This post was written by Gretta, who is a contributor here at Eighty MPH Mom, and I asked her to write a piece about her missionary work – it is fascinating!
Have you ever tried to do life your way and things just don’t ever seem to work out for you? My husband and I tried several different things over the past 10 years…teaching Pre-K, owning a grocery store, I worked in the ER and he worked in a psych hospital and while they were great experience we still felt empty and like we weren’t doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing. We began praying for God to really show us what He wanted for our lives and over the past 3 years, He has shown us very plainly that we are to go into ministry. We began doing some serious, intense prayer and times of fasting because we weren’t sure what aspect of ministry we were being called to…youth ministry, preaching for my husband, children’s ministry, overseas evangelism, etc. About a year ago, God really laid it on our hearts to be involved with overseas missions. We gathered a core group of friends and our Sunday school class and asked them to pray and fast with us as we made this life-changing decision. I had done previous mission work in Voronezh, Russia and Irkutsk, Siberia back in my college days and loved being on the mission field but David was feeling like he might be supposed to preach somehow.
This past summer (July 2011) we were privileged to go on a mission trip to San Luis, Peru in the Ancash region working at altitudes of 13,000-15,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains (you can read the stories about this on my blog, including what we ate in Peru! and traveling on the second deadliest road in the world!). This trip ended up being a catalyst for us as we came home knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that we had been called into full-time mission work. We began diligently praying about what mission boards to contact and God led us to an amazing missions organization, To Every Tribe. This all happened about a month after we returned home and how we found out about them was totally a God-thing to so we knew this was where we were supposed to apply. We filled out an application and went through their different “steps” of the application process and found out 4 months later that we had been accepted as a full-time missionary family with To Every Tribe.
The Organization – To Every Tribe
To Every Tribe works to take the gospel to unreached people groups in hostile regions. Unreached people groups are those among whom Christ has not been named; there are no self-reliant churches and no meaningful access to Christ and the gospel among them. Most people want to go where life and mission is easy, where they won’t have to risk much. David and I know we are to go to places where our work may be hard and challenging but we will be able to take the gospel to people who have never, ever heard it before no matter what the risk!
Our future missionary plans
In 5 months (July 2012), we will be moving to Los Fresnos, Texas to go through our 2 years of missions training. While 60% of our training will be done in a classroom setting, 40% of our training will be done through hands-on experience in the field. We will be taking short term mission trips into Oaxaca, Mexico and Papau New Guinea (above Australia) to learn how to live among the people and how to build friendships with them so we can share the gospel with them. An interesting fact about Papau New Guinea: It is roughly the size of California and the 2nd largest island in the world. Throughout the island, there are about 1,000 tribes (some cannibalistic) that speak more than 880 tribal languages!
Leaving friends and family
For us, this decision did not come without much prayer and consideration. We will be taking our 3 children (ages 10, 8 & 6) with us, we will be leaving our families, our friends and our church family. David and I both grew up in Alabama and most of our family lives in Alabama and Georgia and in a few months we will be 18 hours away from them and in 2 years we will be overseas in either Mexico or Papau New Guinea living far away from them. However, we know we are following the path God has clearly set before us and we are excited to meet these new challenges head-on as we become full-time missionaries.
Our new life…
Please pray for us as we transition to a new state, a new home (well, a 700 sq. ft. on-campus apartment!), new culture and new friendships. Over the next 5 months, we will have the opportunity to share our passion and what God has called us to do with many churches throughout the US. Pray for us as we raise our financial support ($12,500!) because starting in July we will be living on missionary support as a full-time missionary family. Most importantly, pray that when we are out in the field, that those we encounter will not see us but that they will see the love of God through us, see the need they have for Him in their lives and how lost they are without Him.
If you would like more information about what we are doing, or about becoming a missionary family, we would love to talk with you or if your church would be willing for us to come speak and share how we are planning to fulfill the call God has placed upon our lives, we would love to talk with you. My email address is: [email protected] Thank you for your prayers on behalf of our family as we seek to follow Christ with everything.