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.
My boy is 1! It has been the desire of Kellie’s heart to be in the States to celebrate Landon’s first birthday, but neither one of us thought that we actually would be! We were able to have Landon’s first birthday party in Illinois with Kellie’s family and closest friends. Then on Landon’s actual birthday, March 29, we spent the evening with my family. Our little boy is so loved and can make anyone smile. He has brought so much joy to our lives!
Victory in Grace
While it’s my heart’s desire to be serving in Tanzania, we have enjoyed being able to be more involved at our sending church. We are finally able to resume some ministries that have been postponed due to COVID. I was able to pass out flyers and tracts inviting people to our church’s Easter service. Our church rents out an auditorium that is part of a homeless mission. We have been able to keep serving meals to the homeless this past year. We also have a Nursing Home Ministry, and our pastor has been doing virtual services with them. He is now able to resume in-person services, and we are thankful for that!
COVID has taken a lot of from everyone this past year, but one thing it hasn’t taken from us is our hope in Jesus Christ!
Just to recap some events, at the end of December, Pastor Wyatt submitted my work permit, and we expected to have an answer of approval, rejection, or deferral in about two weeks’ time. The two weeks came and went with no answer, so we waited and prayed. Finally, in the middle of February, we got an answer! My permit had been deferred based on my college credentials being from an unaccredited college.
Pastor Wyatt appealed on our behalf, but it was deferred again, this time based on some missing application paperwork. Pastor Wyatt had one of his assistants drive to the capital and resubmit the paperwork. As of March 30, my work permit has been rejected. This was definitely not the outcome I saw or expected. I won’t know the reason why until Pastor Wyatt knows the content of the rejection letter. Once we know, we can start the appeal process. We can appeal up to two different times.
I spoke to Pastor Wyatt and FBMI about the possibility of going to Tanzania under the 90-day tourist visa. They all agreed that it’s a good idea to head on over! Kellie and I have been throwing around the idea for a couple of weeks now. We’ll be leaving at the beginning of May; this way our time there will overlap with the Stadium Crusade in July. This will also allow me to submit my appeal in person. If it gets approved during that time frame, then my dad will ship the container over on our behalf. If not, then we either come home or head to a neighboring country for a couple of weeks and try again.
We are excited to have this opportunity and can’t wait to see how God is going to work everything out! Please be in prayer that we have a smooth transition flying over and that Landon adjusts fine.
Your missionaries to Tanzania,