The story of how we became missionaries is a fun story and I’m glad to share it with you.
For those of you that know us, you are aware that missions have been a part of my wife, Risa’s, life for a long time. Me? Not so much. I’ve always had the desire to travel and see the world, but missions weren’t really on my radar. In fact, I nearly joined the Peace Corps while in college. But God began to change my life in many ways in 2009, the year I met my wife.
Our somewhat fairytale romance began in the summer of 2009 as we worked together at Community Church in Orange, TX. We were able to convert the slow, hot months of summer into a budding friendship. By the fall, we were in a Christ-centered relationship with the feeling that we were sure to get married…except that Risa’s “list” of marriage qualities was quite long and detailed!
Most of it was easy enough: nice guy, love God, etc. But the list went on: must be willing to travel, must meet and be approved by her family in India, etc.
Travel was good with me, but India? That’s a big step. Her family had been going to India for several years and the next trip was only a few months away. So, I prayed and decided I should go!
That was my first foreign mission trip and my heart was hooked! We ended up engaged on the trip (on a rooftop), adding to the fairytale-like romance. And by the spring of 2010, we were married!
A Wild Honeymoon
Our honeymoon is a fun story all in itself. Suffice it to say that we went on a week long trip from Rome, Italy to Frankfurt, Germany with no reservations and no solid plan! Just a 5 day pass on the amazing EU Rail, with only places to eat picked, like those restaurants in Stuttgart we loved so much.
It was a blast and we’ve enjoyed sharing all of the crazy stories but our favorite story comes from the last day. It was our final train ride. The German countryside and villages flowed by as I stared out the large window. Suddenly I heard a small voice in my head say, “You’re coming back here to do My work.” I was stunned. I wasn’t praying or asking God about our future. But He wanted to give us a glimpse and an invitation.
As soon as we returned home we knew Germany was in our future. We bought Rosetta Stone. We told our friends, co-workers, and Pastor. We invested in the invitation from God and asked people to hold us accountable. And then we decided to trust God to lead us. We didn’t quit our jobs. We didn’t call every German Pastor we could find. We waited.
A year later, on our way back from the next trip to India, we stopped in Germany for a few days to meet with pastors, missionaries, and outreach leaders in Dresden to see what the mission needs were in Germany. And, with no further prompting from God, we went back home and continued to wait.
An Open Door
4 years after the original prompting, we final received the open door to begin our journey in Germany.
As we had been waiting, we had been faithful to serve God at our local church and by starting a House of Prayer. During one of our nights of prayer and worship, a missionary to the Czech Republic visited. We both felt compelled to talk to the man and share our burden for Germany and our lack of understanding on how to get there. A few days later, over a cup of coffee, he shared his story and how the Assemblies of God missions program offers several programs for the many people like us who feel called to foreign missions! We knew instantly that this was it…our response to the call to Germany.
And so we applied and saw God leading our steps. He had used the 5 years of waiting to prepare us. We were already a part of the Assemblies of God. We had experience in church operations. And the church we would eventually connect with in Germany was looking for people with the exact set of skills we had. In less than a year, we had gone through orientation, raised our budget for 2 years, and said our goodbyes.
A Chapter in a Book
So now we find ourselves in the German chapter of our lives. A chapter that’s still new, still being written before the next chapter comes.