Sharon Payne serves in Brazil as a church-planting associate with an emphasis in educational and children’s ministries, leadership training through seminary, and editing at a publishing house.
Q: How did God first call you to missions?
A: I was 12. I had just heard my father, David Payne (a now retired ABWE missionary)—in chapel at the Pan American Christian Academy, and I became convinced as he spoke that God was calling me into missions. Observing my parents and being able to help them in missionary ministry was also a key factor. I began to work toward the goal of being a missionary just to see how far I would get, trusting God to close the door if He wanted me to do something else.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your time as a missionary?
A: I grew up on the Amazon. I remember the fun, the exotic pets. The furlough presentations with a six-foot long dried snake skin, where we'd get some unsuspecting kid to hold one end, and then unroll it then “accidentally” . (Inevitably, after getting over the scare, the kid would want to try the same trick on a friend who hadn’t witnessed it yet.)
But I would have to say one of my favorite memories is actually from the present: writing the Sunday School curriculum for the publishing house (EBR), and seeing my work in print.
Q: What moment had the biggest impact on your ministry?
A: My dad’s bout with typhoid fever when I was 10, or 11. He nearly died from it and it made me consider what I might do with my life for God, or what would I leave behind.
Q: What is the best part of being a missionary?
A: There’s only one answer to that question: seeing people saved and discipled! Knowing I had some small part in the process. Hearing them acknowledge some small contribution I made to their spiritual development. Seeing them serving the Lord today.
Q: What advice would you give to those considering missions?
A: If you make it through your first term, [it all gets easier] from there. So just hang on! To someone considering missions: Congratulations! There is no more rewarding field of service to consider. Just say “Yes”!
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