Sean Young is Director of Missions Operations for WELS. He began working with WELS Missions in 2012. Young writes about the privilege of serving in his position.
My name is Sean Young and I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve our church body as the new Director of Missions Operations in the Missions office. My background wasn’t in mission work beyond being the evangelism chair at my local church in Verona, Wisconsin. What I bring to the table is an unwavering willingness to serve the Lord through our church body in any way I can. I do this by utilizing my God given gifts of operational management to assist those missionaries we have in the field both within the United States and those whose calls have taken them around the world.
Granted, when I applied for this position I didn’t have anywhere near a full understanding of what it is we did as a synod in the area of mission work. Sure, I knew we put out a DVD entitled Road to Emmaus. I also knew we had someone in Haiti somewhere, but that was the extent of my knowledge of what my church body did. That, coupled with the fact that I had never left the United States before January 2012 should help establish that I am your “average” WELS member sitting in church on any given Sunday morning.
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with the majority of our missionaries both here in the U.S. and abroad, I have a much better understanding of how we carry out the Great Commission! Imagine my excitement when the Board for World Missions (the governing board for all of our mission work around the globe) asked me to visit one of our mission fields up close and personal by traveling to Cameroon, Africa. This is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to learn first-hand of both the blessings and challenges our called workers face while serving in a foreign land. While this won’t be my first venture into a mission field (I have been able to visit our missionaries in Mexico and on the Apache reservation), it will be my first visit overseas.
A friend of mine asked me what I was going to do to prepare for the trip, and I didn’t have an answer. Should I start talking to past visitors and missionaries on how they handled their preparations? Find out what kind of shots and visas I’ll need to enter Africa? Look into how I was going to get there? What about food? As you can imagine, my mind was going in a hundred different directions as I started to realize that I would be in Africa soon.
Then I just stopped. I stopped and began to pray that the Lord guide and protect me and Pastor Mohlke during our travels. I also asked that He give me the strength to do something that I would have never, ever even contemplated doing less than 12 months ago. Now I am letting the Word do the work, and all of my worries and concerns are melting away.