Melanie (32) from Germany lives in Tanzania with her husband, Marcelo and their three children, Joshua (3), Emily (2) and Lisa (6 months). The Reimers belong to Wycliffe Germany and for the past four years have been translating the Bible into ten languages.
Melanie, you work as a missionary in Tanzania so mission is also your occupation. So what does missional lifestyle mean to you?
Melanie: Mission is really multifaceted. Some Christians work as foreign missionaries; others work in their own churches or are active in community outreach. Everyone must live out mission with the gifts God has given them. A “missional lifestyle” simply means that wherever you are make yourself available for use in some way for God’s kingdom.
How does someone know where and how God wants to use them? How can they identify their gifts and calling?
Melanie: To start with they can simply ask God what he has for them. Just ask God to reveal the way. Then you’ve just got to get started somewhere and let God lead. There are so many options even right where you are now in your school, university, or job to serve the Lord. Just begin somewhere and ask God to use you and lead you on from there.
How was it for you personally? How did God lead you into missions?
Melanie: I’ve been interested in missions ever since I became a Christian. It was for me a logical next step to take as a Christian. Wherever I had the opportunity I got involved or investigated different jobs. With all these experiences it became clear over time that God wanted me to be involved in full time missions. But it wasn’t clear to me at the time what area to get involved in...community outreach, church work, children’s work, Bible translation? I was open to anything. As a teenager I became interested in languages and decided later to study to become an interpreter. During that time, my interest in Wycliffe and Bible translation continued to grow. Then I met Marcelo and he knew he wanted to be involved in missions. But he wasn’t at all interested in languages. So we thought that Wycliffe wasn’t for us. But God thought otherwise. He spoke clearly to me and told me I should join Wycliffe. So I promised him I would do it. Then came the question of what Marcelo should do because he just wasn’t interested in languages. But that soon became clear: Marcelo’s talents are in the area of IT and Wycliffe is always looking for IT people. God called us to just the right place where we can both use the unique gifts he has given us.
When someone knows that God has called them to missions what would you recommend they do to prepare?
Melanie: I think that short-term mission experiences (a few weeks or even one or two years) and working in your home church or local community outreach meetings are the best ways to prepare for full-time service in missions. Talk with other Christians about your interest in missions and pray about it with them.