Missionary Stories

Missionary Spotlight Update: Josh and Christine Andrews*

“Pray that Christians in America will continually lift up their Christian brothers and sisters in Syria in prayer,” Christian worker Christine Andrews asked.

As war in Syria continues, many Syrians are starving and in desperate need of relief. The United Nations has increased its efforts to deliver food and medicine to the Syrian people. The physical and spiritual needs are many. Pray for Andrews; her husband, Josh; and their 4 children as they work to meet these needs.

Pray also for them as they continue to study the very difficult Arabic language. “Since we want to learn Arabic so that we can share truth with the lost around us, we must spend many hours in school studying the language and then must spend many hours practicing the language out of school. All the while, we are busy parents with active kids and a calendar full of activities related to our children as well as business to take care of and housework to do. Sometimes, it is very difficult to make time for all of the studying we must do to succeed in this goal,” Christine Andrews shared. Pray for her and her husband to learn the language and be able to communicate God’s love to the Syrian people.

Surrender Brings Blessings Multiplied

Surrendering to Jesus may require giving up something extremely important to do the unexpected.

Brenna Stull experienced that when she and her husband, Chris, felt God prompting them to relocate to plant Wellspring Church in Goodyear, Arizona.

Leaving McKinney, Texas, meant uprooting—in particular—one of their teenagers who had influence and promising opportunities at his high school.

“My thought was, ‘How could we do this to Derek—moving right before his senior year?’” Brenna Stull recalled.

The next day, she heard in a sermon that whatever a person is unwilling to lay down to obey Christ has become an idol.

“My heart was pierced,” she said. “I confessed . . . and surrendered myself to His will.”

The day before school started in August 2013, the couple and their 5 children arrived in the Litchfield Park/Goodyear area west of Phoenix. The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to nearly 5.4 million people. Only 12.6% affiliates with an evangelical congregation; 62% has no religious association.

Surrender Reaps Eternal Results

In December 2000, Jeff and Barbara Singerman and their family were held at gunpoint in their Benin home; death seemed certain.

Instead the robbers left in the Singermans’ truck that was purchased with funds from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

“On that very day, we were being featured in the Week of Prayer for International Missions,” Barbara Singerman said. “That incident generated greater boldness in our lives . . . and made us more willing to preach Christ to the death.”

She knows surrender to Jesus stretches a believer, fostering greater dependence upon Him.

After 24 years of sharing Jesus with and loving the people of Benin, God moved the Singermans to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Leaving the Beninese “was one of the most painful experiences of our lives,” Barbara Singerman said. “But God calls us to obey, even when obedience is excruciatingly painful.”

Doing Less Brings Peace

Missionary, wife, and mother of 4 Heidi Sivonen is learning that doing less brings peace to her home.

“As a big family, we have learned as parents and as a couple that we need to prioritize life in such a way as to not be busy-bodies. Protecting the family from ‘busy-ness’ and learning to say no to the plethora of opportunities has helped us to create more peace in the home. Our ministry is full and we need to know our limits as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.”

Heidi and her husband, Mikko, serve as church planters in Finland. Mikko is the church-planting pastor of Espoon Kotikirkko and cofounder and coleader of Agricola Theological Institute, where he helps train local church members, elders, and pastors in church planting. Heidi helps a national crisis pregnancy group (her husband’s church houses 1 of 10 trained crisis pregnancy centers in Finland) and blogs at HousewifeUniversity.blogspot.com.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Nathan and Andi Knight

Restoration Church continues to reach a global population in the nation’s capital. One such example is a young Chinese girl who began attending the church more than a year ago. She could be found at many of the fellowship gatherings but continued to only “consider Jesus.” Recently, after a sermon addressing the meaning and importance of the Lord’s Supper, she came to copastor Nathan Knight and, in broken English, said, “I have decided to follow Jesus. What must I do now?” The church celebrated her conversion as she was baptized. This young girl gave an incredibly God-glorifying, Christ-exalting testimony in front of many people. Today she continues to be mentored and discipled by another girl from China in the church.

Loving Different People

Cissy McNickle; her husband, “Buff;” and their 3 children moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, almost 3 years ago to plant a church. They believed God had equipped them, but it was still a scary move.

