Through The Lens of a Missions Journalist
When Brad Livengood (’04) graduated from MNU with a degree in business administration, he didn’t intend to spend his life serving on the mission field. But just five years later, Brad was forever changed when he participated in a mission trip to India.
“India blew my mind,” Brad says. “For the first time in my life, I saw how the majority of the world lives. Poverty is horrendous. However, the biggest takeaway from the trip was my impression of the [missions] staff. Those Indians were some of the most godly men and women I have ever met. Humble, loving, energetic and well-disciplined. They represented who I wanted to become.”
Those staff Brad admired were partners of Operation Mobilisation (OM), a Christian mission organization that works with 6,100 missionaries in 100 countries around the world. Specifically, OM works with local churches for evangelism and church planting, as well as relief and development.
Once he saw OM’s compassionate work in developing countries, Brad began to explore the possibility of becoming a missionary. Now, four years later, Brad is an OM journalist, using writing and photography to tell the stories of God’s work in people’s lives. The experience, he says, has been an unforgettable adventure.
“My role with OM requires that I pioneer into new places and experiences regularly,” Brad says. “In just over one year I have set foot in seven African countries.“
Though mission work may seem far removed from his former corporate ambitions, Brad believes the business administration knowledge he gained at MNU equipped him to excel in his current position.
“Through class projects at MNU, I learned how to effectively collaborate with other team members for a common purpose,” Brad says. “Now I communicate with people in different countries, from different cultures, with different talents and abilities. The previous school experience working with others has been very helpful.”
His former professors agree that Brad grew tremendously, both personally and professionally, during his time at MNU. Yorton Clark, chair of the department of business administration, remembers Brad as a spiritual leader who challenged his peers through his Christian walk. Dean of the School of Business Jamie Myrtle describes him as “hardworking, definitely committed to Christ in his life and committed to excellence in his work.”
OM Support Services Leader Holly Steward, who works with Brad in OM’s Tanganyika field, says his contributions to OM have helped the ministry thrive.
“Brad’s gift for photography is exceptional and has had a big impact for many of the fields in OM Africa,” Steward says. “His photos and articles have raised the bar of what we are able to share with supporters.”
What’s more, says Steward, Brad has proven to be an invaluable source of spiritual encouragement for his fellow missionaries.
“We really appreciate Brad’s openness and willingness to share what God has been teaching him during his first year in Africa,” Steward says. “He is very authentic and doesn’t try to hide it if he is struggling with something. He is always faithful to spend time with God, and it is an inspiration to others.”
Indeed, as Brad reflects on his past year with OM, he does not recount his own accomplishments. Rather, he describes his work as a testimony to the grace of God.
“I can’t thank the Lord enough for calling me to himself and to this role with OM,” Brad says. “He takes people that are willing to give him control and he changes and shapes their lives for his Kingdom. He will change you and use you if you truly mean it when you say, ‘Thy will be done.’”
Overall, Brad says that being willing to surrender to God, regardless of cost or comfort, is what makes him a Pioneer.
“Looking back at the entire process from contemplating joining missions, to raising support, to traveling to new places and working new roles, I see the Lord asking me to make small steps of faith, one at a time,” he says. “Maybe that’s what Pioneers do. They take steps of faith. The Lord has been faithful through it all.”
Want to learn more about Brad’s work, art and passion? Connect with him on www.blivengood.com.
To learn more about Operation Mobilisation and to find out how you can participate in their outreach, visit www.om.org.
If using Google Chrome, view this album here.