In early June, a family from Redeemer (for security reasons, let’s call them the “Doe’s”) will be moving to South East Asia.
John and Jane Doe each grew up in large families who knew Jesus, and they were taught to follow Christ in their everyday lives. They had been introduced to the idea of missions growing up, but they never saw it as something to seriously consider. For John, he understood it as something that only happened in ancient Church history. “I grew up reading missionary biographies, but it was always these things that happened 100 years ago, or 150 years ago, so it was never something that was actually going on right now. I never realized that there was so much work left to be done.” Jane also read missionary biographies, but she saw missionaries as super Christians. “At the time I thought, ‘That’s so cool I want to do it. But that’s always somebody else, that’s always somebody special that does that, and I’m not special.’”
In 2009, they moved to the Lubbock-area and started a vineyard. They started attending Redeemer around the same time, and that would prove to be a turning point in their relationship with God. The authentic understanding of grace that came through a consistent presentation of the Gospel began to shape how they viewed the world and their place in it.
The couple took Perspectives (an annual class intended to teach people about the worldwide Christian movement) and it sparked their desire to be involved in missions; so they began to take little steps in that direction. They started by helping with Perspectives, and a short time later they began co-leading an Advocacy Team with the purpose of supporting missionaries. As leaders of an A-team, they were encouraged to go and visit a missions team in Asia to get some personal experience with what they were doing; and they jumped at the chance.
The experience in Asia exposed the Doe’s to a real-life example of how they could be actively living their life on mission across cultures. “The weight of it really sank into me, right in the metro, just jam-packed with people thinking, ‘Man, I’m probably the only Christian here right now.’” After seeing a family similar to theirs living not too differently than they did back home, their misconceptions were shattered. The small fire for missions was ignited.
Once they got back to the U.S., they really wrestled with the desire to be overseas and what they thought at the time to be “most logical”: using their business to allow them to help send and support missionaries. They decided to follow this option, so they stayed home to be senders.
However, it wasn’t long before they started to feel discontent with this decision. They still felt a passion to let the Lord use them overseas.
One night while at the Stringers’ home, John and Jane entered separate conversations with Spencer and Veronica that led to the question they were each struggling with: “How do we find contentment in staying?” The couple learned that this discontentment was not normal–that most people who decide to stay are at peace with the decision–and it was like a switch was flipped for them.
John and Jane signed up for the Missionary Training Program to begin the process of going overseas as missionaries. They began investing in the lives of international students in Lubbock and those around them. Their gatherings that started with just two students have since grown to as many as twenty. They have and continue to invest in these students’ lives, just like they intend to do with students in Southeast Asia. “We just get to go overseas and do what we’ve been doing here, over there.”
They’ve recently been getting to know people at Redeemer in hopes of sharing their story with as many people as possible. “We want to know as many people from Redeemer as possible, so when we launch out and Dusty hops up on stage on a Sunday morning and says, ‘Hey, this family is headed overseas’, people can be specifically praying for us.”
Leveraging their business background for the glory of God, they plan to open a coffee shop as an entry-point into the lives of people in the community. They’ll also be helping with the launch team in Southeast Asia, dealing with culture and language-shock for incoming missionaries, and teaching them how to run a small business.
“What we’ve been doing here, and feel called to do there, is equipping and mobilizing others. So that’s what we’re kind of doing here, and it’s a natural fit stepping into a role like that overseas.”