Beating the Odds
By Hannah Mott
You will find me proudly wearing my Nashville Predators jersey in a sea of Detroit Red Wings fans. You will find me prancing straight past the reign of corporate Starbucks to enjoy a pour-over cup of Joe from my favorite local coffee shop. You will find me rooting for the tortoise to crush the hare in the race.
It’s part of my 20-something, millennial DNA. It’s the nature of my generation. We almost always root for the underdog and proudly wave the banner for those who have the odds stacked against them. We will stand bravely and fight for what seems an impossible cause.
I think God also stands behind the unlikely hero of a mismatched situation. His glory is displayed time and time again in the triumph achieved by the lowly people He calls to battle throughout the Bible. He called David to smash a giant with a tiny stone. He called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to go against their entire culture and stand up to King Nebuchadnezzar. He called Moses to march to Pharaoh’s throne and boldly demand the Israelites be freed after 400 years of slavery. God is for the radical success of the unlikely victor with His unmatched power as the only explanation for triumph.
When I started my journey as student missions coordinator at Free Will Baptist International Missions, you could say I was quite the long shot. Only 22 years old, freshly graduated from college, a newlywed, and with one day of training to prepare me for the job—I was sure to be a letdown. As my first year of
E-TEAM training lurked in the future, the odds continued to stack against me. Endless government travel documents in languages I didn’t understand, missed trains in Tokyo that left a team stranded, forgotten money for the Cuba team, flight delays in Brazil, and countless phone calls from parents asking questions I couldn’t answer led to overwhelming fear.
Photo: E-TEAM staff and interns with author Hanna Mott (third from left).
It seemed dauntingly clear my defeat was on the rise against what seemed an impossible task—making my first year of E-TEAM a success. I was relieved as emails from missionaries saying they had a team safe and sound popped up in my inbox. The 82 students I had lost sleep over for months were finally out of my care for just a little while. I had 12 days to sit and wallow in failure before they arrived home to the States.
Emotionally drained and mentally exhausted, I anticipated a horrible reunion resulting in every student saying goodbye to missions for good. I, the underdog, was overcome and accepting defeat. To my surprise, I was completely and utterly wrong. Instead of frustrated students who hated E-TEAM, I welcomed home 82 students who were marked forever by their experiences during those 12 days on the mission field. They told astounding stories of how God was moving throughout the nations. They wept, explaining their deep-felt pain for the lost around the world.
As I sat with them in awe, the only response that seemed fitting for their life-changing experience was to join the fight. They, a group of improbable high school students, and I, an improbable missions coordinator, vowed to change the world and join the seemingly endless battle to fulfill the Great Commission. As I walked through stories with them, it was obvious that the unmatched power of God was worth our lives. We, the underdogs, had decided to fight.
We vowed to be an active part in the uphill battle for the nations to know the name of Jesus. We promised to stand boldly as unlikely candidates in the face of opposition, knowing the God of unmatched power is on our side. We declared we would be part of something greater, braver, and with more impact for the gospel, rather than hide from the magnitude of the task at hand. We determined to give selflessly to global ministry projects knowing that our financial support goes to someone meeting Jesus. We pledged to go often and experience the work helping hurting people worldwide. We agreed to pray diligently for the immense burden of international ministry to drive our core beings and shape the way we live our lives.
We will be part of a people, the Church, whom God uses to shout boldly His glory to the nations. We will stand beside our faithful friends around the world who serve relentlessly proclaiming God’s glory. We will boldly stand in the name of the God of unmatched power so that the gospel will be shared even to the ends of the earth. Will you join us?
About the Writer: Hanna Mott (pictured above, third from left) has served as student missions coordinator since 2012.