The call to bring the gospel to the nations is for every believer. In this article, Pastor Michael Paderes and his wife, Pia, talk about their experience as missionaries and the importance of doing missions.
Why do we need to go or send people to do missions work abroad when we can do the same work here in our country?
Pastor Michael: Missions is a matter of obedience. Going back to the mandate of God in Genesis 26:1–6, it says we are to extend His glory and rule over all of creation. It’s not just a project or passion of Every Nation. It’s a response to God’s call; and it shouldn’t be unique to Victory or Every Nation. Every believer should participate in God’s mission to redeem all of creation. That is why if we don’t go to other nations, we would be limiting the scope of the work of God. In Matthew 20, it says “Go and make disciples of all nations.” In Acts 1:8, it says that we’ve been empowered to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. It is very clear in Scripture that as an act of obedience, as an act of faith, we are to go and proclaim the gospel as our way of helping redeem all of creation back to Christ.
Even Jesus Christ came to be among us. The Father sent the Son, and the Son’s ministry was incarnation. Christ came to be with us in order to redeem us. The same principle applies to us. It’s one thing to just broadcast the gospel. It’s another to be among a people to proclaim, to demonstrate, and to live out the gospel so that other nations would be redeemed and discipled.
How has doing missions work affected your lives as individuals and as a couple? How have you seen God accomplish His work through you?
Pia: We went as missionaries to Russia a year after our marriage. We were young and ready to conquer the world. We went there thinking that we would be going to change this nation and change the people. After four years, we realized that it was us who got changed—our perspective about different people and cultures. We know that the gospel is all-encompassing, that it’s the truth that all people from all nations need to know. But the way we are to present God’s truths will vary depending on the culture. What will work in one nation may not work in another.
Pastor Michael: Personally, it’s not so much our involvement in missions that changed me as it was the preaching in the early days. Every Sunday preaching felt like a missions message. From the very beginning, God gave me a global vision. I was very much willing to go anywhere to fulfill the call of God. Pia and I went to the mission field not because we were called to be missionaries, but because we were obeying what God says in His word to all believers. Seeing all that God is doing left permanent imprints on my mind and heart.
First, God’s word is true. He really has called us to go to the nations. Second, He can use anyone to make an impact in the nations. And lastly, Every Nation—and Victory, in particular—has a unique call to reach the next generation in the nations of the world. Even after 25 years of doing this, I am still in awe and humbled when I see locals surrendering their lives to Christ. I can’t believe that I get to be part of it. To me, it’s nothing less than a miracle. Seeing a person of a different faith, culture, religion, and worldview leave all that to surrender his or her life to God and be totally transformed is something I will never get tired of. That’s still what gets me up to this day. I’ve seen how the gospel transforms individuals, families, communities, and cities.
Like all missionaries, we faced trials and challenges in the mission field. These challenges strengthened and fortified our relationship with God. Out there, you will literally fall on your knees and cry out in desperation to God. You really will not be able to rely on your strength. You will learn to cry out and hold on to God. And He always comes through. May it be in your finances, your ministry, or issues in your heart that God brings out. You will learn to depend on God alone.
When we were in Russia, the Russian economy collapsed and we relied on God alone for our daily provision. We also experienced security threats and numerous discouragements. We faced difficult challenges, but we also experienced God’s faithfulness and how He can miraculously turn situations around. In the mission field, you will experience the reality of God. If you are in the middle of God’s will, He will make a way. He will always show Himself faithful.
Why do think missions should still be a priority now, when there are other pressing needs due to the pandemic? How can you be a bearer of good news to nations in the midst of a global crisis?
Pastor Michael: God is so committed to His mission that He will see to it that His plans and purposes are fulfilled. God chose to do this through the Church—pandemic or no pandemic. The global situation is a big shock to all of us, but not to God. God knew from the very beginning that this will hit us in 2020. God made His plans and chose, empowered, and anointed us knowing that a pandemic will hit us this year. We don’t press pause on life, the mission of God, or what He is asking us to do because of an unprecedented pandemic. God’s will is to work in and through us in the midst of this.
When campuses started to close, new doors opened for us to continue doing what God wants us to do. Discipleship in several parts of the world are actually at a peak because of these new doors. Some churches are currently having their record-breaking number of ONE 2 ONE meetings. A lot of students now are more open to talk about life when we shifted online. This pandemic created opportunities for our missionaries. All the more, we need to be ready to share the hope and peace that can only be found in Christ in this season of global crisis.
How can a regular church member be involved in missions?
Pastor Michael: Every member can help fulfill the Great Commission. They can pray for missionaries, for the nations, or for a particular nation that God put in their hearts. They can give and become a partner of our Every Nation missionaries. They can also go by joining a Ten Days team or go long term, by becoming a cross-cultural missionary. The call to make disciples of all nations is for every believer. Whether through praying, giving, or going, we can all participate in what God is doing in every nation.
Truly, there is hope in the gospel that is for all people. Taking the gospel to the nations is what will transform the world, and as believers, we should all actively take part in it.
Pastor Michael Paderes has been serving as the Missions director of Every Nation Philippines for 18 years. He was 28 years old and his wife, Pia, was 24 when they went to Russia as missionaries. They are blessed with three lovely children who are also actively serving the church.
Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series.