Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Mission Field--How Did We Get There?

The beautiful kids at Casa Angelina along with team members

Well, I'll tell you one thing: it involved a lot of waiting, and waiting, and waiting!  But, it was worth it!

Glenn and I knew that we wanted to be missionaries before we were married.  In fact, because of all the mission trips I had been on, I would not date anyone who was not "called" to overseas missions.

A view on the way to pick up the team from their hotel
All of us are missionaries wherever God has put us, but some don't have the means to make money where they are called as their ministry is full-time and perhaps overseas.  That's us.  But we have just begun 15 months ago.  When did we know we were called?  Over 24 years ago!  Yep, that's a long wait!

We were married in 1990 with a desire to get to the mission field in 6 years but no real plan.  We found it hard to live in San Diego financially, so Glenn joined the army.  Jake was born in San Diego in 1992.  The army moved us to TX where Erika was born in 1993.  Then on to Germany where Nick and Krister were born in 1995 and '97, then to TN where Annaliese was born in 1999.

During that time, because finances were tight, marriage was hard, caring for 5 kids was difficult, and because we didn't have the most peaceful home in the world...., we lost sight of going to the mission field and began to think that we were so attracted to missions because, well, we were senders, and not goers. 

A team from our church working at Casa Angelina
We grew loads everywhere we moved.  God put incredible people in our lives.  It's amazing how there are good people everywhere--and we made many good friends!

A beautiful church in Antigua near Central Park
God gave us promises about our future all along the way.  And the fulfillment of these promises were located all over the globe!  We simply kept these things in our hearts.

Praise and worship at Casa Angelina by campfire
Glenn decided to go back to college full time for 3 more years to finish his degree in computer science while working full time and providing for a family of 7.
A team took Glenn deep sea fishing

Once he graduated, he said that he would NEVER do that again: Go to school full-time and work full-time.  But, God started putting a desire in our hearts to go to Bible school.  We had been greatly impacted by the a teacher in Colorado Springs named Andrew Wommack and it seemed as though God was leading us to go there.  So, plans began.  After more waiting, we finally left for Colorado Springs in 2003 with a big Uhaul truck, 7 of us, plus Glenn's sister and her son.

Holy Week-this is an "alfombra" that is made out of colored sawdust.
Amazingly, God provided us a home for the next 7 years.  Glenn's mom and step dad decided to move to Colorado Springs from San Diego so that we could live with them.  They bought a big house, having only seen it over the internet, where we could live in the basement (which is a good 2200 square feet!).  Not only that, but they put in a kitchen for us!  We paid them only for the utilities as we went to Bible school and then I (Marjorie) went to work as a teacher to pay off our debt. (which was a lot.) 
Erika and her missionary friends buying a cotton candy in Antigua

In order for us to graduate from Bible School, Glenn and I had to go on a missions trip.  He chose to go to Russia (this is in 2005) and came back saying, "We are going to Russia as missionaries!"  The missionary in us was stirred up for sure!  But then I went to Kenya, Africa and said, "I left my heart in Africa!" 

Somehow, Glenn's heart moved towards Africa.  In 2005 we began praying about which country the Lord wanted us in: Uganda or Kenya.  Our son Nick, 10 years old at the time, said,  "I think the Lord is saying that it's on the border of Uganda and Kenya, but on the Kenya side." 

A completed "alfombra" or carpet
A few months later, in 2005, I received an email from one of the pastors in Kenya named Sabastian whom I had met on my missions trip.  I had preached at his church and had really connected with him and his wife.  He said that he had had others from the states who wanted to work with him but he had said no.  He had had a vision of the ones who were supposed to come and that they would have sound doctrine.  He believed we were the ones and he invited us to come start a Bible school in his home town.

Since I had only been to one of his church's in the city of Kisumu, I asked him where his home town was.  His reply: "On the border of Uganda and Kenya on the Kenya side."  Wow!  That sounded like confirmation to me!  So, the next summer, Glenn and I went together to Sabastian's home town to scout out the land and to see if this is where we were supposed to be.  We did a lot of teaching and getting people baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  It was an awesome trip!  It was a big "YES!"

So, we started raising money.  We ended up sending all of the money received over to Kenya for the support of Sabastian and his family.  It seemed directed from the Lord.  We had them move into the house that we were holding for our family and paid rent for them for 2 years and then we helped him build his house.  Altogether, we've sent around $16,000 or more over there.  The house is not complete but they live in it and we hope to have it completed by a team in the next few years or so.

