The Call of the Rosenwalds
By Todd Rosenwald
How I Knew I was Called to Missions
Over the 20 years I’ve invested in mission work, the questions I am most often asked are, How did you know you were called to missions? How did you know you were called specifically to China? And how did you know where in China to go?
The answers took years to walk out, but I will simplify the massive details by sharing our story:
1. Serve where you are and get involved.
Michelle and I met in youth group right after I returned home from my first mission trip to Russia. She had begun attending youth group while I was away. Even before meeting me, Michelle was intrigued that I was on a mission trip; when I first saw her, I was more than intrigued about her.
Our youth pastor, Lisa Edwards, was passionate about missions. She actively organized and mobilized mission trips both at home and abroad. She was also a big proponent of mission conferences like Acquire the Fire. Her passion and these conferences were a great way to educate youth about missions.
During my trip to Russia I sensed a call to missions and knew I would be heavily involved. I did not know how or where. Those details would all come into focus as Michelle and I moved forward pursuing a missional life.
During our time in the youth group we served in every area we could, worship team, worship dance, drama team, and youth leadership, to name a few.
2. Start Moving Toward a Missional Life
Michelle and I also joined a number of short term domestic and international mission teams. I helped with Hurricane Andrew relief and took a crazy mission trip to the New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. Internationally, I served in Mexico and Pakistan, while Michelle served in Jamaica and Mexico.
We enrolled in a charismatic Bible school, a ministry out of a very missional church. The school was cheap and fired up for missions. Their aim was to get missionary-minded people grounded deeply in the Word and missions preparation without taking on any debt. We sensed early on that debt would be a major hindrance to our availability to God and His mission for us.
After graduation from Bible School, Michelle interned in Pattaya, Thailand; I interned for six months in Kunming, China. During Michelle’s time in Thailand she came to love Asia. During my internship God confirmed that China was the place he was establishing us through dreams, words of knowledge, and a vision.
It was through our movement and preparation for a missional life that God directed our steps. You’ve heard it said that God can’t steer a parked car. That was certainly the case in our lives. With our every step to move, God did something to “steer” us in the right direction.
One of our most difficult experiences prior to leaving for China was watching the church where Michelle and I met go through a major complex and confusing crisis. It was heartbreaking. We knew we had to leave this church in order to fulfill God’s plan. But it was through this event we found our tribe, the Vineyard.
It was Pat Malone (Vineyard of Southwest Pittsburgh) who recognized God’s call to missions on our lives, and he was the first to pledge support… a very generous amount. His support and encouragement helped launch us and sustain us. Since we did not feel we were to work with a missions organization, this pastor’s support was key for us. We believe in the relationship provided by local-church based missions.
Even in the most trying situations we endured, God was preparing us and providing for our departure to China.
3. Take the Big Steps
So in 1999 we moved to China. Our first step was to learn the language so that we could connect deeply with people and understand them. As we worked in China, God continued putting pieces together to give our ministry His direction. We had been living in China for a year before God brought our first Vineyard Church partner, making us a partnership. Even our partnership was formed after we were already in missions motion.
Our work in China is primarily focused on reaching “unreached people groups” (tribes that are virtually untouched by the gospel). It is an interesting missions fact that over 80% of the world’s poor are unreached by the Gospel.1 As we ministered to the spiritual needs of the unreached we were also compelled to get involved in meeting some of their practical needs.
Moving forward, God birthed in our key disciples a heart for the poor and outcast through training in the theology and ministry of the Kingdom of God. They also began to move toward ministering to the poor and needy. Even with failures, mistakes and false starts, several important ministries were birthed; they caught the heart and began moving missionally. Thus the process we experienced repeated itself in those for whom we cared.
Are You Considering Your Call to Missions?
If you are considering where you stand with your call to missions, you can read a great article on the Vineyard Missions website that takes a deep theological look at the call to missions and asks some compelling questions. You can access this article by Dr. Tad Blackburn by clicking here
Bio for Todd Rosenwald and His Feet International
Todd & Michelle Rosenwald have been married for 18 years and are currently the parents of five wonderful children. Todd & Michelle both graduated from Dayspring Bible Training Center. Todd is a graduate from Vineyard Bible Institute’s Bachelor Program. Todd & Michelle are conference speakers, church planters, and pastors. Both are very passionate about preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God and it’s outworking in marriage and missions. After serving in China for 13 years, Todd & Michelle now direct His Feet International, a non-profit ministry focused on reaching the unreached and ministering to the poor. To read about how His Feet is reaching the unreached, ministering to leprosy victims, and serving the persecuted church please visit www.hisfeet.com. If you would like to contact Todd or Michelle or book them to speak please email firstname.lastname@example.org