Monday, July 27, 2015

New Teammates

A couple of weeks ago, we attended TEAM's missionary orientation. One of the blessings was connecting with others who either have served in Southern Africa or are about to begin. During one of the sessions, an older gentleman who, with his wife, have been serving in Southern Africa for six years told us that the Southern Africa field had decreased greatly over the last decade or two. There just had not been any new missionaries coming. They, along with others still there, have been praying for a long time for the Lord to raise up workers for Southern Africa. Looking at each of us, seven new missionaries eager to go, he said that we were an answer to prayer. How incredible to see the Lord at work! Here is a picture that we were able to get together. 

(From left to right: Brett & Kara Richstone, Hillary Reneau, Jessica & Stephen Langley, and us)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

FAQs: The Basics

So we know that there a quite a few questions floating out there about our family's plans to move to South Africa in the next year or two. Here are some of the short answers, and feel free to keep asking! We love to talk about what God is doing in our lives.

1. What will you be doing in South Africa? Enjoying an extended vacation! Actually, we will be working with Union Bible Institute to train future Christian leaders in South Africa. Ben will focus primarily on teaching Hebrew and other Old Testament courses. For Beth, there are numerous exciting opportunities, such as helping at a nearby orphanage, discipling women on campus, and potentially teaching in the future.

2. Why are we moving to South Africa? During our undergraduate studies at Moody Bible Institute, we found that we both had a desire to serve the Lord in a cross-cultural setting. The Lord had been working in our hearts since high school by giving us a passion for the Bible and for people around the world. Since graduating and getting married, we have continually been preparing for this type of service and are excited to move on to this next step. When we began to look at opportunities to serve the Lord overseas, we knew that we wanted to be involved in a ministry that utilized our gifts of teaching and discipleship. South Africa was one option that jumped out at us and, after our visit in January, the Lord has continued to affirm that this is the right direction for us.

3. Isn't it dangerous? This is a difficult and significant question. Yes, there are dangerous aspects about living in South Africa. However, from our perspective, there are also dangerous elements about life in the United States. We have a firm conviction that God is the giver and sustainer of life, and that he holds us in the palm of his hand. We believe that he has ordained the days of our birth and the day of our death. For us, safety is not THE most important priority, but rather to be faithfully following the Lord wherever he leads us, and trusting him with the rest.

4. Who are we going with? We are thankful to be partnering with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission), a missions organization that has been sending missionaries all over the world for 125 years. Working with an organization like TEAM provides support for our family in a number of ways, and encourages accountability. You can learn more about TEAM here.

5. How will you be paid? This is a good question. As missionaries, we will be prayerfully and financially supported by local churches and fellow Christians. Just like a local pastor is supported by a congregation, so too missionaries are funded by the greater body of Christ. We know it's a strange concept to not be paid a regular salary; however, many Bible colleges around the world are not yet capable of being self-sustaining, and are in great need of support.

6. What motivates you to do all of this? The love of Jesus! We recognize that, despite our best efforts, we are still selfish and sinful to the core, and that nothing in this life will give our lives the meaning we desperately seek. God is our loving Father, and sent his own Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life we never could and die the death that our sinfulness deserves. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus provided access for all humanity to have a meaningful relationship with God, and we have great hope for this life and the next. This is the passion of our hearts, to share the good news of God's love for humanity with people, and teach them to follow him passionately.

We hope these short answers help clarify some of your questions! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

An Exciting Update!

This past week, we've had some big news. 

We mentioned last fall that we were exploring opportunities for our family to work in South Africa and Namibia. In January, we (Ben, Beth & Stella) had the amazing opportunity to take a trip and see both Bible colleges, meet lots of people, and see for ourselves a little of what life would look like in both locations. 

There were many sweet blessings about our trip, but one of them was unexpected: an appreciation for TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) and desire to partner with this organization as we pursue what the Lord has for our family. Upon return, we began the rigorous application process to formally become missionaries with TEAM.

After months of prayer and many conversations, we felt that the opportunity to work at Union Bible Institute in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa was the best fit for our family and have been looking that direction since.

Last Thursday, we heard that we were formally accepted by TEAM to serve as long-term missionaries in South Africa. As many of you know, we have been looking toward serving the Lord overseas for many years and are so excited that our desire is finally becoming a reality. 

At this point, our next step is to attend a TEAM missionary orientation in July before beginning the support-raising process. We are thankful for your continued prayers and interest in how the Lord is directing us!


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