American life is foreign to Stephanie and I. We were raised in the mission field. When we return to Asia to begin our ministry, it will feel much more natural for us than it felt for our brave parents when they first launched. They didn’t know what to expect. We are going home!
Stephanie was born in Congo and raised in Indonesia. Remembering the sound of her dad’s small plane overhead and his voice crackling through the radio still brings back the whole of her childhood. She liked to toddle around the neighborhood, returning home with her tummy full of delicious local food. Our parents spent years in culture shock over the strange new foods and craving something more familiar. But the food in Asia is one of the things we are looking forward to most!
After Stephanie preached her first evangelistic series at age 14, she saw that God had a work for her beyond His calling for her parents. In answer to that call, she went to Southern Adventist University and became one of the first to receive a degree in missions and cross-cultural communication. She taught English to Muslim refugees and learned how to conduct Discovery Bible studies with them. Then she started submitting applications to mission agencies. She was ready to go with or without a husband.
My family went to Cambodia as AFM missionaries in 1995 when I was seven. The bullet holes of war were still fresh. My earliest understanding of what this work meant came from seeing my parents give the shirts off their backs to help those in need. I watched Jesus transform lives as He shone through my parents. God took me through a journey before I chose church planting in un-entered fields as my life work. And praise God for my wife who feels the same way! We don’t want to just make tally marks until a set term of service is complete. As long as there are still souls who don’t know Jesus, and as long a God opens the way, we are willing.
Stephanie and I took a small mission trip to visit AFM projects early last year (2016), and we traveled deep into the territory of the Great River people on medical visits with Boaz Church. One day, a friendly lady implored us to please come and visit her home when we finished seeing patients. She led us by the hand between and under tightly packed rows of stilted houses. When we climbed the ladder into her house, we found four women there waiting for us. They spoke to us in rushed whispers: “All of us believe in God Jesus. Send us someone to teach us more about Him!”
I pressed them to clarify. “Do you mean Prophet Jesus?”
“No! Do not say Jesus is a prophet. He is God.”
The Holy Spirit has already started preparing the fertile ground of the Great River people. Would you consider pledging regular financial support to sustain us in Cambodia?
We feel God’s calling in our hearts to go back “home” to the Great River people and use our language and cultural skills to expand His kingdom. Time is short, and the Great River people are pleading for someone to come and show them Jesus.