During my recent internship with Unlocking the Bible, I discovered the various ways that this ministry equips people to open the Bible and to be transformed through the ministry of the Word and prayer. Through an interview with a dynamic missionary couple, I learned the importance of praying with a willingness to be used by God—wherever he takes us.
Meet Doug and Kristie Andre! They are a couple from the Chicagoland area who are following God’s leading in their lives. Trusting the Lord, they have moved across the world to share the Gospel in Budapest, Hungary.
“Pray Big Prayers!” – An Interview with Doug and Kristie Andre
Just weeks before Doug and Kristie packed their bags and left the United States, we sat down together to discuss the process they followed to make this monumental, mission-minded decision.
How did you decide to go to Hungary?
Kristie: After Doug and I got married, we went on many mission trips together. We went to the Philippines for two weeks and then to Albania. When we came back from all of these trips, we always felt like we hadn’t done enough. And could we see ourselves doing something more long-term.
We began to feel that the Lord was putting a call to global missions on our hearts. So, we started investigating which mission agency might be a good fit for us. And several people at our church kept saying, “Oh, you have to go to Budapest, Hungary!” At first, we didn’t quite understand why so many people were telling us this. But God knew.
What advice would you give to people who are trying to discern God’s will for their lives?
Doug: We like to encourage people to pray a bit bigger, looking for new opportunities that will stretch you to serve the Lord and get you out of your comfort zone a little bit. You know, we’re totally out of our comfort zone now! We’ve shed just about every material thing that we could in order to follow the Lord. We’ve sold our house and cars, quit our jobs, and gotten rid of most of our possessions. We are debt-free and ready to go!
We’re living in an extended-stay hotel right now [at the time of this interview], until we leave for Budapest. We’ve been here for several months, waiting for our departure day. We’re excited to serve the Lord! We’re really excited about the ways that we’re going to see God working and to get to play a small part in that.
Your reliance on God is so encouraging! I like your bold suggestion to “pray a bit bigger.” What do you mean by that?
Doug: When we give our lives to Jesus Christ (which I did 18 years ago and which I am doing now), we receive his Holy Spirit. So, there shouldn’t be anything that we are afraid to try to accomplish for the kingdom of God—to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, I’m always asking for “bigger” opportunities to serve him. I’m often praying, “God let me do more for you before you take me home”, and now he’s got me going to Budapest, Hungary as a missionary of the Gospel!
Sometimes I think we kind of shortchange what God wants to do through us and in us. But we can pray big! And then just stand back and watch what the Lord does. Praying big feels scary. And sometimes God leads us to things that stretch us like a rubber band, and it’s uncomfortable. But in the end, our sole purpose is just to glorify God wherever he takes us.
I agree, to sacrifice our comfort is hard to do-but worth it to glorify God. How do you see your role as you work for the Lord?
Doug: I like the lawn mower illustration. Picture a dad in the front yard, cutting the grass with his lawnmower. There’s a little kid, walking behind his dad with his toy lawnmower. It’s not cutting the grass, but the kid doesn’t know it. And he’s blissfully unaware that he’s not really doing much except following the path of his father, who is actually cutting the grass. When the work is done, and they’re sitting down together at the end, the little boy or girl says, “Hey, Papa! We cut the grass today, didn’t we?” And the father says, “Yes we did!”
For me, that’s what walking with the Lord is like. I know he’ll bring Kristie and me to the work he wants us to do, but he’s the one actually doing the work. We’re just tagging along behind him.
What a beautiful picture of the work anyone does for the Lord! The work is done by his power, but we get to be a part of it. As you begin this season of missionary work, what is the role of Scripture in your life?
Kristie: I grew up in the Lutheran church, but I just didn’t really know the Bible. I came to know the Lord when I was 26 years old, and I just had this insatiable desire to read God’s Word. And so, I began read the Bible every day.
The way we talk to someone and how we interact affect how well we know the person. God has given us his Word so that we can know him. He doesn’t tell us everything, and there’s a lot of unknowns. Many parts of the Bible can be challenging to understand. But God speaks to us through his word and is available for us to talk to him. We can ask him anything. We can cry out to him. I need that fellowship with my Lord and Savior.
Bringing God’s Word to the Hungarian people is the key to their relationship with Jesus Christ, too. I want to be able to share with them the joy I have found in Christ through God’s written Word.
The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ. And the entire world needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I say to others is not so important as what God has to say. Doug and I are just thrilled to be able to go to Hungary with an open Bible.
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other (Isa. 45:5-6).