Glenn kept going to Kenya the next few years.  I had gone in 2005; we both went in 2006; Glenn went with other teams in 2007 and 2008.  All were incredible times!

Missionary kids performing a street drama during Semana Santa
But we never had enough to move there.  So, we just kept sowing it there.  We waited and waited year after year, knowing that we were called to the mission field, knowing that we'd be there some day, but not knowing when or how.  But we talked like we were going, acted like we were going because we knew we were.  We knew it.  
A processional during holy week

Missionary kids performing a street drama during Semana Santa
One very interesting fact is that God began to deposit in our hearts to WAIT for our church to send us.  I had been checking out YWAM and was in communication with several bases all over the world.  But Glenn was very firm that we were to wait for our church to send us so that we could be an extension of our church.  He believed that ministries should have their roots in a church and soon, this desire was also rooted in me.  Even if we had the money to go, we would have waited for our church to send us.  We wanted to be under their authority and to represent Jesus as we represent CFAN (Church for all Nations).  And we believed that the best way to do ministry was to be an extension of a church--that ministry (including overseas missions) should flow out from the church. 

I received a couple of prophecies during our wait of 4 years.  They both came around the middle of our wait.  One said that the wait was long because God was aiming that arrow to hit the target right in the middle and that we would be amazed at how everything comes together.

The other happened while I was attending a different church for a month (thinking that maybe we were at the wrong church because "nothing seemed to be happening.)  It was a very long prophecy but the gist of it was that God was asking us to do something that would "drive us crazy" and that is to wait some more.......

I had been working at James Irwin as a teacher since 2005 and while on a break one day in 2008, I decided to email our pastor and let him know that Glenn was in Africa again.  We had met on and off with Pastor Mark and so he knew our desire to go the the mission field.  His reply was ecstatic!  He wanted us to meet with him as soon as Glenn got back to hear all about it!  We were excited!

Beautiful government building in Antigua
Erika performing a street drama at about 3:30 am
La Merced, a beautiful Catholic church in Antigua
So we met with Pastor Mark and plans for our future on the mission field started to form slowly.  By 2009, Pastor Mark had asked us to go to Guatemala first to do an internship with an orphanage there founded by a family in our church.  He said to pray about it, but we didn't even have to talk to each other because God had so firmly planted in us that we were to be under the authority of our church.  We said a big loud YES right away.

So, off to Guatemala we went with 4 out of 5 of our kids, March of 2010.  This is the first time we weren't all together as a family unit.  We left our oldest behind to finish the last few months of high school and to start college at John Brown University in Arkansas.

Guatemala proved to be an awesome experience for us.  Glenn interned at the orphanage, the kids and I helped when there were teams, and we made a lot of GREAT missionary friends.  We grew in our marriage, as a family, and individually.  What an incredible experience.  (And no, we don't speak Spanish all that well still--Glenn does pretty good though!)

Ingrid, a sweet girl from Casa  Angelina
So now the internship is completed. We really expected to be there for 3 or 4 years but God began opening doors for us in Uganda through Pastor Mark's relationship with a missionary over there named Mike Croslow.  Before our internship was up, we knew that we were going to Uganda!

This is the painting I bought to remind me of Antigua
Someone may ask, "But I thought God said Kenya to you."  Yes, but we will get there or work there in His timing not ours.  Sabastian, the Kenyan pastor, is waiting patiently and God has been telling him all along that the process that we are going through to get to Kenya is all HIM, and so Sabastian is very satisfied and happy about where we are going.  In fact, he and his pastors started praying fervently that we would come to Africa before we knew that that was our next assignment.  When he found out we were coming to Uganda, he went there and prayed over Uganda and God gave him more encouragement on our behalf.  We plan to leave by September of this year, 2011.

So, whatever God has told you about your future, keep it before your eyes.  Daily thank God that it's going to happen.  Even better, spend time praising and worshiping Him and then speak those promises into the glory.  In the glory there is acceleration.  The glory is His presence.  It's all of who God is made tangible.  His glory is incredible and I am called to release it all over the world.

A widow's house was built for one of these ladies by a visiting team
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Saying good-bye to our neighbors right before leaving Guatemala


Our tienda (store) owner neighbors (outside our neighborhood).  The girl, Natalie, made me the purse.

A high school where the missionary kids ministered by drama