By Brad Benson
After returning from my last mission trip to Hungary, I felt a strong call to serve the Lord full time. I didn’t know how or where to start. That Fall I attended Mission ConneXion. At that time, I was working full time at Intel as a Strategic Planning Program Manager and using all my vacation and time off for short term mission trips. But making the transition to a full-time missionary?
During the Mission ConneXion conference I attended a workshop by the Finishers Project. I wondered, “How could I serve in world missions when I wasn’t able to leave home?” Then when perusing the job postings on the Finishers website, I found a position right here in Portland, OR. My whole paradigm shifted! I filled out a personal service profile and was immediately contacted by a Wycliffe recruiter.
Meanwhile, back at Intel I took a class that provided information about the steps to retirement. In the class I ran into a long-time Intel friend and fellow believer.
At the same time I began to talk with Wycliffe leadership as well. The idea that I would leave my career after spending the last 22 years at Intel and take on a full time job in missions was both exciting and scary. I wondered, “How do I know this is God’s direction for my life?”
I decided to move forward and start my application process with Wycliffe. I also began to engage with the local leadership and meet for prayer at the Wycliffe’s Portland office. At one of these meetings, the Mobilization Director (this was the position, I was to be assigned) shared in tears that he and his wife had been meeting with a large church missions committee for several months, asking for support. While they felt called to go to Indonesia, the mission committee asked that they pray about going to India, where their church had an established mission presence. This went on for several months, leaving him and his wife very discouraged.
All of these seemingly independent events went on without any special attention on my part. I simply continued my job at Intel and simultaneously proceeded with my Wycliffe application. One of the application requirements was to have my current employer submit a recommendation to Wycliffe on my behalf. I hesitated about letting my employer know my plans, when I didn’t know whether or not I would even be accepted with Wycliffe!
A turn of events came about that was to give me confirmation I wasn’t expecting and demonstrated to me that God was in control. I had been working all week at our Intel Folsom site. These business trips were always full of meetings, long hours and little sleep. I was anxious to return home. My flight connected in San Jose before heading back to Hillsboro. Normally, I seldom run into anyone I know, but this time was different. I ran into my long time Intel friend I last saw in the retirement class. He was scheduled on the same flight back to Hillsboro.
My friend casually asked, “I had given any more thought about retirement?” This simple question triggered all of the events I had been experiencing in the recent past: The report from the Wycliffe Mobilization Director, his pleading with his church’s missions committee to support their desire to go to Indonesia, my application process with Wycliffe and my need to get a letter of recommendation from Intel, wondering how to tip my hand and tell my employer I was considering leaving. Also the question, “is this truly God’s leading for my life?” “Am I ready to leave my regular paycheck and be totally dependent on the Lord?” Am I ready to start a whole new job in Mobilization at Wycliffe?
Yet my mind was full of excitement and I felt prompted to share my secret with my Intel friend. I began to share my heart of what I felt God was calling me to do and the difficulties the Mobilization Director was facing. We talked on the plane all the way back to Oregon. As I shared, my Intel friend listened attentively. They he said something that really took me back, “I am the chair of the missions committee the Wycliffe Mobilization Director had been meeting with about going to Indonesia.”
How could I have known? But God knew. He had been orchestrating these seemingly independent events all the while. Only I was not aware of His plan.
Today, the former Wycliffe Mobilization Director has been serving in Indonesia with the full support of the church for over 10 years. My Intel friend wrote my recommendation to Wycliffe on behalf of the company. I went on to be accepted into membership with Wycliffe. I took this as God’s confirmation that He has directed my steps.