How I got to the Inner City as a Missionary

How I got to the Inner City as a Missionary

Going back to when I got filled with the Holy Spirit in 1980, the Lord gave me a verse – which I’ve taken as my life verse. It is a familiar one, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.“  I took that scripture very seriously and spent a day a week fasting, asking God what those plans were. I also took one day a month to get away for a fasting overnight retreat, praying and seeking Him at a nearby retreat center. I had this pattern for a year and then God began to give me the desire to become a missionary. 

To make a long story short, He gave me clear signs, impressions, scriptures, spoke through others and gave deeper desires of where, with what mission organization and finally when He wanted me to go.  During this process, I grew very much in my love for God’s Word, hearing His voice, discernment, prophecy and growing deep in my trusting relationship with Him. I felt His presence very close, and knew so clearly that I was in His will. 

When I flew to Switzerland in 1983, I remember thinking “God is the same here as back in Minnesota!”  He still felt very close. I spent over 4 years on the mission field  based in Lausanne, Switzerland doing evangelism, leading teams, and engaging in other aspects of ministry in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa with Youth with a Mission until I had to come home due to an illness in 1987.  What I gained from those times was the development of the use of the gifts of the Spirit, growth in intercession especially for other people groups and nations; a love for the diversity of ethnic groups that I came to know;  and I grew deeper in my faith in God especially while spending time in the war zone in Africa. There I learned that the safest place to be is in God’s will. 

Getting sick and having to come home threw a big wrench in my trust in the Lord who had so clearly called me.  I remember thinking that it felt like I had been picked up by a helicopter, carried across the ocean and parachuted down to Minnesota. What was this all about? I had no home, no money, lost my career as a nurse and as a missionary – both of which I loved very much. On top of all that my mom was dying of cancer.  However, out of their generous and hospitable hearts, a local family invited me to stay with them for a while — which I did. This gave me time to pray and seek God about this mysterious situation that I was in. 

One of first things the Lord spoke to me was the verse:  Malachi 4:2 “But you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” (I later learned that the symbol of the leaping calves represents abundant life.)  The other thing He gave me was the acronym for the word WAIT. He said “waiting is not passive, rather it’s an active process.” (paraphrased). He unfolded:

“W”orship, don’t whine or worry,

“A”ttend to the Lord,  attend to His Word  and His promises

“I”ntercession: As I understand it now, pray into being the next thing He has for me to do.

“T”rust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5, 6.  Verses 7 and 8 (paraphrased) go on to say, Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear God who will bring health to your body…. 

 I waited for 16 years, healing in body, soul, and spirit; served in leadership with young adults in my church; was trained and began to serve in All Things New Prayer Ministry; started working as a nurse in a low stress job; and, moved about from home to home. Finally in 2003, a friend who was serving on the mission field in Asia invited me to rent from his house in the St. Paul inner city. Initially I thought, “No way, Hosea! I’m not going over there!  But I did think, “Well, I should pray about that.” When I got down on my knees to pray and was worshiping God, I had the strong sense that the Lord was turning my heart around and I, surprisingly, had a deep desire to become a missionary again!

So I contacted my All Things New leaders, and they graciously went to prayer with me in the North Heights Lutheran Church sanctuary. As we prayed in the Spirit really hard, it seemed like smoke was visible because we were so intense. I remember fighting the Lord, saying that I did not want to do this. I do not want to move to the dangerous inner city!! However, the more we prayed, a breakthrough came, and I had great peace!  I remember sitting up from the bent over prayer position and saying, something like “Yes! this IS God’s will for me to do.”

In 2004, I moved to Sims Ave. right in the heart of the drugs, many police calls, poverty, gun shots and many other kinds of oppression and crime.  Thankfully, right away God gave me praying friends and we prayed together on a regular basis for one year. At the end of that time, two of us (a pastor’s wife and myself) realized we were to start a children’s ministry which later led to regular weekly mentoring that continues to this day, called ROC (Rooted on Christ). 

At that time, there were Hmong, Native American, Caucasian, Hispanic and African American children involved. Getting to know them and their families during ongoing intercession, Back Yard Bible Clubs, mentoring in a neighborhood Church, summer outreaches in the parks, and finally going to yards of family homes and using FaceTime during Covid to reach out has been one of my most life enriching experiences. The love for diversity grew overseas, but prepared me for living in the inner city. I feel as though I am living the abundant life over here and God is using all of my past experiences to minister to my dear friends and inner-city family!! 

As we, the mentor leadership, prayed fervently for other mentors to join us, several answered the call. Out of the many young adults that served with us, there were 3 marriages. And one couple just had their first baby!  Over time, we mentored those young leaders and prayed that that generation would be able to take over our roles. God raised up one particular couple to do just that and they have joined in the overall leadership of the ministry.  The ongoing intercession that involves several of you, has carried us through to even now when an apparently drug-addicted mom is opening up to us. God also answered prayer for more Christians to move into the neighborhood. Several of us who are networking for Kingdom work pray weekly for God’s protection and prospering of the gospel. We have had less crime and lots more peace. I feel safe here.  God has led me step by step and I am very much blessed. He is so faithful and my deep trust in Him has returned. He has given me a great love tor the people over here. My conclusion is: As a missionary, “It’s the people, all about people and growing to love them with the love of Jesus!!”  In the process, He gives fulfillment, joy and great delight in following His will. —