//SPECIAL REPORT: MISSIONS
TG Desta was alone.
In Romania. In a locked school room with a group of teenagers everyone else had given up on. Even the guard was standing outside the locked door. These were scary kids.
AS THEY STARED AT HER, she stared back. She thought, "I'm in trouble! It's not the first time; it won't be the last. Come on, Jesus! Let's do this!"
Undeterred, TG began sharing the message the Lord had given her. She explained that it didn't matter how they started out in life—God could turn everything around.
As her translator closed their time with prayer, TG watched as, one by one, the teens bowed their heads. Afterward, they followed her from the classroom. "Can we talk to you?" they begged. These troubled teens wanted help. And that same night, they got it. TG's translator, a local pastor, opened his church to all of them.
For TG, a 1998 Rhema Bible Training College graduate and traveling missionary, this is what it's all about. "This is the kind of ministry God has entrusted me with," she said. "It's not because I'm qualified, but because He qualified me."
Ethiopian by birth, TG was born again at 13. Sensing the call of God upon her life, and not knowing what else to do, she thought she'd become a nun. Her parents refused that idea, but she still had a heart to help people. She dreamed of traveling the world.
Her dreams eventually landed her in Washington, D.C., where God hooked her up with a wonderful church. Hungry to learn, TG enrolled in every program they had. She volunteered—until one day someone handed her an application to Rhema. "I didn't know anything about Rhema," TG remembered. "But I knew I had to be trained."
She filled out the application. At the time, she didn't even know where Tulsa was. But three weeks later she packed her bags and made the move. She had no money, no job, and no school acceptance letter. But she knew God had called her.
The Rhema Years
"It was a big change for me," TG recalled. "I left behind everything I knew. But I never had time to dwell on that, because I was receiving so much revelation. I hardly wanted to leave the building!"
TG's two years at Rhema were not without challenges. "I grew up having everything," she explained. "When I decided to totally give my life to serve God, I experienced hunger for the first time. Everything came as a flood in my life." But God provided. In the beginning, as TG attempted to find a job, her tuition was supernaturally paid for. People gave her clothes and took her out to lunch when all she had in her refrigerator was water.
For TG, this was all part of her training—and it's training that has served her well. Four months after graduating from Rhema, she left the country to be a missionary and has never looked back.
"Ministry does not come without its challenges," she noted. "But that does not mean the challenges should take us down. If you've been hungry and without provision, and God has taken care of you, you know He will do it again. Those things don't have any grip on me. I just step on that challenge to go to a higher place."
50 Nations . . . and NOT Counting
This determination has carried TG to well over 50 nations. (She's stopped counting, because she doesn't want to focus on numbers but on the Lord.) As missionaries are traditionally called to stay in one place, this makes her calling unconventional. "I am the unique one," she laughs. "I used to struggle with this because all the missionaries I knew had an address overseas. But that wasn't God's plan for me. I live overseas, but I don't live in one place."
Each year, TG travels to eight or 10 nations, staying six weeks to three months in each place. She teaches endless hours in Bible schools and churches and holds leadership classes and conferences. God has also opened doors for her to share on the radio and in schools. And whenever she has the opportunity to hold a women's conference or visit an orphanage, she does. For her, it's about demonstrating the love of God. So whatever needs to be done, she does it.
"I know I am called to raise up laborers—to train servants for the Kingdom of God," she explained. "My heart is souls, so I encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and go!"
As she focuses on flowing with the Holy Spirit, TG is getting results everywhere she goes. In one location, she held a young boy's leg in her hand and watched it shoot out to its proper length. He happily testified, "My leg was short, but my leg has grown out!" He also had problems with his ribs, but today he is healthy and whole.
In another nation, one of TG's students brought in a cloth to be prayed over for her daughter. The girl was 2 years old and couldn't turn over. She just lay there. TG prayed over the cloth and the mother took it home. That same day, the girl turned to one side. Two weeks later, she stood holding on to her bed. When TG saw the girl six months later, she was running—completely restored.
In Quito, Ecuador, TG prayed for a young couple who desperately wanted to have a baby. "The woman's womb was actually split, which prevented her from becoming pregnant," TG remembered. "I laid hands on both of them, and after I prayed, the words came out of my mouth, 'It's done!'"
A year went by before TG returned to see this couple. When she walked up their driveway, she saw a stroller. All she could think was, "Lord, all I wish is that this stroller is theirs." It was, and they had an amazing story to tell. For six months, the young woman did not realize she was pregnant. She'd finally gone to the doctor because she was gaining weight. In fact, her husband had told her to stop eating so much because she was getting fat!
When she went to the doctor, he examined her and they drew blood. After he came back into the examining room, his eyes were wide because he knew her history. He told her, "You're pregnant!" She said, "No, I'm not." But he insisted. They did an ultrasound and she was six months pregnant. Three months later she gave birth to a healthy child!
"We serve the God of the impossible," TG exclaimed. "I don't want people to credit me. I'm just a simple person with no formal education or background who still doesn't know how to speak. But I stood in His presence and He chose me. I said yes. It's about Him, and that's all I want it to be.
Pray that I'll stay healthy and strong. Travel is hard on your body.
Pray that I'll have the help I need. I no longer want to travel alone.
TO LEARN MORE
about TG, search for TG Desta Ministries on Facebook.