Sunday, June 27, 2010

Missionary Monday - True Commitment

When I was in Junior High, maybe 13 years old, the Joe Collins family came to our church's Missions Conference to present their missionary work to Nepal. As was customary every year, our pastor asked the missionary wives to give a short testimony to the church during one of the weekly evening services. Tanna Collins gave a testimony that I have never forgotten... a testimony that bore deep into my soul... as I listened to this missionary wife talk about her commitment to Christ.

Tanna had been afraid to answer God's call to the mission field, but God showed her over and over again, specifically in the book of Philippians, how He would take care of her family, even in China. In her Bible, at the end of Philippians, Tanna wrote a personal commitment to the Lord, and she read this to us as she shared her testimony:


Lord, I here in your precious holy Word commit myself, my husband, and my children, and all that I possess, or ever shall possess all to you. I will follow your leadership, even to China. Lord, open the doors and I shall go and tell the Chinese of your great love. In time of need supply for us, in time of trouble send peace, in time of joy send someone to share. Help me never to murmur or complain. I love you!

Tanna Jo Sellers Collins

My Bible with a copy of Tanna's testimony taped inside

Our church fell in love with this honest lady who had an amazing faith in Christ. She allowed us to see her human side, but she also pointed us to Christ, showing us that God's Word is full of promises that we can and should claim. Later, we found out that, during one of the offerings that was taken up that week, Tanna took off her wedding ring and placed it in the offering plate, giving one of her most prized possessions to the Lord! This lady was serious about giving her all to Jesus! She knew that the price of her ring could be used to buy a few more tracts, a few more Bibles... to allow more souls to come to Christ. I am humbled at this lady's dedication to see souls saved.

During this Missions Conference, I went forward and promised God I would go to China too, if He so desired. At other times and various Missions Conferences, I gave my life to many countries, to many types of people! I desired for God to use me like He was using this beautiful missionary's wife.

I am not sure how much later it was that we found out (maybe a year?) that the entire Collins family was tragically killed in an airplane crash in the Himalayan Mountains. At the times of their death, Joe was only 26 years old and Tanna only 27 years old. Their five children were ages 6 and under. We were stunned.

It is natural to question why God would allow something like this to happen. It is natural to think back to Tanna's testimony and realize that she did indeed have a reason to fear the future for herself and her family.

In our human minds, it seems to make more sense for God to allow these missionaries to live and continue spreading God's Word in China. But, God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-11: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Tanna's parents have now taken over the children's home this young family had already started, and other missionaries have risen to the challenge to go forward and take their place. Because of their death, possibly many, many more souls will be brought to Jesus.
We cannot choose our futures, but we can choose our commitment to Christ.

I am committed to bring souls to Christ... even when it is not easy on the mission field. The daily difficulties seem so small in comparison, don't they? I don't want to stand before Christ one day and say, "Well, Lord, you know I wanted to serve you, but... {whatever excuse I found to leave the mission field}."

No. I am a sinner with many imperfections, but I am committed. How about you? Are you committed too?

To read more about the Collins family, click these links:
Obedience to the call of God
BIMI World Magazine Online

To get a DVD about this family, click here.


  1. I remember feeling so stirred emotionally when this happened...and thank you for sharing it on your blog. Their story is a legacy because of their faith and commitment to the Lord. Such a good example left behind for us.

  2. Beautiful, inspiring post, Jolene. Can you imagine the heavenly reception given to the Collins family? May each of us be as committed to Christ as they were!

    I'm excited for you about the new little one on the way! Congratulations! :o)

  3. Jolene, I am challenged and stirred in my spirit after reading this post; both your testomoney and Tanna's. "Lord, do I have true commitment?" That is my prayer.

    Thank you again for another outstanding Missionary Monday!!!

  4. beautiful, wonderful, inspiring post! I Love your missionary mondays! I have heard about this family and this lady, but I never read what she’d wrote in her Bible. Is that in her handwriting? What a treasure! Love you, Maria

  5. I was convicted by the Collins' story.

    Love to all,

  6. Always enjoy your blog! Thank you!

  7. I remember that. I think I still have the video that was made at Windsor Hills.

  8. It's funny you brought that up, I was just telling someone about them the other day. :)

  9. I agree with you so much in everything you said. It's hard sometimes to be on the mission field and what I'm learning is that it doesn't matter where your mission field is. My pastor said this morning that God has enough grace for all our trials and troubles. He is soooo right. God is always there for us. Thank you for writing about different missionaries.

    We pray for you often. I actually talked to David the other day. He called wanting to talk with my pastor. I answer phones on Tuesdays.

    Thank you and God Bless,

  10. Becky Trimble wrote the music to the "poem" that she wrote about her committment. What an amazing testimony!

  11. wow! That is a touching story...and so neat how God used it your life!

  12. Maria,

    Yes, the entry that was taped in my Bible IS in her handwriting. Such a treasure, like you said!

    After their death, this is something that was given out at church, and I immediately held on to it... and decided to tape it into the exact place she had it taped into her Bible... at the end of Philippians.

  13. Thank you for that beautiful testimony. So often I have hesitated in things God has called me to out of fear...thanks for the reminder...God will not take me any place he won't be with me and his will is best.

    YOu are such a blessing! Praying for you daily (esp. new baby on the way!)

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  15. I LOVE your blog! This post especially caught my attention because I was actually named after Tanna Collins! :). Wonderful writing! Looking forward to reading more about your ministry! Thank you :)
    -Tanna Fairchild
    Fairbanks, AK

  16. Thank you for remembering them. Joe (Tanna's) husband was my cousin. I am researching articles written about them so that I can edit and add their names to the Wikipedia page in regards to the Crash.


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25