All missionaries (all people, really) who are actively serving the Lord make a difference. By the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, they share the Gospel and bring hope to a hurting and dying world.
We want to start a new series that will be added to periodically where we highlight some of those missionaries who have made a difference (or are still making a difference) in our lives. Some of them, we know personally… and some of them, we’ve just read their biographies or learned about them other ways and look forward with eager anticipation to meeting them in heaven one day. Some of them encouraged us towards missions. Some of them helped disciple us. Some of them we just observed from afar or met once or twice. But all of them are making a difference for the kingdom of God.
To kick us off, I asked Allen the other day, “Who is a missionary who really impacted your life? Who is a missionary who made you want to be a missionary, too?” Truth be told, I was expecting to hear some famous person, like Jim Elliot, Hudson Taylor, or Annie Armstrong…
And instead, I heard the name Angela Atwell.
I thought to myself, “Who in the world is that?!”
And then I asked Allen that exact question.
Angela Atwell was a missionary to Cambodia who visited Allen’s church in Alabama when he was about 10 years old. And now, about 20 years later, she is the one who still comes to mind when he thinks about influential missionaries.
Here’s a picture of Allen, age 10-ish:
Ms. Atwell served in children’s ministries in Cambodia, seeking to bring the Gospel to children through sports, Bible clubs, and more. Her love for children didn’t stop when she left Cambodia, though. When she visited Allen’s church, she asked specifically to teach the children’s class and brought Cambodian nickels with her that they used to make necklaces.
When I asked Allen why that made such an impact on his life, he said that it’s because she was reaching kids just like him: his age, with his interests.
Through her testimony, Allen saw that missions is for everyone – not just adults sitting in a classroom.
Want to know what’s interesting? Ms. Atwell served with ABWE from 1997-2013. How small of a world is that, that we are now preparing to serve with the same agency?!
I’m thankful for Ms. Atwell teaching my husband about missions in Cambodia that day, not knowing that he would be heading overseas himself due, in part, to her influence.