”
“And to some extent I didn’t feel like I could talk to my parents when things were going wrong. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.”
Rachael couldn’t share struggles with anyone because if she did, she thought it would be a bad witness for others. It then got to a point where Rachael didn’t want to spend time with God because she did not have everything together. On the outside it seemed like everything was good with Rachael because she had all the right answers and looked good, but on the inside was just the opposite.
“I knew about Jesus, but I wasn’t living in freedom,” Rachael reminisced. “Jesus kindly showed me the dysfunction I had about myself and about Him.”
It was also through several people in her life that Rachael was shown truth and grace. An older mentor told her that no matter what she does, that they would always love her, but even more important, that Jesus always loves her. Slowly, the lies in her head were being replaced with truth. Truth that is not determined by what you do or what you look like.
“I knew Jesus in a head knowledge sense too, but like I didn’t live in that heart knowledge,” Rachael professed. “God in His goodness was blowing up this false view I had and rebuilding our relationship, so that it was healthy, honest, and so that I could then talk to Him.”
“He is enough. I am not. And because of His covering, I am enough in Him.”
Rachael mentioned it is still a struggle and will always be a process, but what a wonderful opportunity she will have to share this process and these truths to others who desperately need to hear.
“I would share with them what God revealed to me,” Rachael said smiling. “God loves you more than you can understand. You can trust Him. Even if He’s asked you to take a step in a direction that feels scary or unclear or outside of your comfort. He loves you.”
Currently, while Jon and Rachael raise support, God continues to reveal how indescribably good He is. It is God’s goodness and kindness that provides for them to go and He continues to provide answers and direction as they navigate so many unknowns.
“I’m in awe sometimes,” Rachael confessed. “I feel like I’m not working hard enough, that this shouldn’t be happening.”
“This clearly is not us. He is so good.”
The Hasting’s goal is to be on the mission field by the beginning of next year. Their biggest concern is how to live in transition and leave well.
“Our close relationships with our family and friends and navigating through this transition together,” Rachael listed. “To know when to leave our jobs, the desire to leave well and live on mission while we are still here in Omaha, to not look too far ahead. We want to exercise wisdom in all of this and not grasp for control.”
The Hasting’s also want to encourage others who might be being called into global missions by “being aware of God's presence and that He does speak to you.”
“And If you hear Him calling you into the mission field, don’t be afraid to ask someone, to pray with you, to affirm you,” Rachael shares with excitement. “Ask God for people to surround you and walk with you in this process. Don’t let fear stop you. Jon and I want to be that person for you too. I was there. I know. This is God and I didn’t dream this. I would have never chosen this, but He showed me and gave me peace about it. The timing can be uncertain, but our call to now has been three years.”
“This is God’s whole purpose. Every nation, tribe and tongue. We need to go and tell God's love.”
The Hasting’s are looking for mission partners. For people to partner with them in prayer and financial support.
“We would love to meet with people and share the ministry vision,” the Hastings said enthusiastically. “It would be fun to meet for coffee and talk, to visit city groups either virtually or in person.”
“We know that God is moving in the hearts of people who He is calling to be on this journey with us.”
One of the biggest prayer requests they have is for the hearts of Eastern Europeans. It is only God who can open the people’s ears and hearts. The Hastings understand that it is nothing they can do, but truly a movement of God preparing in order for their ministry to have any effect.
Jon and Rachael don’t know all the people on their team yet, but God does. Don’t be surprised if you hear a voice inside you saying, ‘that’s you!’
To learn more, please contact Jon and Rachael at firstname.lastname@example.org.