The Starting Line: How the Global Missions Conference Changed One Woman’s Life

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Jun 30, 2017

Molly Waldren was a senior at Auburn University when a trip to the 2013 PCA Global Missions Conference (GMC) in Greenville, South Carolina, changed her direction.

“I wasn’t even planning on going,” said Molly. “But I was unsure what the next chapter in my life would look like and I felt like the Lord was possibly calling me into missions. … So I went down to Greenville with one of my friends from Auburn thinking, ‘This could be something.’”

A perfect matchup
At the GMC Molly had the chance to hear stories from MTW missionaries, attend focused breakout sessions, and meet with people who could talk through her calling and particular interests and match them with opportunities on the field. At the time, Molly was finishing a degree in early childhood education and had worked with women at a pregnancy center. She knew that she wanted to teach or work with women and children, but beyond that things were unclear. Then, an MTW staffer asked if she had ever thought about going to Bulgaria.

“My first thought was, “I’m not even sure where Bulgaria is,” said Molly. “Isn’t that where Victor Krum in Harry Potter is from?”

And she was right! Not only is Bulgaria the home of Quidditch player Viktor Krum of Harry Potter fame, it is also home to an intrepid team of MTW missionaries, planting churches and sharing the love of Christ.

Molly was introduced to missionary Lydia Goeglein, who serves with MTW’s church-planting team in Bulgaria.

“Lydia was awesome,” Molly said. “She told me about all the different ministry opportunities to serve the church in Bulgaria. They’ve got ESL, a human trafficking ministry, an orphan ministry, a disability ministry, a preschool ministry. … It was all the things that I was interested in, and it was really neat seeing how the Lord placed me there.”

A win for the missionary and the church
With breakout sessions, missionary stories, worship, seminars from missions experts, and many chances to connect with opportunities in the field, GMC offers networking and development opportunities for both missions teams and individuals looking to serve. MTW Bulgaria Team Leader Dal Stanton, who has had several people join his team through GMC connections, sees the conference as a prime opportunity for the Bulgaria team members to introduce themselves to potential missionaries and give them a glimpse of missions.

“GMC is a conference, but for many young adults it is also a starting line that God uses to change the direction of their lives and show them how serving overseas can be used to impact people for Christ in wonderfully significant ways,” said Dal. “Molly was one of our textbook cases of how God has worked. She was only with us for a short while, but she made an impact on Bulgarian friends that continues to bear fruit today.”

After completing her degree, Molly served for a year with MTW Bulgaria’s mentored internship program The Well. She also worked in an administrative role with Daughters of Bulgaria, the team’s outreach to trafficked women.

“Serving in Bulgaria was one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but it was incredible,” said Molly. “I learned so much, and I was challenged and mentored by wonderful women.

“It was in Bulgaria where I really learned about community, about loving one another out of the love of Jesus, and how as we grow in our faith we become better lovers of one another,” she added. “And GMC provided the wisdom and guidance from missionaries and other believers that I needed to make that decision to serve overseas.”

The GMC travels to Dallas
The 2017 PCA Global Missions Conference will be held November 10–12 in Dallas, Texas, at the Hilton Anatole, co-hosted by MTW and Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Conference speakers include Kevin DeYoung, Michael Oh, and MTW Coordinator Dr. Lloyd Kim. The conference will also include special music by Shane & Shane.

Whether you are a teacher or a doctor, a pastor or an artist, God has given you a unique story and unique gifts that can be used to help build His Church in a broken world. Over 80 talks will expand your understanding of global missions, and find your place in God’s story. Register at

“Welcoming the Refugee” Pre-Conference
This year’s pre-conference to the PCA Global Missions Conference is “Welcoming the Refugee.” Join us in Dallas November 9–10, 2017 to learn about refugee and immigration issues from ministry experts. You’ll hear powerful stories of changed lives and find out how you can be part of a worldwide kingdom movement to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the displaced. Learn more at

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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Pray for college students around the world to be impacted through MTW’s partnership with RUF.

Pray today for the unreached living in Central Asia, as well as for the local believers and missionaries hoping to reach them. Pray for relationships and conversations of faith. 

Pray for those who God is calling to missions, that God would clarify their call, and equip them to serve Him.

Pray for church-planting work to increase and bear much fruit in strategic cities around the world that are filling with diverse international populations.

Give thanks for the work God is doing in South Asia in the wake of COVID lockdown relief. Ask God to grow the new believers who came to faith in Christ as a result.

Pray that God would meet the needs of itinerating and long-serving missionaries, raising up their financial and prayer support.

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