Missionary Story

God winks

When God uses college to bring two women together to further His kingdom through graphic design and photography, it proves that ministry work does not always look like evangelism, which is often a misconception. God winks. Despite cultural differences, there’s always a need for the gospel, and people all over the world struggle with similar issues. The church is united under God, and even though our cultures are different, they can be brought together by those who answer the call to go to the unreached and the lost. Being more aware of and appreciating God’s creativity through our God-given differences, similarities, and skills to understand how to properly use our talents can be used as a tool to further His kingdom here on earth.

Rory and Meredith first met when they were placed together as suitemates in college. They had an instant connection as they sensed each other’s deep spiritual relationships. Seeing that they had similar interests through photography and graphic design, they each sought out ways to utilize those skills as a way to connect with people, establish relationships, and spread the gospel. An agreeable and common misconception is that ministry is only for extroverts. Knowing that the Lord made their personalities for his Kingdom, they continue to seek their strengths in their creative abilities and their personalities and will use those two to enjoy being on the field, simply because the Lord put those desires in their hearts. They know that God wants his glory to be known, so he uses people who we would least expect or people who would say that they don’t know the Bible inside and out.

Rory Bennett
At a young age, Rory felt burdened for the unreached which built up a desire to travel and share the gospel. Being born into a family of missionaries, she often heard unique and interesting stories of different cultures, but also began carrying the heavyweight of knowing that the people in those cultures are not exposed to the gospel the way that Americans are. “In 9th grade, I learned the truth of the persecuted church. I wanted to travel and share the gospel. God said he wanted to use me for the nations. [I’m] not sure which one, but I wanted to be obedient in the small things to see how it could lead to bigger things. It’s a command to be on mission all the time, so it’s more so where God wills.” Through photojournalism, Rory will be able to share people’s stories while sharing what God is doing all over the world. She is excited and encouraged to be part of that while seeing and knowing what work is being done on the field. Photography has given Rory a chance to genuinely connect with people, as it puts them in vulnerable spots through photoshoots. Randomly walking up to people to take their pictures also opens doors for conversation. God winks. This opportunity will lead Rory to invest in people long-term while forming relationships and learning about the different cultures. As Rory prepares for the field, she is building her support system to know that she has a solid group of people to rely on just as Paul did in the book of Acts. She has used the book of Acts as her model for ministry, knowing that she may possibly face loneliness at some point. Since the enemy likes to use loneliness as a tactic, Rory wants to prepare for that time and know that she has friends and family praying for and encouraging her. She is also learning that everywhere is the mission field. We don’t have to travel across the sea; God just calls us to go. Through her time of being diligent in searching for his will for her life, she’s learned to listen to God and not project what she wants over his voice. Rather she is listening and spending time in the Word to know the truth and to discern his voice. Rory wants to encourage others to consider ways to be more supportive to missionaries or be on the field more than they are. We’re not called to come to church, leave, and only take, but to give. Seek ways to give to the work that is being done by being part of it emotionally, financially, or physically.

Meredith Vaughn 
Growing up in church and with a gospel-centered family, you would think dropping everything and moving across the world to share the gospel would come as second nature and never warrant a second thought. Meredith comes from a tightly-knit family, so when she began telling them that she would be moving away for a long period of time, it was not taken well at first. Even for families who are strong in their faith, being relocated to go on mission is one of the toughest and greatest sacrifices for a missionary and their family. What doesn’t come as a second thought for Meredith is obeying God and his plan. As Meredith began searching for a mentor to help prepare her for the mission field, she began to pray and wonder what that relationship would look like. God placed someone in her life who she had already known — a mom who served with the youth at her previous church. As they began building their relationship, Meredith discovered that her mentor knew more about what she was going through than she expected. As the daughter of a pastor, her mentor understood the difficulty of leaving a family and could help with the support that was needed for the transition for her and her family. God winks. Meredith says that in seeking a mentor and going through the motions of learning to be more intentional, she has been reassured and has seen that God has chosen her to take on this task. She says it’s surreal to feel so known in that way by God. Meredith has such a deep desire to honor her parents that it leads her to seek affirmations that this is God’s will for her life. Since she can remember, she has kept a book where she writes down verbal affirmations from family and friends. She reads it when she needs encouragement. As she reads older notes, she has found facts to confirm her calling, which has helped her in connecting all of the small instances that have led to this decision in her life. God winks. Each year, she searches for a word for the Lord to reveal to her that she can meditate on and apply to her daily life. During a passion conference, her word for the year was revealed to her through a song sung by Kari Jobe that says, “a wonder that I can’t explain.” God winks. The word “wonder” stuck out to her and fit perfectly as she has spent so much time wondering and seeking answers for this new task. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Meredith has used this verse as a guide during her time searching for God to solidify this decision of obedience in her life. Sharing the joy of the Lord and prayer has been a leading factor and confirmation in her calling to travel as a graphic designer to share the gospel. As Meredith prepares to go, she looks forward to being more relationship-focused with individuals. ”That part excites me…to hear other people’s stories and learn how to see them,” she said.

Rory and Meredith will be traveling through Europe, partnering together, and utilizing photography and graphic design as tools to reach the lost and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being a longtime member at Church at The Mill, Rory believes that her church family has fully equipped her in every way to go. “Church at The Mill has been huge in fostering that desire, after going to churches who only encourage one trip a year and a few food pantries and called that missions. Church at The Mill is true to Gather, Grow, Give and GO,” she said. Meredith is new to Church at The Mill. Since she began attending one year ago, she began seeing the church body be behind people’s talents and pushing those forward for his glory for the first time in her life. Through little nuances and evident situations, God winks, He calls us out by name to glorify Him no matter our personalities or skills. As we send off Rory and Meredith, and throughout their time in Europe, join us in praying for barriers to fall as they connect and build relationships with those with whom they come into contact. Pray for their team, that there will be continuous unity and for it to be obvious when the enemy creates any dissension for them. If you would like to support and encourage Rory and Meredith, contact ashlee@churchathemill.com for further connection.

From Pastor Jason: 

I am so proud of the ways Rory and Meredith have pursued God’s calling in their lives. God gave them both very specific talents and has now provided an opportunity to utilize those talents for the Kingdom. These two women are great examples for our students to learn from as they explore the calling on their lives and the skills they have been blessed with.
I have had a front-row seat watching Rory grow in her faith and hone her photography skills. I couldn’t be happier to watch her take this next step. Meredith is passionate about making disciples and enthusiastic about Jesus. We will certainly miss them being here, but we celebrate the work they are about to do!
Church at The Mill is dedicated to supporting the sending organization financially every month and will be sending short-term mission teams whenever possible. You can join us in supporting these women by praying for them regularly, continuing to be generous with your tithes, and praying about how God might use you in great ways.

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