I got to thinking the other day that there may be a few questions that you have had but never asked. So this post is for you!
Out of all of the mission organizations out there, why New Tribes?
There are three things that really drew us to New Tribes Mission (NTM). First is their intensive training. Out of all the mission organizations out there NTM has the longest training available. Chandler and I knew that before we could move overseas as missionaries that we were in great need of training. Training that would not only help us get to the field, but also help us to thrive on the field. Second, we love that NTM has a strategic methodology for language learning, teaching, training and ultimately for seeing a mature church planted. And third, we love that NTM is dedicated to the task of planting mature churches among the least reached around the world. We feel thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be a part of this great organization.
Both Chandler and I have had a love for Africa for a really long time (it’s been over 10 years since I first set foot on African soil and 8 years for Chandler). Both of us saw needs firsthand and knew we would love to spend our lives helping to meet those needs. However, when we entered into training with New Tribes in 2013 we went in with open hands, telling the Lord that we would be willing to go wherever He best saw fit for us (although we still had a strong desire to be in Africa). Through speaking with lots of missionaries, mentors, and staff at the training center and a lot of prayer and time in God’s Word, we saw God by His grace, giving us the desire of our hearts – to go back to the continent we both loved and longed to serve. So the big dilemma at that point was WHERE in Africa?!?!? New Tribes works in West Africa and Southeast Africa, so at least our choices where narrowed down a little for us. Again, through speaking with lots of missionaries, mentors and staff at the training center and a lot of prayer and time in God’s Word, God confirmed that Tanzania was a good fit for our family.
Although missionaries with other organizations have been in Tanzania for many years, believe it or not, there is still much work to be done. New Tribes is currently doing People Group Assessments (PGA) to find the tribes remaining with the greatest needs spiritually. These tribes remain least reached either due to location, religious beliefs, or a misunderstanding of the Gospel. We are so excited that we get to be a part of seeing those who are least reached become reached through the life-changing message of Christ.
What have you done to prepare for your missionary service?
Both Chandler and I had the privilege of attending Christian universities where we received sound biblical education. Part of Chandler’s college education included a year in Argentina at Word of Life. Also during our time in college we were able to travel overseas and experience life in cultures. Chandler did an internship for college in Uganda and Jamie spent almost 2 years in Uganda after college. In addition to these things, we were blessed to attend the New Tribes Missions Missionary Training Center where we spent a year and a half receiving biblical and practical training that would help us to be well equipped to go and stay on the mission field. We are so thankful for the opportunities God has given each of us both separately and together to prepare for Tanzania.
When do you leave for Tanzania?
Lord-willing, we will be leaving for Tanzania in August of 2016.
What are you doing in the meantime?
We are in the process of Partnership Development (PD) where we are meeting with individuals and churches to invite them to partner with us and be a part of what God is doing in Tanzania. This has been a challenging, yet very rewarding time. During this time we have seen God provide in amazing ways for our family. This has grown our faith and allowed us to learn about God in new ways. We have been so blessed by those who have accepted the invitation to partner with us. This is truly an honor!
How is Partnership Development going?
All things considered (like not having a permanent home for 5 months and welcoming a new baby into our family) things are going well! We began this process of PD in January with 7 monthly partners and we are excited to share that we now have 32. God is so good. For a family of 5 in Tanzania New Tribes has given us a monthly support level need of $7188. I know you are thinking, WOW! That’s a lot! We agree, it is A LOT! However, it takes a lot for a family to live (rent, food, transportation), learn (language school for us and school for our kids), do ministry, and receive benefits (medical insurance, life insurance and retirement). As of right now we have reached 34% of this goal. Again, we can’t say it enough, God is so good!
How can we be praying for your family?
-Please pray that God would continue to give us the strength to keep pressing forward and that we would always make spending time with Him priority in our lives.
-Please pray for the individuals, small groups and churches that we meet with. Pray that as they seek God that HE would make it clear if they should partner with us.
-Please pray for our children as we have a pretty crazy schedule during PD and then lots of big life transitions ahead.
-Please pray for the people of Tanzania. Pray that God would continue to grow and strengthen the existing church and that He would be at work in the hearts of those who are still waiting to hear the Gospel!
As always, thanks for going on this crazy journey with our crazy family!!!
TOGETHER Making Him Known,
Jamie (for the Sharpes)