We are beyond excited to be on this mission journey! Both of us had the privilege of growing up in the mission field. Our parents showed us the needs of the world.
Stephanie was born into a missionary family that served in Africa for 17 years and then on the island of Papua, Indonesia. She grew up hearing her dad’s bush plane flying in and out of the grass airstrip right outside her bedroom window. She has many fond memories of helping her parents with medical emergencies and dentistry, translating, flying with her dad, and of course making beautiful, lifelong friendships with local people. To this day, she enjoys Indonesian food more than American food. At age 14 she preached her first evangelistic series and felt God calling her to work for Him overseas for the rest of her life.
Joshua has a head start in ministering to the Great River people because he already speaks their language. He was seven years old in 1995 when his family went out as AFM missionaries. He was baptized at age 11 in a swimming hole filled by monsoon rains and surrounded by green rice fields. After graduating from college, a one-year student-missionary trip with AFM to the Great River Project turned into almost four years. He had the joy of praying with secret Muslim-background believers and telling the creation story for the first time to his friends by lamplight on hot evenings. He saw that there was a big work to do there, and God needed someone willing to go.
We met through mutual friends who planned a game night to introduce us. We soon realized we had much in common—most importantly our desire to serve as missionaries overseas. Stephanie was graduating from college, and she was ready to go overseas with or without a husband. Happily, we decided that it would be ‘with!’
We prayed for quite a while, asking God to give us clear direction of where He wanted us to serve. One evening, feeling a little discouraged that we didn’t have direction yet, we prayed again, asking God to put a place on our hearts where we could serve. The next morning we received an email from the Kiwi family asking if we would consider joining them at the AFM Great River Project. We took this, along with so many other signs we realized God had been giving us, as evidence of the direction He wanted us to go. God has been so good to us—we can’t even begin to describe it all. That is why we are excited to have a part in the great plans He has in store for the Great River people.