“Praying for a family to go with us…”
If we were to boil our call to missions down to a moment, it would be over dinner at Gull Lake Family camp on August 6th, 2014, when recent acquaintances of ours spoke these words.
Our call to missions was not a dramatic ‘Damascus road’ type event, but has been a gradual process of sanctification as God has moved our hearts and revealed/convicted us of idols in our hearts over the course of several years. However, after praying specifically for God to use us however He saw fit in the weeks leading up to our annual family vacation at Gull Lake Family camp, we found ourselves sitting next to Jake and Sara Tibbe for dinner. Also joining us at this table were our dear friends Jay and Christa Webber and a another family that we recently met that was involved in foster-care ministry.
Over the previous year we also had become licensed as a foster care family and had been involved with the care of a couple young children. So, in that moment, our interests were piqued and primed to hear insights/encouragement from another family involved in foster care thinking God may be wanting us to continue in that ministry.
At the 2011 National Desiring God conference, Jake and Sara Tibbe were in attendance, and at the conclusion of John Piper’s message, he gave an invitation to everyone there to stand if you felt called to vocational (long-term), cross-cultural missions. Jake and Sara both stood independently of one another at the conclusion of the message. Prior to this point, they were missions-minded, as evidenced by being present at that conference, and by both having been on several short-term missions trips to Mozambique, India, and Thailand. They had planned to raise their kids, retire early, and then serve as missionaries in the third-act of their life. But God saw fit to put it in their hearts at this conference to go now and to include their kids in declaring God’s glory to the nations.
Following the conference, they met with their missions pastor at their local church and began taking steps to obey their calling. After much prayer, several conversations, and meetings, they identified TEAM as their missions sending agency and then spent 14 months earnestly seeking God on where He was calling them. God spoke to them through Isaiah 42:12, (Let them give glory to the Lord, and proclaim his praise in the islands NIV), and through their young son, who, without prompting, told them that he thought God wanted them to go to Indonesia.
God proved Himself faithful and answered their prayers and guided them to TEAM and Indonesia. The Tibbe’s conviction to follow God in vocational missions included their children. The Tibbes desired to be in community and for their kids to also experience this Christian community on the missions field. So as they continued to walk through the process of applying with TEAM and moving toward Indonesia, they began to pray to that end. This mindset of prayer made it natural for them to share their hearts with us when we sat down together for dinner last summer at Gull Lake and to also mention their current prayer …’for a family to go with us.’