As humans, most of us don’t like change; it is hard to face. Even though we have faced many changes this year, we recognize the things that have remained the same: 1) our desire to serve the Lord, 2) our vision of reaching the unreached for Christ, 3) continuing with New Tribes Mission (NTM), and 4) our need for a support team. In light of these constants in a sea of change, we are excited about our future and the possibilities God has for us!
“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)
As we sensed the Lord leading us to leave Brazil, we were praying about the new ministry to which He would lead us; our desire to serve Him has not faded. It was difficult to wrap our minds around the thought of leaving the country where we had served the Lord for over 20 years, but God confirmed our new direction in many ways.
With much prayer and consideration, we are confident that the Lord is directing us to work with the MK (missionary kid) Education Center, based here on the campus of the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for NTM, where we now live. This being our home area with our sending church and some family living here, we are very grateful to settle in this location.
Although neither of us has formal training in education, we have 13 years of experience working with MKs at the school in Brazil. Our earlier years of experience in the tribal setting will also be beneficial to our new ministry as we have contact with the missionary candidates who are preparing to take the Gospel to indigenous groups all over the world. We are thrilled at the prospect of being involved here because, rather than serve missionary families in just Brazil, our lives will have a global impact! We count it a privilege to have a part in the task of world evangelism, and hope to spend the next 20 years still involved in reaching the unreached for Christ!
“I am excited about John & Melanie Kerstetter joining the NTM MK Education Center staff next year. Their extensive field experience, personal and ministry gifts, and hearts for supporting NTM families in cross-cultural ministry through MK care and education are an excellent fit for our team at the Missionary Training Center. It will be great having them join us.” -Britt Hemphill (NTM MK Education Center Coordinator)
The MK Education Center is a part of NTM’s MK Care & Education Department, whose primary purpose is to provide support for missionary families worldwide in the care and education of their children. Among its many responsibilities, the department assists in the areas of learning differences, home schooling, and shepherding MKs. It also helps prepare missionary candidates at the Training Center through teaching some courses like Child Protection and Parenting & Education, and provides information for what parents need in planning for their children’s educational needs—both here and when they go overseas.
Due to some major staff changes in the Department this past year, we don’t know yet specifically what we’ll be doing in our day-to-day tasks, but we are trusting the Lord to fit in beginning August 2012. However, our acceptance to this new ministry is unofficial at this point because of our support level. The MTC leadership requests that we raise our level of support to at least 60% of the recommended amount. During our years of service in Brazil we received less than half of the mission’s recommended level of support for our family for Brazil. With the move from Brazil to the States, we have already lost some regular support and our current support level figures out to be about 42%. We believe the Lord is leading us to this new ministry, so we are confident that He will, in His way and time, raise our financial support to meet this requirement.
“Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass.” (I Thessalonians 5:24)
We recognize the fact that we could not have continued in our ministry all these years without a team of partners like you. There are many who have faithfully prayed for us, others who have sacrificially given, and some who have expressed care and encouragement, especially during difficulties and stressful times we have experienced. During the time leading up to August we want to reconnect with current partners (who we are very thankful for!) as well as invite new partners to join our team. We plan to travel, visit, and share our vision. As we prepare please let us know if you would like us to come by and visit you.
Please pray for us during this time of transition as we settle here and develop our partnership team. Thank you for your participation in our ministry. We value you as a vital team member in reaching the world for Christ!