Stories of Faith
A life of service for the Lord
Special to FBC Jenks
June 16th, 2023
In January 2022, Bridget Lawrence was sitting in a worship service at her local church in Kenya. She had been overseas in Africa on missions since spring of 2019 and been praying for God to reveal what He had planned next for her.
As she was sitting in the church, God gave Bridget a vision of her attending school with the plan of doing missions full-time.
“I knew this meant moving back to the states (United States of America) with the idea of pursuing long-term missions,” Bridget said. “After the service, I went home and wrote down all the details from my vision, and I told God He was going to have to make this happen!”
Bridget grew up in Sapulpa with church always being a big part of her life. She was saved around age six and attended Faith Baptist Church with her mother and brother until she graduated high school in 2008.
Bridget attended the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond and immediately started getting involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) on campus. The first month she was in college, Bridget went to the BCM Convention in Oklahoma where a missionary from the International Missions Board (IMB) spoke about opportunities for college students.
That was the first time Bridget felt the call to missions.
“I really loved the youth group at our church,” Bridget said. “I was really involved. We did mission trips down to Texas every summer. It was a good church community to grow up in and I learned a lot while I was there. It gave me a good foundation.”
“It was very clear from the Lord,” Bridget said. “I started to pursue that and ended up going overseas that next summer in 2009 with the IMB to the middle east. That was my first time overseas, it was hard but really impactful. I also went to Honduras during spring break of my senior year and helped build the foundations of a church.”
Bridget graduated from UCO in May of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Art History. After college, Bridget decided to move to Virginia seeking a relationship with her father.
Her parents had divorced when she was 4-years-old and she didn’t grow up with her dad in her life. She had grown up with the idea of not being enough and sought her significance through earthly relationships.
“Unfortunately, that relationship wasn’t mended,” Bridget said. “I was seeking my earthly father, so I wasn’t running after the Lord… After three years and much heartache, I realized that I needed to find my significance in my heavenly Father instead.”
Bridget decided to move back to Oklahoma in early 2016 and get back to her old self. She joined FBC Jenks that following summer and started to get involved immediately.
“It was such a huge answer to prayer,” Bridget said. “The Lord brought me into a church community that I really needed. I started to rely on the Lord again and wanted to refocus on what I knew the Lord had for me. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be missions, but I knew it was going to be something international.”
Bridget’s spiritual gift is service and she loves serving people and communities and has a passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures.
She started serving with the youth at FBC Jenks for a couple of years and in 2018, Bridget joined them on their mission trip overseas to Kenya where she met Jess and Janet Peek. The Peeks are FBC Jenks missionaries who felt called to move to Kenya full-time nearly a decade ago.
Following the youth mission trip, the Peeks returned to Oklahoma due to family reasons for three months. During that time, Bridget and Janet developed and grew their friendship and prayed a lot about the possibility of Bridget going back to Kenya longer term.
For the remainder of 2018, Bridget spent her time planning and raising support for her trip. In February 2019, she went back to Kenya and spent the six months serving with the Peeks.
“I loved it,” Bridget said. “It was hard, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to help a lot with the Crown of Beauty Ministry, which is a ministry Janet started in 2017 for women who are either widows or have been abandoned by their husbands. They typically have children, but had never learned how to support themselves. Women are not valued in Kenya, which is why Janet felt the call that something like that ministry was needed.”
The women who take part in the Crown of Beauty Ministry live on the church property for one year. They are fully funded by a sponsor from the United States, including a large number who are members at FBC Jenks. They are supplied with money for food, their children are put in one of the local schools and all of their financial needs are covered.
“We disciple them in the Lord,” Bridget said. “We hope to build their confidence up and help them become aware of who they are in Christ. One of the neat things about this program is seeing the change that happens from the time they come into the ministry to the time they leave. It’s almost like they are a completely different person because of the confidence they have gained through Christ and being able to provide for their family.”
Bridget also spent a lot of time helping with the Kenya Child and School Education program. There are four primary schools FBC Jenks fully supports. Bridget was able to help open it up for individual sponsors within the church. There are roughly 400 children within the four schools and giving them opportunities they typically wouldn’t have is important.
After returning from Kenya after six months in the mission field, Bridget wasn’t sure when she was going to go back, but she knew that was God’s plan for her at some point. She started praying, asking God to show her what going back to Kenya was going to look like.
“I knew I was supposed to take steps, so I started taking those steps and made the decision to go back in March of 2020 when the spring break trip through the church went,” Bridget said. “My plan was to commit to three years. I prayed for the Lord to make it happen if this is what He wanted. It was going to be hard leaving family and friends behind, but I had a lot of peace about it and was excited.”
The Lord kept opening doors for Bridget, however, something unexpected shook the entire world. The day before they were supposed to leave in March 2020, Jamie Pendleton, Missions and Family Connections Pastor at FBC Jenks, told Bridget the team had canceled their trip because of the chance of Kenya shutting down their borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I wasn’t sure exactly what to do,” Bridget said. “I would either go by myself or not go at all. Not going didn’t seem like an option. I still felt like the Lord was calling me to go, so I ended up going to Kenya by myself and sure enough, the country shut down within two weeks. That was a crazy time looking back on it now. I know the Lord put me in Kenya during that time for His reasons and I wouldn’t change any bit of it!”
Following her vision while sitting in the church in Kenya, Bridget was extremely anxious about what she had seen; she prayed for two weeks for the Lord’s confirmation. She realized that she simply had to surrender and give Him her “yes.” “Once I did that,” Bridget said, “peace washed over me and I knew the path I had to take.”
“I started researching and immediately found Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Bridget said. “I found a program called Fusion, which was developed with IMB to meet their requirement to be one of their missionaries. It is a fast track and extremely intentional.”
Bridget applied, was accepted, and is fully funded to begin seminary beginning August 2023.
Once she completes her year of school, graduating with a Masters of Intercultural Studies, Bridget hopes to join the IMB as a career missionary in the fall of 2024.
“Through seminary, He is going to better equip me for the field,” Bridget said. “The Lord is so faithful. He