For most, becoming a missionary can seem like a daunting task. But for Bethany Thompson (BA ’97, MS ’99), the journey to full-time missions came about through following God daily. “God’s will is not a long-term plan, nor is it supposed to be a secret,” she said. “It’s a step-by-step daily journey of learning to wait on Him, obey His Word, and trust in His promises.”
After coming to Christ for salvation as a child, Bethany continued to follow God’s leading. Unbeknownst to her, even the little opportunites like taking a sign language class at her church or learning LIBRAS (Brazilian sign language) to communicate with a missionary’s deaf child would give her skills that she would need years later.
When she yielded her life to God at teen camp, Bethany sensed a desire for missions growing within her. Not long after, she arrived at PCC as a double major studying missions and elementary education.
While in college, Bethany immersed herself in ministry—she put her sign languages skills to use as she interpreted church services for the deaf. She volunteered in children’s ministries and summer camp, and even took a missions trip to Brazil. Here, God solidified that this was the country where she should serve long-term.
After graduation, Bethany taught second grade at Pensacola Christian Academy and pursued her master’s in educational administration. She had seen the great need in Brazil for strong leaders in Christian education to strengthen and equip local Christians to teach and lead schools in their own country.
The final steps in Bethany’s journey to the mission field included joining Baptist International Mission, Inc. (BIMI) and starting deputation. Today, nearly twenty years later, Bethany’s weekly schedule in Brazil makes her college days as a double major seem easy in comparison.
On any given day, she is writing curriculum, training teachers, counseling students and parents, teaching a class or observing a local teacher’s classroom, completing administrative tasks, or traveling to other cities to provide training in churches interested in starting a Christian school. On the weekends, she assists in children’s ministries and disciples deaf women.
Through it all though, Bethany can clearly see God’s faithfulness on display in her life giving her the strength to continue serving. “He continues to guide my steps,” she said. “Psalm 37:31 says, ‘The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.’ ”