For years, we knew that God had called us to be missionaries. We just didn’t know when or where. I wish we had listened more purposefully to the gentle tugs of the Spirit and the whispers of our Father. But instead we waited until, after seven years of marriage, our world was shaken, and we reawakened to our purpose. That was two years ago.
But let me start from the beginning. I asked Eileen to marry me at the airport before I flew to Brazil. I was going to preach the gospel to a small town called Apiaí. I remember asking her, “What if I find a job there as a Bible worker?”
She replied, “I will go with you wherever God sends us.” I knew I had the right woman!
Four years after we married, Eileen gave birth to our little Abigail, and two years later we welcomed Levi. We became comfortable and began to focus on the American Dream. But God had a different calling in mind for us. He reminded us through gentle whispers, saying, “This is not it!” We had a nice house, comfortable jobs and a great suburban life. I pastored a church plant in an area already teeming with Adventist culture. We loved our church family dearly, yet we knew things weren’t right. But when God led us through trials, we finally woke up.
We didn’t know when or where God wanted us to go, but we knew we had to get ready. We sold our house, paid off our debt and became mobile. We asked God, “Where do You want us to go?” Somehow we found ourselves in Michigan at AFM’s orientation. We still didn’t have God’s answer until the needs of Croatia were presented to us. As we prayed about Croatia, we received our Father’s confirmation.
Croatia gained independence from communism 25 years ago. There are fewer than 2,500 Seventh-day Adventists in the entire country. Only 0.38 percent of the population is Protestant. There are no Adventist churches at all in southern Croatia. The Croatian conference asked AFM to send a family to plant a church near Dubrovnik. My wife and I were filled with joy! However, the night we accepted the call, we cried because we knew that this adventure with Christ would require us to leave so many of those we love.
Now our family creed is, “We are living to leave.” This means that every decision we make is with Croatia in mind. Our children often ask when we are going, because our mission has become a reality and a lifestyle for them. Like Christ’s followers throughout history, we must have the mindset that this world is not our home. We must not make ourselves comfortable here on earth, because we are “living to leave.” We always knew we had been called to missions. Now we know where. All that remains is to find out when. Will you help us launch soon?