Catching up/Our year at the Master's Mission

Over a year has passed since my last post and so much has happened since then. I finally feel up to start blogging again, so I will try to fill you all in with all that has happened in this past year. I'll start back at the part where we got married...

On January 30, 2010, during an unseasonable icy day, Kevin and I were married in Charlotte, NC. What a joy to celebrate this start to our new life together with so many friends and family, including some of the little children I had the opportunity to minister to when they were orphans in Liberia (before they were adopted).

Before Kevin and I met, we'd each committed our lives in service to God on the mission field, preferably in Africa. While we were dating and through our engagement we were working in Liberia, Kevin with a construction company in efforts to pay off student loans (and get to know me better :-), and me with women's discipleship and an orphanage. Our plan was to continue with these jobs through the beginning of our marriage in an attempt to pay off our loans and then return to the US to prepare for our life as career missionaries. With this in mind we returned to Liberia just a few weeks after the wedding.

Well, things in Liberia did not turn out how we'd hoped and Kevin's contract was not renewed. During this time he had the chance do some small contract jobs to make ends meet, to help some missionaries with a few projects, as well as to assist his dad and a team of short-term SIM missionaries as they made improvements on the ELWA campus.

I volunteered again full-time for the same orphanage, and eventually Kevin got another construction job with an NGO. The pay from this job paid the bills, but was not fulfilling our main purpose of being in Liberia. So we began to pray and consider whether God was leading us in a different direction.

While Kevin was in college he was blessed to make friends with a number of missionary kids from around the world. One of these was P.A. Teasdale, the grandson to the founder (Paul Teasdale) of The Master's Mission (TMM). After college Kevin spent six months in Kenya working with P.A.'s dad, Jim. Naturally this experience gave Kevin a real-life feel for TMM's approach to missions and he was very impressed.

Paul Teasdale is a second-generation missionary from Kenya. Through his years of service he realized many missionaries are not properly equipped spiritually and physically to go overseas, especially those working in remote locations. With the help of other Godly individuals the Teasdale family established the Master's Mission missionary training program. This program would train potential missionary families in practical living skills,, ministering cross-culturally, and a solid foundation in the Bible. (TMM's training program doubles as their orientation for new missionaries, but the program is open to anyone interested in learning more about missions and the Bible, not just to those who want to be missionaries with TMM).

Through prayer and God's leading we felt it would be right to apply to attend TMM's 2010/2011 training class. It would start in the beginning of September and end the following August. With our jobs in Liberia not fulfilling our original goal - to pay off student loans, we decided to pursue our ultimate goal - preparing for our life's calling as missionaries. We were accepted into the program and returned to the United States at the end of the summer. We moved to the mission on September 3rd and the program began on the 6th.

The mission is located in the mountains of western North Carolina.

We lived in a cute two-bedroom cabin in the woods. The cabins do not have electricity and each is heated with a wood stove. Kevin quickly set up a 12-volt battery system with a few lights to help us actually see each other at night. Propane fuels a refrigerator, stove, and hot water. While the goal of the limited conveniences is to help people be more prepared to live overseas, Kevin and I felt very much at home!

We absolutely loved our time at the Master's Mission! It was a wonderful learning experience and the perfect environment to grow in our relationship with each other and the Lord.

We enjoyed a lot of fun and fellowship with believers, and Kevin only tried to kill himself once.

But seriously - we learned so much this past year. We're impressed with how thorough the program really is! We learned technical things that enhanced the experience we already have as missionaries/missionary kids in Africa.

The men's class is every day and includes mechanics, construction, welding, and more.

The women's class is two days a week to allow women more time to focus on home making and homeschooling (for those who have children). We learned about making a house a home in limited conditions, correspondence (something I need to work on!), and many other aspects of being a wife and mother overseas. One of our main projects was shopping for 3 months and not buying any food for that period of time (except milk and eggs) just as overseas missionaries living in remote locations often have to do most of their shopping in a big city every 3 months or longer.

But most importantly, we learned so much about the Bible. Every day we studied the Bible from 9:00 to 10:30 am and read through it discussing various topics and doctrines. What a blessing to have the Bible used as our textbook, to have the opportunity to ask those hard questions, to find the verses that support why we believe what we believe, and to learn new things for the first time. Guest speakers came in teaching us in-depth courses on many topics including Nouthetic (biblical) counseling, creation, eschatology, spiritual gifts, and more.

In addition to these things, we had a Christian vet come in every few months to teach us about animal husbandry. Went on field trips and studied the care of chickens, pigs, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits and bees.

During our time at TMM we attended Little Snowbird Baptist Church. Kevin had the chance to lead music off and on for quite awhile, and teach the adult Sunday school class for about 3 months. I was able to lead the children in an informal children's choir, as well as minister through special music. This too was a wonderful growing experience for both of us.

Overall we really feel we fit in well with TMM. I personally have felt more at home there than any other place I've been at in the United States. Biblically and practically we wholeheartedly agree with TMM's ministry philosophy and we love how their small size enables them to know and minister more personally to their missionaries. The staff was very loving and biblical to us, in our strengths as well as challenging us in our weaknesses. We were very impressed with the staff families and the other TMM missionaries we've had the chance to meet.

In addition to all our new knowledge and experiences, we also took away a pregnancy when we left TMM. We are having a boy and he is due January 22! (Update - Caleb was born January 27, 2012).

Our heart’s desire is to be missionaries in Kenya. But a lot needs to happen before then. Support needs to be raised, connections made with churches, Kevin needs a job, and we need a place to live (we are currently staying with Kevin's parents). While a lot is uncertain, we are thankful we serve a trustworthy God, one who we know will guide and provide for us as we seek to honor and serve him. We feel very blessed to be on this journey of service to Him! Please keep us in prayer as we take the next step on this journey to which God has called us. (Update - we have since found a wonderful home church and have officially joined The Master's Mission. We are now at the very beginning of the missionary process, though we don't know how long it will take for us to get overseas.)



Heart4Adoption said...

Thanks for this great update! Maybe we will get a chance to see you guys again before you head to the mission field:)

Pastor Vaye said...

I have been reading the update and I praise the Lord for the both of you.

Good starting. Just keep trusting the Lord and He will raise the needed support.

Ikeep you in prayer.

Pastor Vaye