Hearing, following His plan
On a Wednesday night, Heather Montgomery leads her faithful youth group back in time on the road to Damascus where Jesus confronts Saul, a Hebrew who was on his way to capture Christians in the city.
Montgomery tells her flock that Jesus’ impact blinds him until Jesus’ disciple Ananias heals and baptizes Saul, who becomes Paul the Apostle and a follower of God.
“Sometimes He has to knock you off your feet before you will say, ‘Hey God here I am, I am going to change and I am going to give 110 percent to you,’” she said.
The Henderson resident has been youth pastor at the South Henderson Church of God for eight years, but her call to spread the word beyond her immediate community came in June when she spent two weeks on a mission trip in Uganda that inspired her to launch her own organization: Impact the World Ministries.
The ministry has already started local projects, but Montgomery has bigger ideas: to spread the gospel through a mission trip in Haiti next summer.
Road to Uganda
Montgomery, a nurse practitioner at Triangle Orthopedics, said she knew God had plans for her to go on a mission trip but she didn’t know where He wanted her to go.
“I prayed about it for two years and God laid it on my heart and I don’t want to do anything out of the will of God,” she said.
As she prayed, Montgomery started hearing about missions to Africa.
With that on her mind, she received an email with information about a medical mission trip to Kenya through Joyce Meyer Ministries, a Christian-based non-profit media organization with a branch for mission trips.
“I said, ‘God, if you really want me to do this, I need money for a passport,’ because I hadn’t got my passport,” she recalled. “I just kind of left it alone, and about a week later I got a check in the mail for $160, and my passport was about $150.”
Montgomery requested time off at work and her request was granted, but she still needed to find a way to fund the $3,000 trip.
She explored the possibility of using continuing education funding offered through Triangle Orthopedics.
“I heard they would let me use it for the mission trip,” she said. “I presented the proposal and they sent me an email back that said I could use the $2,000 and they were going to give me an additional $500. And I said, ‘Praise God, I’ve got this money,’” she said.
It looked like everything was falling into place and her trip to Kenya was in sight.
But then she received an email from Joyce Meyer Ministries informing her that her paperwork was approved, but the team was full and there was no longer room for her to go.
“I was devastated,” Montgomery said. “And the whole time God was molding me because I am not a very patient person. I want to know now, I have to plan things, and He said, ‘just leave it alone, I will take care of it.’”
Days later, a local pastor told her about a team with Rick Via Ministries that was looking for someone to join their trip to Uganda.
She quickly learned that the mission needed another nurse practitioner and the dates of the trip matched the time she already had taken off work.
“I didn’t have to take any additional time off or anything,” she said. “God provided me money, He paid for the whole trip. That’s how good God is.”
The 24-member team, including six nurses, traveled to Jinja, Uganda, in June for a two-week medical mission trip through Rick Via Ministries World Reach Partnership.
Montgomery said the nurses saw 4,500 patients in just six days and the team built two churches in the time they were there.
“There were days when we saw really sick people,” Montgomery said. “They are so desperate and they are so lost. They don’t know about Jesus.”
“Of course, we provide the medical services but the biggest goal was to spread the gospel, to spread Jesus’ love through providing medicine and showing that Jesus hasn’t forgotten about them.”
Impact the World
The miracles Montgomery witnessed impacted her more than she could have imagined. When she returned from her trip, Montgomery began to notice the word ‘impact’ everywhere she went.
“God laid it on my heart to start this ministry,” she said.
The purpose of Impact the World Ministries, she said, is to show God’s love through missions, locally and worldwide.
The group’s first project, Take Care, donated more than 200 care kits with shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and deodorant to local homeless shelters, including Community Partners of Hope, Life Line Outreach and the Harbour House Ministries in Oxford.
“They thought it was Christmas when I delivered them,” she said. “It was awesome, they just loved it.”
“But I don’t go just to give them these things. I want to tell them about Jesus, that’s my goal. My passion is to spread the word.”
Now, she is working on a budget for the mission trip to Haiti, which is planned for July 26, 2014, and will cost around $2,000 per person.
She has encouraged her youth group at the Church of God to join her mission, and even two of her three young children have shown interest in the trip.
“I think it will be very humbling and it will make them appreciate what we have here,” she said.
Montgomery also hopes her youth group will continue to participate in Impact the World Ministries’ small community projects.
“I just got to take it one step at a time,” she said. “I’m still praying about what this ministry holds.”
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Learn more about Impact the World Ministries at impacttheworldministries.com or on Facebook by searching Impact the World Ministries.