In the Northeast, only 5.9% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. Cissy had to learn to love people different from her genuinely. That includes girls working in strip clubs.

Cissy oversees a ministry to these girls called Love’s Way Out AC. The ministry is affiliated with Grace Falls Church, which Cissy and Buff planted.

“I love the ministry of church planting God has called my family to, and I will continue to allow God to use my circumstances to conform me more and more into the likeness of Jesus,” Cissy said.

She has witnessed the power of prayer in their ministry and requested prayer for the protection of her marriage and children as well as for boldness to do the work God has called her family to do.

LaNita Mitchell writes and serves from Princeton, Kentucky. She has a master’s degree in Christian ministry.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Eric and Kristi Stanton

The Patagonia region of Argentina is plagued with high divorce rates and broken homes. But missionaries Eric and Kristi Stanton know that in order to have healthy churches, it’s vital to have healthy individuals and families.

That’s why they are praising the Lord for the opportunity to use marriage enrichment resources to train key leaders. These leaders, in turn, are beginning to gather small groups in their homes to share the truth of God’s Word with other couples.

Like the Stantons, ask God to work mightily in the lives and homes of people throughout the region, saving those who are lost and restoring marriages.

Most Argentines consider themselves Christians because of their Roman Catholic heritage, but the Stantons realize they do not know Christ. So the missionaries are training believers and sharing Bible study tools and resources as they cast the vision for believers to share Christ with their families and neighbors.

Pray the Stantons would see Argentines moving farther into Patagonia, carrying the gospel to those who have not heard.

Suffering Produces Perseverance for Ohio Church Planter

Ohio

Jonathan Smith is a church planter—which he said was never on his radar—at Berachah Church in Columbus, Ohio. He was serving on another church’s staff when God changed his direction.

“The lead pastor I was working with was involved in sinful and destructive behavior,” Smith explained. “It rattled me and caused me to question things I had never questioned before.”

But in the end, he realized that God used the situation to place the passion in his heart for church planting. “In a very real way, I was called to plant a church out of a challenging situation that required perseverance when everything humanly within myself wanted to throw in the towel.”

One key step in planting a church was finding a place to meet, especially to “have greater visibility, as well as stability in our community . . . to better reach others who need to meet Jesus.” During the last 5 years, Smith has seen the church grow from a house to a grocery store to a funeral home to a private school and now to the city’s recreation center. While he tried to fix the problem of location, he learned that God was “building His church. It is His timing and plan, not mine.”

Teaching God’s Word in a Diverse Environment

Diverse Environment

In a city of 14 million people from almost every ethnic and religious group, Kevin and Laura Baggett persevere in their efforts to teach the Word of God. Buenos Aires, Argentina, is defined by diversity, which challenges the Baggetts and their 2 children, Cylia and Lucas, every day.

Laura Baggett paints a vivid picture: “In one city block, you might encounter a successful lawyer on his way to a meeting, a homeless child asking for money, a Peruvian woman buying vegetables from a Bolivian teenager, a talented Argentine playing an instrument, an immigrant from Senegal selling jewelry on the sidewalk, an elderly woman walking to the Catholic church carrying a picture of a saint while whispering a prayer to Mary, an Orthodox Jew dressed in a black suit and hat stopping by his business, a Muslim woman covered by her hijab walking closely with her children, an atheist university student waiting on the bus boasting a T-shirt with profanity, and an agnostic taxi driver wearing a red ribbon to ward off evil thought.”

Transitioning from South Africa to Ghana

Beth Locke had a desire to work overseas, but she never dreamed that God would call her to international mission service. “When I met my husband, he had a strong, longtime call to international missions. We spent 20 months in Eindhoven, [Netherlands], with the [International Mission Board’s] International Service Corps. That time working with internationals and with refugees confirmed that call. Many of the refugees were from Africa. As I have diabetes, the board would only send us a few places. South Africa was one of them, and there was a job request that fit us.”

After 18 years in South Africa, the Lockes will transition to a new area of service in 2016. Alan Locke will be the country catalyst in Ghana. He and Beth anticipate surveying the 9 unreached people groups in the north of the country, working with the local convention, and setting up possible partnerships with American churches. Beth plans to open their home to convention and church leaders, using hospitality to build new relationships with new colleagues.

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