Monday, December 05, 2011

Making A Difference - Mistie Shaw

This months very special person is Mistie Shaw. It is a pleasure to introduce her to you. Everywhere she goes, she touches lives just because she is who she is. She can't help but make a difference.

Mistie, we’ve known each other for less than a year. There’s much I don’t know about you, but I do know that you make a difference in peoples’ lives wherever you go. Could you share a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks for asking me to share on your blog, Bonnie!

At the age of six, I asked Jesus to change my heart and make it new and clean. My parents’ commitment to God and missions meant many of our family trips were to Mexico where my dad preached and we helped at an orphanage. I worked at a mission hospital in South Africa the summer I was 18. Except for my career in the Air Force Reserve, I was a stay-at-home mom when my three kids were young. That gave me many opportunities to do local “missions” things: cook for a half-way house, teach Bible studies, start small groups and write. My skits, monologues and several musical dramas were produced by our church. After three semesters of music theory at the local community college, I was finally able to write the music for the songs. . .that was in my 40s.

When I was 50 and my kids were grown, I sensed God calling me to a deeper walk and full-time service. Christian mentors said I needed to go to grad school and, in a funny chain of events, God “tricked” me into enrolling.

You’ve done a good deal of traveling, but I understand that you have a special love for China. Why China? Can you give us a glimpse into the people and the place?

After a painful divorce in my mid-50s, it seemed like the doors of opportunity kept slamming in my face. Finally, I was accepted by the Peace Corps, but at the last minute they asked me to wait a year, “Due to unresolved major life issues.” I was ready to go and it seemed like God had another plan. I followed my heart via the Internet and became an ESL teacher at a university in China.

I’m not a missionary. China doesn’t allow people to proselytize. I just live there and love people. Some friends helped me put hands and feet to that love by starting a non-profit that benefits students.

When I left China, my students were stunned and shocked. Even though they knew my beliefs, many of them told me that there was no God. Sharing my cancer story on Caring Bridge at, I told them to read it to see how God made a difference in my life. God has used this time of healing to help me grow!

I’d describe China several ways:
• If Mexico is two-dimensional, China is three (re: crowding)
• High tech in the 1930s (I’ve seen farmers harnessed to plows, pulling while they talked on their cell phones)
• Beauty inside (the people) and out (the historical artifacts).

You arrived in Roseburg earlier this year because of illness. Can you tell us a little about that battle and what kind of effect it has had on your life? How are you doing today?

The autumn of 2010, I was moving into a new, greatly-anticipated apartment. In prayer, I confessed my sense of comfort and told God how much I loved my life. Suddenly I found myself in tears, asking God not to use me but to use me up to make a difference in my students’ lives. Shortly afterwards, I discovered a lump in my breast. An American doctor diagnosed it as breast cancer – later determined to be Stage 3 – and told me to return to the states immediately. I was able to start treatment at the VA hospital in San Diego, where my parents and two of my children live. While going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, I needed a more permanent place to live so went to stay with my sister in Roseburg. It was a very good move!

Last month, a bone scan revealed no cancer. My passport has a visa and there's a January 13, 2012 ticket to China with my name on it. :D

I know how you’ve longed to return to China and I am cheering you on. It will be exciting to hear what’s happening with you and the people and place you love.

How would you answer the question, “Who is Mistie Shaw?”

Life offers nothing more beautiful, exciting, satisfying, or rewarding than serving God. I am a very flawed but passionate Christ-follower who is joyful because God uses Christians who are available and willing. People look at our outsides and make judgments about our worth, our abilities and even our natures; God sees what we really are like and then makes us whole. For a long time one of my most fervent prayers has been that people would see Jesus when they see me.

He has answered that prayer.

In the months I’ve known you, I’ve witnessed your close walk with Christ. You are not typical. Why do you think that is? And can you share your favorite scripture and why it’s your favorite?

I don’t use the word typical because God sees each of us as unique, created for specific purposes. Time and again, I’ve seen how some crazy habit or little talent is used by God. . . .because of a willingness to try.

One day, during devotions – writing “I love you, God” in my journal – and eating chocolates, I sensed God asking me if I loved Him more than chocolate. Nonchalantly, I answered yes. Then God said something like, “Show me.” Would God really ask me to give up my very most favorite food? After a lot of hemming and hawing while I finished the two-pound box of candy, I said, “Okay, but you’ll have to do it because I can’t and don’t even really want to. . .”

That little step of faith, and the results it brought, inspired me to find other ways to trust God. Americans are so independent, we don’t truly need God for life’s essentials. So, creating artificial ways of requiring myself to have faith helped it grow stronger. For example, I gave up the car radio (temporarily), and alarm clocks (permanently). Faith has made a huge difference in my life.

In trying to understand God’s plan, I found comfort in Paul’s writing. “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.” (II Corinthians 1:3-5, The Message)

Is there anything you’d like to add? How can we best pray for you?

All that I am and anything I am able to do, is through the strength and power of Jesus, for the glory of God. It is God making a difference and I’m thrilled to be a part of the action.

Please pray for my family. As daughter, mom and Grammy, my stateside responsibilities sometimes seem overwhelming from 6,000 miles away.

Thank you for the chance to share my heart and my passion!

And thank you for sharing with us, Mistie. Though the circumstances of your coming to Roseburg were not what most would have chosen, I'm so thankful you came. Grace and peace to you from God.

You can read more from Mistie at


  1. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you, TC. There are so many amazing people in this world who touch the lives of others. My prayer is that their lives will be an encouragement to others and that our prayers will be an encouragement for them.

    Grace and peace to you.

  3. Wow. What a great testimony and witness. Shows me I need to do more.

    Blessings to Mistie!

  4. Thanks for stopping in Tammy. God has called each of us to a place/places of service. We just need to listen and then step out knowing He's coming along with us.

    We're all so busy these days that it's easy to pass an opportunity by. I believe the pace of our lives is a tool of the enemy. It would be wise to examine our schedules and make some choices--what stays and what goes. I could really use prayer when it comes to this, so my gifts and talents are used in ways God chooses.

    Bless you.