Profile: Ali Rankine the Scottish Missionary
Ali's from Scotland. If you're an idiot you might mistake her accent to be Irish, British or maybe even Australian, but if you do that, again I say, you're an idiot. She wouldn't call you an idiot though. She, unlike myself, is really kind. She'd gently correct you and say 'that's alright.' Ali is kind. She is eccentric and kind.
You might rub shoulders with her while you're going about living your life, busying yourself with daily chores, getting gas, perusing a bookstore, buying groceries or riding a bus. She's a missionary in an unorthodox way. She travels to strange and exotic places, but she also travels to average, normal places too, like Auburn. She just left here, by the way.
Leaving her home in Kilmarnock multiple times on various missions over the last few years has shaped her into a new breed of missionary. It probably doesn't need to be given a name, but for the sake of simplified referencing we can call it Nomadic Missions; concentrating on divine appointments, obeying God's prompting on a moment-to-moment basis and fearlessly extending Jesus' Gospel message to the broken, searching, hurting and forgotten people of any given culture or society around the world. That's a mouthful, but interestingly enough I don't even think that does it justice. Oh yeah, justice. Nomadic Missionaries also seek justice wherever they go. Witnessing injustice disgusts them and they don't stand for it so, naturally, they stand against it.
I mentioned before that Ali is eccentric. Let me define that term for you: "Eccentric: deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways (an eccentric millionaire)." In Ali's case, she is not an eccentric millionaire, but an eccentric missionary.
Her lifestyle decision to follow Jesus wherever he tells her to go has caused conventional living to be all but impossible. She works within the societal norms of conventional life only as it relates to her higher calling to be a missionary to the nations of the world. You might see her working an odd job here and there, but it's only for a time, and only serves to fuel the fire God's set burning in her heart.
Once the fire grows in size and heat it is set loose on people she encounters on her travels. It would be foolish for her to snuff that fire out by remaining in the confines of convention. Remember how we shouldn't be so stupid as to light a lamp and then put a bowl over it? It's like that. Ali wouldn't have called you stupid. That was all me.
As you can imagine, living out of a backpack for years on end, constantly moving from place to place, meeting new people, eating strange food, observing new cultures, adjusting to difference in time zones and climates can be draining. Exhilarating, but draining nonetheless.
For a time, this kind of living might appear to be like a glorified vacation, but it's much more than that for Ali. Her travels are not focused on sightseeing, or pinning cities on a map. Her travels are purposed by the conversations she has with the people she meets, the truth she lovingly shows them, and the hope that she leaves with them.
The most tourist-y thing I've seen her do has had to do with her collection of postcards. However, in step with her nontraditional lifestyle she does not keep her collection, but rather gives them away with poignant notes for people she comes in contact with. That's "tourism" Nomadic Mission-style.
After having spent a few days with her here in Auburn and down in Berkeley, I dropped her off at SFO International Airport to catch a flight to Kona, Hawaii. Again, you might be thinking 'glorified vacation.' Believe me, I've given her crap for choosing such a beautiful destination for her missionary endeavors, but it really is quite mission-oriented. While on Kona, she'll be attending a six-week training course through Youth with a Mission called Circuit Riders. I encourage you to go investigate both YWAM and the "Circuit Riders" school if you haven't a clue about either one.
I must also encourage you to go visit Ali's site as it will be updated as she continues following God's leading her around the world. Through her writing and photography you'll feel like you're on the adventure with her. Reading it will also make you insanely jealous, which leads me to my next point...insanity. Bet you didn't see that coming!
It's insane to follow Jesus. He will completely change the course of your life and will cause normality to disintegrate. If you follow him, you will experience peace, hope and a joy that can weather any storm this life brews up, but following him will also take from you any control you have over your life. You'll begin to understand that your life is no longer your own. Stubbornly coming to this realization might lead to some kicking and screaming, but once grace is grasped by the heart and mind you'll relax and follow the Savior of your life anywhere just for the love of Him.
Following Jesus requires total surrender.
Surrendering to a Holy Spirit, guided by teachings from a God-Man thousands of years removed from this earth, and depending on a Heavenly Father for every provision is an insane way to live, but that's the Christian way. That's the way I've seen Ali live, and that's the way I want to live.