July 17, 2018
Abby Maston’s journey around the world took a slight detour before she even got started.
She broke her wrist.
And this was no mere fracture. It was a bad break, requiring immediate surgery.
(Abby Maston and her squad during training camp for The World Race 2018)
To hear her tell the story, though, you realize pretty quickly that nothing is going to stand in the way of the Anderson University graduate’s plan to pursue a life of ministry.
A broken wrist? No problem.
In August, Abby is joining thousands of recent college graduates who will spend 11 months performing humanitarian work in 11 countries around the world. It’s called The World Race, and at first glance it appears pretty daunting. In fact, Abby is frankly surprised she even considered it, let alone is just weeks from her first mission trip.
After all, her determination and self-assurance didn’t come naturally. To hear her tell the story, an adventure like this wasn’t part of her plan.
God, though, had other ideas.
“I knew I wanted to go into Christian ministry, but after graduation I was working part-time and just praying and listening to what God was trying to tell me about what I should do,” she says. “I was walking around in the woods one day, and I just felt Him telling me to wait, that He would reveal His plan.”
At the same time, a friend was participating in The World Race, and Abby was following her friend’s blog.
“I was so intrigued,” Abby says. “I started thinking, if I could put aside finances, and be willing and open to God, what would I do? I realized I would do anything.”
But would she really? That was the question Abby kept asking herself. Sure, The World Race looked interesting, and she signed up to get updates from the organization. But there was her family to consider, right? Money. Time. The stuff of life.
“I thought, ‘I could never do anything like that,’” she says. “But I felt like God was asking me, ‘Why can’t you surrender everything?’ I was looking at all my possessions, these unpacked boxes from college in my room. God started to show me that I wasn’t willing to surrender to Him, or willing to step out of my comfort zone. I was asking God for more, and this was it. It was the opportunity He was preparing me for.”
It was also the opportunity Anderson University, and the College of Christian Studies, prepares its students to take.
“It’s important that students engage other cultures,” said Dr. Tim McKnight, professor of Christian Studies at AU and director of The Great Commission Center at AU’s Clamp Divinity School. “(The World Race) is a ministry that encourages and allows people to do that. My prayer is that through this experience our students would gain a heart for missions, and that it would motivate them to share the Gospel outside of our Western cultural context. Seeing that engagement from students like Abby is encouraging and gratifying.”
McKnight says Abby is one of several AU students who participate in The World Race. Amy Johnson, another recent AU graduate, is participating this year as well and is a part of Abby’s team.
“Their willingness and eagerness to be involved speaks to the fact that AU instills in them a kingdom focus on people around the world that need the Gospel,” McKnight says. “It reflects the Gospel-centered, missional focus not just in the College of Christian Studies, but all across our campus.”
It’s one thing to learn about missional focus. It’s something entirely different to embrace it. Abby says that was a big part of what God was trying to teach her as she considered whether to make the leap of faith from recent college graduate to full-time missionary.
“When I came to AU, I was already a Christian and wanted to go into ministry, but I’d never been in an environment like AU’s before,” she says. “I found awesome professors that loved the Lord and taught not only about God, but practical skills about reading the Bible and interpreting it so that you can commit to a Gospel-centered life and how to really evangelize.”
But there comes a moment when preparation meets opportunity.
“Dr. McKnight used to say, ‘Just go.’ Why are you so focused on reading and preparing when you know what you need to do?” Abby says. “If you aren’t serving, what good is all of the training? AU was an experience with people who focused on your relationship to God and Christ, and they set a great example of having conviction and then acting on it.”
Which brings us back to that broken wrist.
Abby was still in a cast and sling when training camp for The World Race started in June. She’s now almost completely healed and ready for a final briefing on August 3, followed by the first leg of the trip – to Haiti – on August 7.
Abby Maston is ready.
“If I can get through training camp with a broken wrist, I can do this,” she says.
Abby Maston is a 22-year-old graduate of the Anderson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies. She is from Simpsonville, South Carolina. After serving in Haiti, she’ll spend the next 11 months in the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, India, Nepal, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia. You can follow her World Race blog by clicking here.