Patrick Henry, missionary to Argentina, answered the interview questions below:
How did God confirm to you that you should be a missionary?
It all started at a Mission Conference we had at our home church. At that conference I realized the personal obligation in getting the gospel to the world. I read a book called “The Master plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman. That book changed my perception as to what world evangelism is and how it is to be realized.
I started praying for all the countries of the world by using “Operation World” book to guide me. I started to understand that the call to world evangelism was not an option or only for specific people, but a command given by Jesus when He gave the great commission. I learned of statistics that bothered me, like 95% of the world lives outside of the United States. That would mean that there is a 95% chance that God would use me some where other than my home country.
I saw first hand the need on the mission field as well as great strides being made toward world evangelism while serving an internship in Arequipa, Peru and Santiago, Chile. All of these things worked together to burden us to surrender as missionaries. That burden quickly led to a consuming desire.
What in your childhood prepared you to be a missionary?
I cannot think of anything from from my childhood that prepared me for the mission field. Although, I am sure God has used many things I am not aware of. I had never met any missionaries. I was never taught about the personal obligations we have as Christians to World Evangelism.
When I was a teenager the church I was attending had a preacher come in who boldly and passionately explained our responsibility to get the gospel to the lost. To my recollection I had never heard anything like that before. I was challenged to share my faith. Although this was not in strict context to the foreign mission field it was a step in that direction.
How did your family react?
When I told my family about us leaving for the mission field there were different reactions. Our families were not excited at the news. They did understand that we were very serious about this, one of my family members still calls and tells me of churches that need a pastor just in case I am interested. (I am not interested!)
Another family member asked the question, “How could you leave us? We are getting older and are not going to be here much longer. How could you do this to us?” Other members of our family knew that this was coming. All in all they have all learned to accept it.
Who or what has been the most helpful or encouragement, person, book, or whatever?
God has used many people and things to be an encouragement to me. Some years ago I read “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman and that book changed my life. It gave me an understanding of our mission that I had previously never grasped. There are many people that could be named as great encouragements and help to me, Austin Gardner has challenged me with World Evangelism and man training more than anyone else. I am thankful for his influence on my life. It is not just about encouragement, it is about being challenged, pushed to do more, and called out when I am wrong.
If you could start over what would you do differently about your preparation and all that has brought you to where you are right now?
From where I stand now looking back, I would have started much sooner. It took me far too long to resolve myself to this calling. That being said, I am confident that God has used the pathway I have been on thus far to further prepare me for the foreign mission field.