By Allen Palmeri
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario—Allie Rhea has her passport, and having already gone to eight countries in just 19 short years of life, it’s obvious that she knows how to use it.
So when she got the call on Thursday that a team was headed up to Canada that Sunday, she prayed about her latest adventure and decided to pull out her passport one more time—in obedience to God.
Rhea is the daughter of Richie Rhea, pastor of First Baptist Church, Troy. She eagerly joined the mission team of Brent Campbell, a lifelong member of First Troy and director of missions, Twin Rivers Baptist Association, bound for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She had just returned from a mission trip to Senegal, and had previously gone to Trinidad, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Sudan, and Kenya.
Canada presented itself to her as a pioneering-type of environment that lacked any kind of missionary on the ground to guide the team.
“I think I’ve learned more about the logistics of everything, making sure where places are at, if we’re allowed to be there, getting permission, and all of that stuff,” Rhea said. “We’ve been kind of wandering in the malls and doing a lot of prayer-walking and at the same time trying to talk to people, trying to witness a little bit.”
It was quite a bit different than her time in the Sudan from January to May of this year when she did a lot of Bible studies and talked to numerous people about Christ.
“I can really say that the people that I met there are really good friends of mine,” she said.
One of her roles in Sault Ste. Marie was to hold a sign advertising free kiddie train rides and popcorn at a motel and a school. Citizens were drawn to the festival by the Lord using Rhea’s enthusiasm and the various outreach efforts of other children and adults on the 16-member missionary team. Amanda Logan, 18, a member of Star Hope Baptist Church in Elsberry, was often seen ministering by Rhea’s side. More energy came from four children and youth who joined them on mission from Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
“My church does a car show each year,” Rhea said. “We’re always giving stuff away and trying to start conversations with people, so there are a lot of similarities.”
She was drawn into a saving relationship with Christ at age 6 and called to foreign missions at age 12, when she happened to be at a camp that was themed around the concept of missions work. She prayed for God to make it clear to her at that time, and He did—leading her to simply accept His call on her life.
She speaks plainly of God’s desire to see other young adults on mission.
“All through the Bible you see God picking people that you wouldn’t expect,” she said. “Moses said he couldn’t speak well. Paul, before he knew Christ, he was killing Christians. Peter was always jumping into things and kind of speaking before he thought about it. And so you see a theme in the Bible that God picks people that people don’t expect. How much more obvious is it that it’s God and not us?
“I can’t take credit for anything that has happened on the trips that I’ve been on. I give all the credit to God. It’s all for His glory.”