In March 2020, Sophia Roberts* was scheduled to fly to Southeast Asia to begin her term with the International Mission Board’s (IMB) Journeyman program. As she was signing the contract on the sale of her car, her phone lit up with the news her flights the next day were canceled.
She began a season of staying with friends and family members, borrowing cars, and waiting for her country of service to reopen to foreigners. At a friend’s kitchen table, in one of her daily encounters with the Lord, Sophia read the story of Jesus calming the storm.
“I heard Him say, ‘Will you trust Me in the storm?’ I thought the storm would be moving to a new country.”
On September 5, after months of waiting, the IMB offered her the option of continuing to wait for Southeast Asia to allow entry or accepting an assignment in the United Kingdom. Sophia was excited --- she had been raised in South America by IMB missionary parents, and her mom and dad had served in London just before their retirement in 2015.
Her family celebrated with her and sent her off with a party. Then on the day before her scheduled flight to the UK, a family member tested positive for COVID-19. Flights were canceled, and her whole family prepared to quarantine for two weeks.
Those two weeks proved to be life changing. Sophia’s mom developed severe COVID-19 symptoms and was hospitalized. They watched her decline until the doctor said the dreaded words, “There’s nothing more we can do.”
Shortly after her mother’s funeral, Sophia found herself back at her friend’s kitchen table.
“I said I would trust You in the storm,” she prayed. As God continued to assure her of His presence, she kept walking.
Knowing the holidays would be a challenge for the family, Sophia received IMB approval to delay her arrival to the field until early January. “We had Christmas to get through, and then my mom’s birthday on the 31st and their wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day,” she said.
As the family marked those special days and Sophia struggled with the thoughts of leaving her family in the United States, her dad and both sisters affirmed her going. They agreed unanimously, “Mom would’ve wanted you to go.”
On January 9, nearly a year after beginning her orientation, Sophia arrived in England, where she now serves among students and young professionals. Currently, she’s discipling university students and partnering with local churches to reach out to their unengaged neighbors.
“Throughout my whole life, I have been able to see so many different cultures and in each one see God’s heart for those places and people,” Sophia said. “I would not have been able to do any of this without the gifts of churches back in the US, so thank you again for giving me that opportunity.”
Pray for Sophia and the rest of her family as they grieve the loss of her mom and, in February 2021, the loss of her grandfather. Pray for Sophia as she continues her ministry in England among students and young professionals.
Reprinted from the July 2022 issue of Missions Mosaic, Woman’s Missionary Union, Birmingham, Alabama. Written by Cam Dunson. Used by permission. To receive this issue, or subscribe to Missions Mosaic, call 1-800-968-7301.