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Chad Vanden Bosch grew up on a small produce farm in Michigan, determined that he was not going to be a missionary. Today, he is recording and distributing audio Bibles in Mozambique and teaching farming techniques that help improve the lives of local farmers and their families. This calling story is part of a series on purposeful living.

W hen I think about my call, I have to go back to my childhood, growing up in rural West Michigan on my parents’ small produce farm. 

Some missionaries came to our church, and they regaled us with stories of terrible things they ate and all the challenges they were facing. Something about that must have really unsettled me. I remember afterwards, our Sunday school teacher probably said something like, “Now, let’s pray for these missionaries. Maybe pray about what the Lord is calling you to do in your life.”

And I remember very specifically what my prayer was that day, and that is, “God, I’ll do anything, but I’m not going to be a missionary.” And that was how I lived.

I had no intentions of going into ministry. I was pursuing my own path, which wasn’t a bad path, but it was my own. It was not what God was calling me to. 

At the age of 21, I started to become really restless with no explanation as to why. I thought I was on the right path. That restlessness turned into insomnia and I was only getting a couple hours of sleep at night. It was extremely frustrating. And one night I remember I was working late, and I kicked back at my desk in my chair and I looked up and I said, “God, there has to be more to life than this.”

In that moment, I didn’t hear God’s audible voice, but I felt in my spirit that the Lord was saying, “Chad, there is more to life than this, and you’re going to find it as a missionary.”

Imagine my shock in that moment! But, at the same time, I knew it was so far from what I wanted that it had to be God. All I could say was, “Okay.”

In that moment, my life changed incredibly. 

It has certainly not been easy. But this life has been so incredibly, incredibly rich and I wouldn’t change it for anything. 

Twenty years ago I started in ministry knowing that I was going to be doing audio Bibles and audio recording of Scriptures, so imagine my surprise now, a few years ago, when the Lord opened up the opportunity to continue doing the audio Bible recordings and distribution, but also with New Harvest Farm, where we are building bridges through Bible-based agriculture and helping with food security. It is incredible to see the Lord working through agriculture!

I see it come full circle. When I was working on my parents’ produce farm, I knew I was growing good food and I was getting a really good tan, and that was really all I was interested in. I had no idea that many years ago that the Lord was preparing me for this call today. 

What is the Lord calling you to do? The reality is it’s probably not easy, but the Lord will give you tons of grace, and it is going to be incredibly rich, and you will never regret it.

a man and woman stand with their two children on a grassy plain with a zebra in the background
Chad Vanden Bosch

Chad Vanden Bosch is a missionary serving in Mozambique with his wife, Dara, in partnership with RCA Global Mission and Audio Scripture Ministries.