Sometimes God has to take us halfway across the world to remind us he can also use us right in our backyard. Christa Hitchcock was raised in the church but it was in middle school that her faith became very real and her journey to live missionally in the place God put her began.
“My dad is a pilot so I got the chance to travel a lot as a kid. In high school I remember reading “Kisses from Katie” and other books like “Radical” that really sparked a love for missions and a heart to follow God. I had always put full time missions work on a pedestal.”
From that young age Christa was given a deep seeded call to live missionally for Christ but the understanding of how that would look has been a journey.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Christa about her journey of faith, work and missions. This interview is a glimpse into her story and her call to live missionally in the community God has given her.
Ericka: Christa, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Christa: I grew up in Detriot and started going to a summer camp in Michigan during my Middle School years. I was raised in the church and my parents were very involved but this was the first time my faith was very real to me and it shifted from being a part of my life to the center of my life. From after that time at camp I knew I wanted to let God use me but I was not sure how that would look. At that same camp, years ago I met my husband, Connor. We were married in 2017.
Ericka: Can you tell me a little bit about the beginning of your journey to living missionally?
Christa: I had held traditional missions on a pedestal for years. In my Senior year of High School I decided to graduate early and go to YWAM. (Youth With A Mission is an evangelical interdenominational, non-profit Christian, missionary organization.) I did my lecture phase in Montana then I had the opportunity to go to Brazil for my outreach phase. At the end of the time lots of us were asked to stay and do missions work but I felt called to head to college. I knew God could use me through my passion in photography.
I attended Miami University in Oxford Ohio with a major in Interactive Media and Photography. During my time there is when I began to see that God could use the gift He has given to minister in a unique way in the community he has placed me in, wherever that maybe. I became very involved in CRU and Young Life in college. It was during that time I began to get involved with a teen mom ministry in the local community called Young Lives. This allowed me to love on these young girls in a time of need and I began using my gift and love of photography to take photos for them. I learned through this that there are opportunities in our own community to go and do and not just wait for them to come to you.
Ericka: That is an awesome Christa! Can you share how this faith has affected your pursuit of your work and calling?
Christa: In my Sophmore year of college I started my own business as a wedding photographer.
I am able to use my education and gifts in two missional ways: the first being the ability to build relationships with my clients through my wedding photography business. My couples let me into their lives in such a foundational time of their relationship, and I have the opportunity to encourage their marriages and develop friendships that last beyond their wedding day. I always aim to love and serve my couples in such a way that they see Jesus through my actions, and hopefully through my words if the opportunity presents itself.
The second way I am able to use photography is by supporting missional organizations with photos of the work they are doing. I love knowing that we serve a creative God, and that He’s given me this gift as a way to bring him glory and serve others. The gift of freezing memories is truly priceless! My husband is also a small business owner for a company called Hoosier Proud. He gives over 10 percent of his profits back to local nonprofits in an effort to live missionally.
As a young married couple we have worked to be intentional in living missionally in our own neighborhood. This looks like us living in community with those around us and reaching out to those in our neighborhood. Currently we are leading a missional community through our church where we get to do life together with people who are geographically in our neighborhood. As we do life together we are able to bring others into the fold.
God has been teaching me that living missionally happens in the daily, small decisions that come my way…it’s right in my neighborhood.
Ericka: I love that you are choosing to live missionally right in your own back yard, in the way God has called you to. Would you share with others in a similar situation any advice?
Christa: I would encourage others that there is more than one path. There doesn’t have to be a 9-5 job or global outreach to do what God calls you to do. Also, I have learned as a small business owner that I do not have to have an empire, its ok to do what fits.
As I strive to be intentional in living on mission and as I go about my day I ask myself a few questions that might be helpful for you as well. I ask:
-How am I being missional today?
-Did I do what I could?
-Did people see Jesus through me in an honest way?
Reflection Question: How is God calling you to live missionally in the community and neighborhood he has placed you in?
Here at The Stone Table we believe that whether we are called to work in the church, in a 9-5 job or work in the missions field, that Christ calls all believers to live on mission wherever they are. Our “Called” blogs are a series of personal stories God is creatively writing around the globe that focus on people living out their work as a beloved role within God’s Great Storyline.