I grew up in a Christian home and went to the church my Grandfather pastored.
At the age of four, I started asking questions about what I was being taught in Sunday school.
My mother explained the Gospel to me and I asked Jesus into my heart on December 16th, 1999. I continued going to church and attended youth conferences and Pastor’s School at First Baptist Church of Hammond Indiana. At Pastor’s School 2009, Dr. David Gibbs preached on surrendering to Gods will regardless of where in the world and God spoke to my heart. After the service i went back to my hotel room and promised God i would give Him complete control over my life and would go wherever He showed me. The following year I attended the Our Time Youth conference at Marion Ave. Baptist Church in Washington Iowa. The church had a guest speaker named Jerry Wyatt the 3rd from Tanzania, Africa. During the message God spoke to my heart again and said, “there is where I want you to go and that’s who I want you to serve with”. Immediately after the message I talked to Bro. Wyatt what God laid upon my heart and we have continued towards that goal ever since.
My training for the mission field brought me to Hyles-Anderson College where I graduated from in 2016 and met my wife Kellie. After out wedding we took a survey trip to Tanzania and returned will even more excitement of what God will do with our life on the mission field.
The shipping container has been delivered! We are now the proud owners of a 40-foot by 9-foot beige shipping container. We purchased the container through USA Containers. We will be using a different company to ship it to Tanzania.
Kellie also purchased all of the major appliances that she wanted through 220-electronics.com. While shopping for bedroom furniture, she unexpectedly found a love seat that she fell in love with and just had to have for the living room. We are very thankful that we have the money to make these kinds of purchases. It will make our home in Tanzania feel a little bit like America.
We have had two major unexpected financial blessings these past two months! Kellie wisely started saving a little bit of our support money every month a couple of years ago. She did not want to be put in a position where we had nothing set aside for our future. We knew that between the shipping container, appliances, customs and tax fees, plane tickets, and a vehicle, our savings would be pretty much spent with not much leftover. It never crossed our minds that someone would want to help us with these expenses.
Boy, have we been surprised this month! A family member first approached us with some inheritance money that would almost cover the entire cost of the container! Talk about a blessing! Then a couple of weeks ago at church during a business meeting, the church voted on reimbursing us for the cost of the container (the little that was left over), the cost of shipping the container, and the customs and tax fees! We were both taken by surprise, but Kellie was left speechless—which doesn’t happen often—and in tears. Our church family even designated the missions giving for the month of December to us. We have both felt so loved by the generosity of our family and our sending-church family.
Our final meeting was in Holts Summit, Missouri, with Pastor Bill Dillon. We had a great time with the people of Faith Baptist Church. We spent our Sunday morning with them, and I presented and preached during the main service. Kellie spent most of her time in the Fellowship Hall watching Landon. That evening we paid a special visit to Pastor Andy Schmidt at Central Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Missouri. We wanted to thank him with a custom gift. When we started deputation in the fall of 2017, Pastor Schmidt invited us to his Missions Conference. This was our first-ever Missions Conference to be a part of.
Fast forward three years later (after 24 months of active deputation), and we have completed this phase of our lives! It was really neat to bring everything back full circle.
Landon enjoyed celebrating his first Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. We were going to spend Thanksgiving in Decatur, Illinois, with Kellie’s family, but COVID and pneumonia changed our plans. Kellie’s dad is recovering and doing much better now. The year 2019 was supposed to be our last year in America to spend with our families, or so we thought. The year 2020 has not gone according to our plans; otherwise we’d be in Tanzania by now. This past year has not been in vain though, as our families have watched Landon grow and learn these past nine months. We have no regrets there, even though it does make it that much harder to leave.
Our Exit Interview with Bro. Bosje, Bro. Snipes, and Dr. Siemer went well in November. We met the FBMI staff for lunch that day before our interview. Our visas have been submitted, and we should have an answer of approval or denial by January 11. There is a hang-up with my college transcripts, as Hyles-Anderson is not an accredited college. I had to submit some paperwork from the State of Indiana that states that HAC is a recognized institution. Pastor Wyatt did submit our visas regardless of this hang-up, and we’re praying that the Tanzanian government will grant us access to their country.
If everything goes well with the Tanzanian government, then we can buy our plane tickets and ship our container in February. It is a month later than we’d like, but we’re trusting God. He knows what month is best for us to leave. Like Jesus said in Matthew 26:42, “. . . thy will be done.”