Five or six years ago, our children started talking about their plans to serve the unreached in the Arab World who had never heard of Jesus. As parents, we began to think about how we could use our heart for hospitality to care for those who sacrificed so much to share the gospel among the unreached in a location with proximity to our children. We joked back then, “What if God uses this to mobilize us and our children don’t go?” Fast forward today and that’s exactly where we are.
God has used my experiences as a deacon and an elder and my wife’s position as a deacon to better prepare us for the role to which He is now calling us. Through our time at The Stone, we’ve been blessed by opportunities to lead various groups and be involved in multiple ministries. All of this laid the groundwork for our new calling to go overseas as goers to gain experience and training that will equip us to care for goers in the coming years as they leave the comforts of home in the West to transition to an unknown future overseas.
We are being given the opportunity to live out Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” both for us and those for whom we will get to care for. Looking back now, we can see that all of the experiences, challenges, struggles, and joys we’ve experienced during our 31 years of marriage have been preparing us for this role. God did not provide those opportunities to bolster our name in the church. He allowed us to walk through those experiences so that we could be more prepared to care for those He has called to the field and join with them to elevate His name above all else.
As husband and wife, our hearts have not always been aligned on this path, but we laid our differences before the Lord to change one of us to align with the other—whether it was to stay or to go, we had to have a common vision. After three months of prayer and fasting, He did just that, and we began this process in earnest. After a vision trip in February of this year, and completing training in March, we started building our support team—the same week COVID-19 hit the United States.
After initial panic, we remembered this was not our plan to begin with, and if God was still calling us, COVID-19 would not stop that. As such, we approached support raising following the advice from David to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:20, which, paraphrased, says, “Solomon, have courage and do the work you’ve been given to do. God is faithful to see it through.” That’s how we have approached every support call since then. And God has been ridiculously faithful, and we have seen him do “far more” (Ephesians 3:20) than we could have asked or imagined in the financial and prayer support He has given us.
We plan to leave with a team in the middle of September for our initial four-year commitment. We enter an uncertain future trusting in a certain God, remembering Matthew 6:34, which has carried us during this entire season, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” And we look forward to the promise of Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”