A Deeply Felt Calling

Burgner

Burgner

By Ruth A. Burgner –

The Mission Society turned 30 this year. I can hardly believe it. I remember learning about this ministry (then called “The Mission Society for United Methodists”) when it was newly born– still just an idea really, a deeply felt calling. Since its launch, more than 500 Mission Society missionaries have been sent; today, 225 serve in 42 countries.

A few weeks ago, I got to have lunch with one. Mary Kay Jackson is a civil engineer. In fact, in November 2013, she was named a Distinguished Graduate of Texas A&M’s Zachary Department of Civil Engineering. She worked for 25 years in Atlanta before moving with her husband, Charlie, and two sons, Chip and Ken, to Ghana. There, Charlie serves as assistant professor of mathematics at Ashesi University, and Mary Kay serves with Methodist Development Relief Services and Pure Home Water, two organizations that focus on bringing safe drinking water and other development to the rural poor.

Courtesy of The Mission Society

Courtesy of The Mission Society

In Ghana alone, almost 4 million people lack clean water. During the last eight years, these two organizations have provided more than 20,000 locally-made clay filters (which remove bacteria and other pollutants), giving an estimated 100,000 people safe water.

Courtesy of the Mission Society

Courtesy of the Mission Society

In addition to distributing filters, missionaries also drill wells — 36 in the last five years alone.

As Mary Kay and I talked, she told me about going into remote villages “not even found on Google Earth.” She said, “A lot of what I do is remind people that God has not forgotten them, to tell them that Jesus has brought me to them to tell their children that he loves them, to listen to the stories of their lives. … These people will probably trust God for the rest of their lives because He has provided for them.”

Buiyilli

One such community experiencing God’s provision is the village of Buiyilli. The people here only have access

to a small “dugout” pond that fills during the rainy season and serves as their water supply the rest of the year. They use this water for everything — drinking, bathing, washing clothes, watering their livestock. Groundwater is not available in this area, so digging a well is not a viable solution to the village’s problem.

With the approval of the village chief, last November, Mary Kay and Jason, another missionary, went to Buiyilli with 58 clay filters, one for each household. After a demonstration on proper use of the filter, Mary Kay offered a message on Psalm 115 about God’s love for the village and Jesus the Living Water. “I told them Jesus had heard their pleas for safe water, and that just as they will be proud to share the water from these filters with their visitors, so too, they should share the Living Water of Jesus with their friends and visitors.

“Afterwards, the women gathered to say ‘a big thank you’ — most of all, to Jesus for the gift of safe water for their families,” she said.

Front row seats

Courtesy of the Mission Society

Courtesy of the Mission Society

“The thing that feeds me is seeing scripture come to life,” Mary Kay said, who has served in Ghana now for eight years. “Reading Acts, I used to think, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually see something like that?’ And now we do! We have front row seats to witness Jesus healing people, providing for people and bringing people and circumstances together; people meeting Jesus for the first time.”

In the last three decades, The Mission Society has spearheaded clean water projects in nine other countries. Mary Kay’s are just some of a multitude of stories that are told from Mission Society missionaries serving in a wide variety of ministries.

One of The Mission Society’s founders, Dr. J.T. Seamands, defined a call as “an inner abiding persuasion that will not let you go.” Thirty years along, I’m grateful that God’s call would not let go of the founders and missionaries of The Mission Society. I wonder how many thousands have experienced the Living Water, because of God’s working through their obedience.

The Mission Society and The General Board of Global Ministries partner together in this project. If you would like to help provide clean water in Ghana, see GBGM Advance project # 3020588 or donate through The Mission Society by visiting www.themissionsociety.org/support/gwp.

Ruth A. Burgner is the Senior Director of Communications for The Mission Society. Used with permission from the Dakota Wesleyan University Blog.

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Courtesy of the Mission Society

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