Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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Can You Be a Single Missionary?

Jenn LaGrone

You’re serving in rural Africa without a husband!? Can you be a single missionary? Really?

Yes! I sure am.

Some people just come out and ask why I’m serving here single. Others dance around the subject in conversation to gauge how I really feel about living in rural Africa without a husband. These are all great questions, and they are questions I have asked others in the past. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask myself, occasionally, why I’m doing this single. And here is how the conversation goes between God and me …

God: Go.

Me: Um, not sure if you realized this, but P.S. I’m single.

God: I’m aware. Go.

Me: But does this mean I’ll never get married or have a family?

God: Not necessarily. But even if it did, would you still go?

Me: Uhhhhhh …

I found myself stopping there, unable to answer that question for a while. And I want to encourage you in something … that is an okay place to pause and pray for direction. It is not an okay place to stop.

I am confident that the Lord will usher anyone, whether single or not, to a place of clarity if they only ask. “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2b, ESV). During the process of moving to Africa, I met with countless women who felt the same way about moving overseas during a season of singleness. We all had pictures in our minds that we would be wives, building our families by a certain age. It can be confusing when that is not the case. Here are lies the enemy has thrown at me in this process:

Enemy of my soul: You live in the middle of nowhere, Africa. Do you really think God is going to provide, or even has the ability to provide you a husband there?

Me: I’m pretty sure He made Adam a wife out of close to nothing. Do I believe God is all-powerful? If so, then this lie has no ground to stand on. But “Our God is in the Heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

Enemy of my soul: Do you really want to sit in sadness or loneliness?

Me: I feel freedom to grieve for the family I don’t have. I don’t grieve as if God hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. I grieve as a woman who desires a husband and children, yet does not have them. If I believe that He is all-powerful, that “everything is appropriate in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and He is sovereign, then I grieve as one with hope. Not a hope that He will give me what I want, but a hope that says He will give me what I need to make His name famous.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). His ways are perfect. And although I am daily walking forward into many unknowns, I know those unknowns are showered in His love, grace and mercy. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’” (Psalm 91:1-2).

Enemy of my soul: Shouldn’t you just stay in the U.S. until He gives you a husband? That would be much safer!!

Me: Ha! Whose definition of “safe”? “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4). I’m pretty sure if God can create every nation and people group from nothing, then He can provide a husband for me regardless of my location.

These are all relatively easy things to believe and say, but they are hard to actually walk forward in.

I want to emphasize this: It is only through God changing my heart that I can claim these truths without wavering. It is not something ‘I worked through on my own strength.’ Two years ago, I honestly said, “There is no way I would ever move overseas still single … Who would kill all the bugs and baboons?” Today I can truly say that I am blessed to be where I am, and I couldn’t be more excited for the ministry God is creating through my circumstances and singleness. I’m still not excited about the bugs, but I’m dealing with it … slowly.

And who says a girl can’t learn to use a crossbow to kill a baboon?

So, yes, you can be a single missionary. You can be all that God has created you to be!

About Jennifer LaGrone

Jennifer LaGrone is a Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner, from Dallas, Texas, currently living and serving in Ethiopia with SIM. She is passionate about providing medical care to the marginalized and making the name of Jesus famous among those who have not heard. Through her current ministry in Langano, Ethiopia, God has given her the ability to do both of these things. Read more about Jenn's adventures in Ethiopia at jenninafrica.com.
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