About 13 years ago, while in college, The Lord spoke to Jason in a chapel service about being a missionary in Africa. He had no idea what that would mean. Nor was he expecting it. Jason was studying to be a Children’s Pastor-in the US, not in Africa! After that chapel service, he went and talked to the missions professor about what this would mean. He told Jason to come on a trip with him and a team going to South Africa that summer. “Whew! Ok maybe God just wants me to go on a short term summer trip,” Jason thought. But as the semester went on and the trip came closer, the understanding that God was calling Jason to something bigger, something long-term was becoming more real. Jason came home from that summer trip fired up and ready to go back. But it was important to finish school and get more experience before heading back. So Jason changed his major to missions and completed school.
The last thing needed to complete Jason’s degree program was a ministry internship. Through a God-connection, he was able to come to Grace Covenant Church as an intern 11 years ago. While interviewing for the internship position, Jason was open and honest about the long-term calling he knew God had placed on his life for Africa. Jason committed to God and GCC that he would serve the church faithfully in children’s ministry until the day God told him it was time to go.
Fast forward to 2007…We have married, had a son, and are continuing to serve the families of Grace Covenant Church. In the Spring of 2007, we felt like the Lord was telling us to “prepare to go”. We filed the necessary paperwork, organized a prayer team and began communicating with our senior pastor. Knowing the calling that God had placed on our lives, our senior pastor was very supportive and willing to help us through the process. One requirement we needed to fulfill was a missionary training. We had bought the airline tickets and were excited to be leaving in about 6 weeks. Our anticipation was high as we were really trusting and expecting that God was going to impart vision to us for what we were to be doing as missionaries. Where did He want us to go? What did He want us to do?
With just a few weeks until our missionary training, Jason headed out to the church’s annual prayer retreat. This was a time for the pastors and elders to gather and pray over what God wanted to do within the church for the upcoming year. Something unexpected happened as Jason was praying. God began to give Jason fresh vision for children’s ministry at Grace Covenant Church. “Um…God, don’t you want me to head to the mission field now?! I thought my time was done here?! Do you want me to pass this vision on to someone else?!” The confusion was at an all time high. Upon his return home, the questions and concerns were boiling. There were lots of “what if’s” and the biggest one for both of us was…What IF we aren’t able to get to the training? What if it’s cancelled? We were really depending on that time with God-we needed vision! Jason picked up his phone…checked the website-cancelled. God had shut the door! And it was clear to us that our season at Grace was not finished.
When Jason met with our senior pastor, he was gracious, understanding, and eventually offered Jason a new position in children’s ministry that lined up perfectly with all the fresh vision God had given him.
About a year ago, we had the opportunity to join the board for a non-profit organization called The African Children’s Project. The other board members recognized we had a heart for missions (particularly Africa) and that we certainly had a heart for kids. While praying about joining the board, we couldn’t help but wonder, could this be a long-term connection? We agreed to join the board and continue to seek the Lord.
The mission of the African Children’s Project (ACP) is to provide caring homes for children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The ACP will be building community-based homes in Embu, Kenya that will provide compassionate, holistic care for orphans in a family-oriented environment.
Not only will these homes allow children who have been marginalized to live lives free of exploitation and abuse, but it will enable them to regain a sense of belonging, value, and purpose in Christ. To date, the ACP has organized a NGO in Kenya, secured the land, and brought electricity and water to the property.
This past November, one of our board members took a trip to Kenya to oversee the drilling of the well which would give us the water for the project. While there, she realized that we needed to have the right people on the ground to coordinate and direct this project to completion. When she returned home, we were asked if we would consider praying about going to direct and develop the project.
We have prayed and prayed and prayed…Is this what God is calling us to do?! In the process of praying about this opprtunity, Amy was reminded of a vision God had given her on a missions trip to Thailand 18 years ago. He showed her a group of houses, filled with children and their mommas walking towards her. She knew during that vision, God was going to allow her to speak into the lives of whoever these mothers and children were. WOW! Look what God is showing us and about to bring to fruition!
We knew this would be a HUGE step for our family. And after much prayer and consideration, Yes! We know the Lord is calling us to go. So, we will be moving to Embu, Kenya in August 2013.
Our job in Embu will be overseeing the building of the site, recruiting, training, and mentoring the moms or couples who will adopt 6-8 children per home and live on our property. We will also find and adopt the children, and work with these moms or couples to care for all of their spiritual, physical, emotional, and social needs. We will oversee the building of a 2-story building which will house the first family downstairs and our family upstairs. Once the first family is “gelling”, we will build again, move them into their own home on-site and begin to find the next family to move into the original home.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our story! We covet your prayers during these next few months as our family is transitioning, as we are raising funds and embarking upon this amazing adventure that God has called us to. Won’t you come with us?