September 10, 2013 2013 New Missionaries To Asia
EAST ASIA: Ryan and Kristen*
Kossuth Street Baptist Church in Lafayette, IN
As a teenager, Ryan had a conversation with a young boy that shaped the direction of his life. While on a missions trip to Philadelphia, Ryan pulled a 10-year-old boy aside with the goal of teaching him the gospel. Ryan made a long presentation, and when he was done, the boy rejected it. Ryan was taken aback, so he tried again. Again, the boy rejected it, saying, “I’ve heard this before and I don’t want that.” The experience stuck with Ryan and bothered him for years, but rather than being discouraged, he kept reading and exploring his faith. Slowly, he understood that God is the one who saves people, and it was his job to be obedient.
Ryan and Kristen met at church in middle school and have matured their faith and their relationship over the years. They both studied at Purdue University where they encountered different cultures and developed a love for missions and ministry. One day, Ryan came across the verse that compelled them to explore overseas ministry to unreached populations: “For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider” (Isaiah 52:15). Ryan and Kristen are committed to serving where the Lord calls them.
*Information withheld for security reasons.
THAILAND: Daniel and Katie Lamb
Whittier Hills Baptist Church in Whittier, CA | www.lambsinthailand.com
Daniel grew up in a Christian home, but became cynical of the church after he saw members of his congregation fail to live the gospel. Fortunately, he made a strong connection with his youth pastor, who also became an ABWE missionary. That relationship had a tremendous impact on Daniel’s life for Christ.
While Katie grew up with an intense desire to go to church, it was not until the seventh grade that she got the opportunity. When she finally heard the full gospel, Katie desperately wanted more. She soaked up all she could through studying the Bible and learning from her youth pastors.
During her senior year of high school, Katie attended a Christian camp where she learned of the awful fate of those who never hear the gospel.
“I thought, ‘How do I not go and tell them? How is that not my responsibility?’” said Katie. “It was obvious that I needed to do something.”
Soon after, Katie enrolled at Biola University in California as an intercultural studies major. During that time, she met Daniel and also went on a two-month trip to Thailand as part of her degree. That trip helped her develop a heart for the Thai people and confirmed her call to missions.
After they graduated, Daniel and Katie were married and pursued missions through several short-term trips. However, they kept feeling called to Thailand, and they moved to Bangkok where Daniel began teaching at an international Christian school. While there, they were introduced to two Thai church planters with ABWE. The Thai couple was alone and having trouble spreading the gospel in their region because of the powerful influence of a local witch doctor. God began tugging at their hearts to help this couple, and Daniel and Katie are eager to get started.
“We keep feeling this is where we are supposed to be,” said Daniel. “We want to be with these people who need encouragement so badly.”
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Timothy Hawes
Temple Bible Church in Elizabethtown, PA | www.disciplingpng.com
As a young boy, Timothy developed an interest in business and dreamed of financially supporting missionaries throughout the world. But God had different plans.
During high school, Timothy began to sense the Lord calling him to Bible college. He obeyed, and after graduating, Timothy found himself pursuing a seminary degree in missionary linguistics that he believed he would use as a pastor in the United States.
However, upon graduation, he still needed to complete his linguistics internship. Every door kept closing for Timothy until a short-term missions trip to Papua New Guinea surfaced. Timothy took it, and when he returned to the States, his heart was fully set on missions. Shortly after his first trip, he went back to Papua New Guinea where he discovered his calling. Timothy will be involved in church planting, Bible translation, and agricultural development through ABWE’s Goroka Baptist Bible College.
EAST ASIA: Mark and Christina*
CrossRoads Baptist Church in North Richland Hills, TX
Mark and Christina’s journey to the mission field taught them the virtue of patience and waiting for God’s timing. In high school, a youth pastor challenged Christina with the idea of being a pastor’s wife in full-time ministry. She clearly remembered the Lord tugging at her heart, saying, “That is you, Chrissy.”
But Christina had other plans.
“I said, ‘Oh no. That is not me,’” she said. “Later, when I met and married Mark, he had not yet surrendered to ministry, and I said, ‘Haha, God! I told you I was not going into ministry.’”
But within two years, Mark felt the call to ministry, and soon he began to feel led into missions. Despite her reluctance, Christina agreed to pray and be open to where God led them.
They pursued the mission field, but one week from the couple’s departure date, the door abruptly shut. They took a step back and felt God was telling them to wait. They faithfully served in local ministry until all signs seemed to be pointing them back to the field. The couple approached ABWE and soon found door after door opening to them.
“I feel really, really good about it,” Christina said. “I feel like it is finally our time.”
*Information withheld for security reasons.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Phil and Jan Smith
Bethesda Baptist Church in Brownsburg, IN | www.philandjansmithpng.com
High school sweethearts Phil and Jan both grew up in Christian homes, and Phil’s earliest childhood memories are of being in the church.
“If the doors were open, we were there,” Phil said.
As a couple, they put their faith at the center of their lives and got more involved in their church. One day, they joined a discipleship group that lit a fire in them.
“As our knowledge of the Lord grew, our love for Him grew more and more,” said Jan.
Jan became burdened with a heart for missions, and she tested the waters on short-term missions trips to Northern Ireland and Brazil. Slowly, Phil and Jan’s path to full-time missions became clear.
“When I put God’s will ahead my own, that’s when He gave me the desires of my heart,” said Jan.
SOUTH ASIA: Ragan Story
Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Waverly, TN
Shortly after starting at Liberty University, God moved in Ragan’s life. She was sitting in church listening to the announcements when she felt God telling her to go on the short-term missions trip she had been putting off and change her major to missions. Amazed and a little confused, she obeyed.
A few months later, she went on the trip, and God gave her a heart for the world. Last summer, she went on a six-week missions trip to South Asia, and she knew that’s where she was meant to be and what she wanted to do with her life.
“I’m so excited about what God has in store,” Ragan said.
THAILAND: Tim and Laura Compton
Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park, MI
When Laura gave her life to Christ after several years of self-centered living, she made a promise to never say “no” to Jesus again. That promise was severely tested after a short-term mission trip to Thailand when Laura found herself unwilling to make the emotional sacrifices missionaries must sometimes make. Through the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, God began to reveal to Laura that she was caught up in obtaining social status for her children. Laura found herself surrendering once more, and soon a passion for missions began burning in her heart.
However, she knew her husband Tim wasn’t on board with her vision. A banker by profession, Tim was convinced he lacked the skills to be a missionary. But after several conversations with missionaries and short-term mission trips to Thailand, Tim felt God telling him, “Just say yes, and I will use you.” Laura was overjoyed by his change of heart, and after a month of prayer, the couple committed to taking the next step on their journey to serve in Thailand.
Missionary Cheryl Cleveland with the Lord
Our hearts break at the sudden passing of Togo missionary Cheryl Cleveland.
Update from Jennifer DeKryger
God is at work even as Jennifer and her boys grieve the loss of an amazing husband and father
President Letter: Revealing Brokenness
President Jim O'Neill reflects on how God uses disabilities to reveal Himself
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