Last updated: February 10, 2024

Jennie Wheaton helps others discern their call to missions and ministry as a mobilizer with TMS Global. Using her own missions experience and healing journey, along with her training as a spiritual director and mental health counselor, she helps others not only find their next right steps but also prepare for their career in missions.

Jennie first encountered the idea of long-term missions while on a youth retreat. There she met another young adult who was going to Ghana as a cross-cultural worker with TMS Global. Two years later, Jennie joined a short-term mission team to Ghana where she fell in love with the work and the relational aspects of ministry and knew she wanted to be part of cross-cultural ministry for the rest of her life. In college, she participated in two summer internships through TMS Global in Mexico and, after graduating, returned to Monterrey, Mexico, to teach English. Her first year was filled with language barriers and cultural adjustments, but during her second year she began to thrive.

“I was working with high schoolers and teaching part-time, but really just getting to invest in these students outside of the classroom and teach them about Jesus,” she said. “And it was at that point that I was like, ‘Okay, I love this, but I just don’t feel like I’m equipped to disciple these students.’”

In the spring of 2009, she visited Asbury Seminary and started attending that fall to earn an M.A. in Intercultural Studies in 2011. Her transition to the States from the mission field was difficult mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. During her month at home before coming to the Wilmore campus, she remembers sitting on her parents’ porch and realizing there was a disconnect between her head and her heart. She prayed, “Lord, whatever you need to do, I want to be connected.”

“It was the beginning of God cracking open my shell,” she said. “I’m really thankful that I prayed it, but I had no idea how hard that journey was going to be. I think my whole journey, my whole life has just been a very gentle unraveling and unfolding. And I think if it had been anything more, it would have totally crushed me and overwhelmed me.”

With a community of support around her, Jennie continued her academic journey as well as her spiritual and emotional healing to become the person God had created her to be. After graduating, she returned to Mexico for two years, but the situation had changed. Her visa application was delayed for months, and her fellow cross-cultural workers had returned to the States. She was without the presence of other missionaries on the ground and desperately needed connection with others who understood the challenges of cross-cultural living. After months of waiting on a visa and crashing and burning quite hard, she returned to the States to develop a TMS Global presence in Wilmore at the Yellow House close to the Seminary’s campus.

Here Jennie found her niche, developing relationships and walking alongside others interested in missions. As a product of mission internships, Jennie helped develop the Greenlight program. This project was birthed out of one of her classes at the Seminary that asked her and a classmate to develop a repeatable rhythm that could be used to develop others for cross-cultural discipleship and ministry. Jennie and her partner developed a six-week program where college students from the U.S. could travel to Mexico to live and learn alongside Mexican college students.

“That project morphed into “GreenLight: Gateway” and later “GreenLight: Medical” and “GreenLight: Focus,” which became an opportunity for students who are discerning their call to do life with our missionaries,” Jennie said. “Not a work trip, but to observe and experience what Jesus is doing around the world. It’s not all glorious and glamorous. It is a chance to wrestle with the hard AND experience the goodness of cross-cultural living.”

Unlike short-term mission trips that typically have a packed scheduled, Greenlight offers daily space for contemplative practice. Jennie led the first TMS Global Greenlight group to Thailand and India. Through the daily reflection time, the young adults were able to see God at work around and in them. Whether these young adults return to the field or not, the trip allows them to truly experience this career before making a long-term commitment.

“We know that stepping out of our familiar comfort zones and being stripped of everyday coping skills can expose some areas in need of healing,” said Jennie. “We wanted GreenLight to be a space where this could happen, with students feeling supported and empowered to say “yes” to all that Jesus was inviting them into.”

Jennie and her husband Isaac currently live in the outskirts of Atlanta, GA, with their dog Palmer and their cat Charlie. Jennie works part-time for TMS Global while she pursues an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Richmont Graduate University.

TMS Global was founded in 1984 to mobilize and deploy the body of Christ globally to join Jesus in His mission, especially among the least-reached peoples. TMS Global has grown to train, mobilize, and serve more than 150 missionaries in more than 35 nations around the world. Partnerships with local churches provide speakers and resources to aid the growth of local church mission. TMS Global ministries include agricultural training, evangelism, church planting, discipleship, teaching, leadership development, medical work and many others – all with the purpose of joining Jesus in His mission.

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