Ben and Rachel Ober always thought they would go to the nations as missionaries some day. They heard this calling separately, before they met one another, and now they are being obedient to where God is leading them overseas.
When Ben was in college, he started underlining his Bible everywhere he could find missions mentioned. This radically transformed his perspective.
“I was accustomed to thinking of the Great Commission as a verse at the end of Mark, or the end of Matthew, not really God’s heart running from Genesis to Revelation.”
After that, Ben was committed to going overseas as a missionary, and he served in the 10/40 window after college. Once he moved back to Raleigh, he knew he wanted to go to the field again some day.
Rachel also had similar desires before she met Ben. A short-term trip with the Summit confirmed her love for the local church and to serve overseas. She also realized she needed to marry someone who felt the same way.
“On that trip, God was placing it on my heart to wait on someone who had that same desire,” she said. “It became a non-negotiable for me.”
Three days later, she and Ben met. One of their first conversations was about international missions.
When they got engaged, they started talking more seriously about what living as missionaries would be like. They realized that while they were willing to move overseas, they had put terms and conditions on their calling, rather than surrendering fully to God.
“We thought we had our own timeline, and that we would find jobs in a strategic, global city,” said Ben. “We really had to surrender our ‘yes’ first.”
Then in April 2020, Ben was laid off from his job due to COVID-19 related business disruptions. He expanded his job search internationally to see if God might be sending them out sooner than they thought.
“We thought, ‘maybe this is our launching pad to keep going.’ We felt called to Puerto Rico,” said Rachel.
Part of their story, Ben said, is reframing what it means to be “sent.” They will both work full-time jobs in Puerto Rico, while being part of a local church, rather than full-time missionaries.
While they have thriving personal ministries and many friends in RDU, they are willing to lay it all aside to put Jesus first.
“Are we building our own kingdoms, or are we building the kingdom of Christ? Am I putting him first with my resources, my belongings? I know I could stay and be really comfortable,” said Rachel.
Ultimately, they know they are called to total obedience to God and his plans for their lives.
Rachel and Ben encourage others who are considering missions to lay down their preferences and see where God might be calling them.
“The point of this story isn’t to put a Christian veneer over your career progress and maybe you’ll get to live somewhere really cool. It’s not adventurism with a little bit of Jesus thrown in,” said Ben.
“If we focus on obedience first, the Lord will open up opportunities.”
Learn more about ways you can live sent in RDU and around the world (even in the midst of a global pandemic!).