“Call can change. Call can move with you,” said Grace Ogburn.
This fluid idea of God’s calling on a life is one Aaron and Grace Ogburn have become accustomed to over their last five years in college, seminary, and now at Pioneer Bible Translators where they are preparing for the mission field.
Their calls began early in life when both were small children. Grace grew up in a Southern Baptist church. Through programs like Girls in Action (GAs), mission was an integral part of her upbringing. Aaron encountered the need for the Gospel in the world as a missionary kid who grew up in South East Asia.
“I saw firsthand those who didn’t have this hope that was central to my life,” said Aaron. “That knowledge has driven my passion for mission and shaped my entire life.”
Aaron and Grace met at Baylor University in 2009, where both were challenged to discern and examine God’s call on their lives. They were asked questions like: What does it look like to be called? What does it look like to answer? This is where Grace came to understand “Call” as something that can move and change with you as you grow.
“Before college, I had always been part of sending missionaries out,” said Grace. “As I went through college, it became clearer and clearer that God was calling me to go. I was to stay in that same stream of mission but serve in a different part.”
This is an important delineation. Mission is not fully encompassed by going. The “stream” of mission, as Grace called it, is fully realized when there are people going and people sending.
From their studies, both Aaron and Grace learned and are still learning that Call looks different for everyone, but everyone is called.
“Call can be very specific or super vague,” said Grace. “And sometimes you think it’s super specific and you’re wrong. I think Aaron and I are learning what to do when that call looks vague. It’s really easy if a lightning bolt from the sky says go to Timbuktu. You just book your plane ticket. But if it’s a much more vague call, what do you do with that?”
Aaron’s answer was one of patience and trust.
“You must always be listening to God,” said Aaron. “You’re always coming back to God and asking, ‘What do you have for me next?’ You continue that conversation even when you’re discouraged. You keep listening.”
Aaron and Grace have been listening. They have been following, and God has led them to Pioneer Bible Translators – an organization where both of their individual callings and skills can work together in one vision. They joined Pioneer Bible last October, and have been preparing for the mission field by taking classes and trainings. They hope to leave in March to support Bible translations in Africa.
According to Pioneer Bible’s most recently updated statistics, there are 7,097 languages known to be in active use as a first language. Of that number, 3,223 languages have access to some Scripture translations. Remaining are about 1700 languages (representing around 160 million people) who have no access to the Bible in their native tongue. Pioneer Bible and their partners hope to begin work on all of these translations by 2030.
These numbers are part of what drew in Aaron and Grace. They want to give people access to the Word in their heart language. They have the same vision as Pioneer Bible, which exists to bridge the gap between the church and the Bibleless peoples around the world.
As they answer the call to go, First Baptist is thrilled to introduce Aaron and Grace Ogburn as our newest partner missionaries. We want to answer our call in being part of the sending – part of the mission stream that makes spreading the gospel possible. Through this relationship, we hope to foster our desire to be a Partnering and Relational Mission Church.