A 2-page newsletter could not even come close to sharing with you a tiny fraction of what we have been up to this past month!
Our 3-month trip to the US started with a visit to Christ For The Nations Bible College in Dallas Texas, where we trained for ministry in 2003/04.
It was our intention to visit CFNI for a few weeks as we waited on the Lord for direction for our
next ministry assignment, spend time encouraging Alex & Tom from our previous church in the UK, who are both studying at CFNI and doing really well, eat some good old American food, attend the 3-day Voice of Healing Conference and then travel to visit friends in other parts of the States.
Well, the first part of our trip went to plan as we had an amazing reception from friends on staff and students who we had built relationship with in Israel earlier in the year and from the 2004 & 2005 UK Outreach Teams who had served with our church in Wellington as part of Mission Outreaches from CFNI.
We were privileged to be part of Alex and Amy’s Celebration as they got engaged in October and we went with them to the most amazing Brazilian Steakhouse to mark the occasion!
It has been fun to see Tom Booth on campus enjoying his first semester and he invited us to join his 19th birthday meal with friends at Red Robin restaurant. Courtney, who has been interning with our church in the UK has a brother called Spencer and he is Tom’s roommate at CFNI and he came out with us too. Tom is working in the Gym at CFNI serving students as part of his scholarship work and we are so proud that he get’s up at 5am each day, works for a few hours before going to classes and then works in the afternoon and some nights leaves straight for church to be part of the Worship Band.
We had a great opportunity to catch up briefly with Courtney Gill as she spent 3-weeks in Dallas renewing her visa to go back to the UK to serve King’s Church for another year. Courtney’s parents, Jalee & Martha met up with us too and took us out for a meal and it was great to meet with them on their home turf! They really appreciated the opportunity we facilitated for Courtney to serve in the UK and how we looked after her. It has been such a pleasure to get to know the family and we are excited for the great plans God has in store for Courtney in her future!
We had 5 star treatment as Amber Hill invited us to the top class hotel she works at in Downtown Dallas as the People and Culture Manager. She treated us to complimentary valet parking, a first for us and took us to a great restaurant in the hotel where the staff were so accommodating. Amber is doing really well and we are so proud of the amazing young lady she is continuing to develop into. She has always had style but now she is taking it to a whole new level! We have had so many opportunities to teach classes and share some of our experience in the Global Missions 3rd Year School and have really enjoyed having the opportunity to encourage the Missions students as they prepare themselves to go to the Mission Field. Part of our time at CFNI has included being called on in various classes throughout the Bible School to share our story and it has been humbling to see the level of respect these amazing students from over 50 nations have for us. God has reaffirmed our call in the past month to inspire, encourage, teach, train and equip people to take the good news of the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the Earth. This is an exciting time for us and we are blessed to have the opportunities we have been given during our time here.
Time For A New Assignment
We have been overwhelmed this month with opportunities to encourage and inspire hundreds of students in various classes at CFNI.
As we took opportunities to get to know new staff members in the 3rd Year Missions Training School, it was obvious that they were swamped with the workload of training students and helping them submit paperwork to allow them to go to Field Schools to work with missionaries in other countries in 2016. With deadlines for submission of paperwork looming, what seemed like a mammoth task, fell right in line with our experience and areas of gifting, having been through similar processes previously in the US, Zimbabwe and The UK. We were blessed to be able to give direction to staff and students and turn the situation around in just 2 weeks. The Director Dr Terry Sparks is a great guy. He is as Texan as they come and we feel as though we have known him forever! The scholarship students serving in the office are from the Philippines and Nepal and are already calling us their British parents. It has been so much fun interacting with this team of World Changers.
Before we tell you the most significant news, we must tell you about our blessing of a free car to use during our time here. We posted on Facebook that we were in Dallas for a while and asked if anyone had a vehicle we could use. Renting in Dallas is really expensive so we were blessed when friends from the UK said they had a vehicle in Dallas parked up at a family members house that we would be welcome to use for as long as we like.
It’s a really long story how this came about, but the couple who loaned us the car were interviewed to take on our jobs as pastors in the UK and didn’t get the job. We had met them to show them hospitality when they visited Wellington for their interview and bought them a cup of coffee and encouraged them. Little did we know that this cup of coffee would yield the loan of a vehicle for a few months 4,000 miles away. Don’t underestimate what showing kindness and sowing into other people’s lives will bring back to you in your future.
The Director of CFNI Dr. John Hollar, with whom we have a great relationship with, met with us during this time and asked us if we would consider coming to serve the school as staff members. He told us that the school had enough funds available for one role, but having researched options to obtain work permits we asked them to consider employing us both part-time for 20 hours per week to share the budget available. The Senior Leadership of CFNI met and offered us the roles of Assistant Director of the 3rd Year Global Missions Major and Global Missions Outreach Supervisor.
It is such an honour to be offered these positions and after much thought and prayer we decided that this is in line with what we feel God wants us to invest our lives into for the next season. Our desire to train and equip others to change the world through outreach and missions and make a difference wherever in the world they feel God is calling them, has now been taken to a whole new level as we have been given this amazing opportunity!
Paperwork! Paperwork! Paperwork!…
We have spent the past few weeks helping the Human Resources staff at CFNI to fill out the paperwork for our work permits and visa applications and collect the evidence of our qualifications and experience required to take on the roles offered. We have collated hundreds of forms and they are now ready to send off to the US Immigration Department. The original time scale quoted for the applications to gain approval was 4 – 6 months, but on further investigation we found that we could expedite the process to have a decision in 15 days if we pay an extra $2450. As the students and Missions Department can’t wait a further 6 months to have someone in this position without jeopardizing the opportunity for some to make it to the mission field, we felt that we should pay the expediting fee from our personal funds to give us the opportunity to return to the US as staff members for the start of the January 2016 term. Within 24 hours of saying we would pay this fee we had an anonymous financial gift deposited at CFNI of $1000 towards these costs! We have a return flight back to the UK in December and will need to apply for the Visa at the US Embassy in London immediately on our return, trusting that it can be processed in time for us to fly back to Dallas after Christmas, so we are praying all goes through without any delay.
How you can support us.
The salary available for our 2 part-time jobs will not cover the costs of housing, food, transport and medical insurance in the US for both of us, so we are in the process of raising support from anyone who feels God is laying on your heart to partner with us financially as we prepare to take on this mission of training and equipping 25+ international students each semester as oversees missionaries.
Please prayerfully consider how you can help us take on this vital role at CFNI.
You can support and encourage us by emailing us with your news, even if only a few sentences! Hearing from friends and family is always an encouragement and we love to support you and pray for you too!
You can support us by praying for us! Please pray that the visa applications will be approved in sufficient time for us to be able to take on these roles for the start of the Spring Term at CFNI.