Attended ABWE Candidate Class
Departed for language school
Arrived in Togo, West Africa
Celebrated the independence of Tsiko church
Transferred to ABWE North America
Church plant starts in Columbus, OH
Michele joins International Healthcare Ministries
John begins work with ABWE's training division
Michele completes Master of Science in Nursing - Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
Michele completes Doctor of Nursing Practice - Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)
PhDin Intercultural Studies to train national pastors
CANDIDATE CLASS: 1983
COUNTRY SERVED IN: Togo, United States, and the International Headquarters
Q: How did God first call you to missions?
J&M: Both of our families centered our lives around church, and during our junior high school years, we both attended Bethany Baptist Camp in Mayville, New York. It was at this camp, at separate times, that the Lord placed a burden on us to serve as missionaries. We both entered nursing school upon graduation and began preparing for a career as medical missionaries. We were married five days after graduating from nursing school.
Q:What moment had the biggest impact on your ministry?
J&M: We’ve seen God work through people and events in remarkable ways. One example is when we purchased a five-acre piece of property in 2002 for our new church plant in Columbus, Ohio.
We made an offer on a piece of property for a new church building, and it was accepted. But then we were given 10 days to pay the $29,000 down-payment and we only had one Sunday to raise the funds.
Twenty-four of our 27 members gave $54,000 the Sunday we took an offering. It was wonderful to see the Lord provide this way, but we now faced a new problem: we owed $213,000 on the new property, and we had very few resources.
We began to pray as a church that the Lord would continue to show Himself mightily, and the following week we received a phone call from a local builder. He had been given a residential lot in a new development that he had been trying to sell for two years. He didn’t want to pay taxes on it anymore and wanted to give the deed to the church. We accepted it, and sold the lot in a week for $140,000.
The next week, John and the church leadership prayed for the Lord to provide the funds to pay off the remainder of the debt. Just as they finished praying, the phone rang. The caller introduced himself as a local businessman who heard that the church had recently purchased some property. He had just sold one of his businesses and wanted to give some money to the church.
He didn’t know how much money the church owed when he stated that a check in the amount of $83,000 was at the bank, addressed to the church.
It was the exact amount the church needed to pay off the remainder of the debt.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the field?
J&M: Our three children were involved in the weekly Bible studies Michele led in the hospital family center in Togo. We watched them grow spiritually through that, and John was able to baptize each of them in the African church plant where we served.
Q: What is the best part of being a missionary?
J&M: The best part of being a missionary is the adventure of faith.
It is a privilege to be used by God to transform people’s lives and participate in the building of His church.
Q: What advice would you give to a new missionary or someone considering missions?
J&M: Stepping outside of one’s culture, comfort zone, and support systems creates a unique opportunity to experience God’s grace and provision, and we are instructed in scripture to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Lord often places you in circumstances where you don’t know where you are going, with very few resources to get there—even if you know the destination (Hebrews 11:8). This can create a test of faith and cause you to question your call to ministry, especially if you sense that you have failed. But God uses failure to accomplish great things for His glory: Remain faithful, be flexible, and don’t give up.
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