It is so exciting, and kind of strange to finally be able to finally say this!
We are officially members of Ethnos360! After 6 years of working and training we have finally made it!
Before I talk about what our future holds I want to take a minute to look back, to just pause for a moment and see all that God has done in our lives in our journey with him so far.
I was born on April 17 1992… just kidding, I won’t bore you with going that far back but lets go back to 2010. I had just graduated high school and gone on a two-month missions trip to Kenya. Now don’t get too high of a view of me, it was a parent-mandated missions trip but my sense of adventure didn’t allow me to go on a small week long missions trip. I decided what I needed to do was go on a two-month missions trip so at the end of August 2010 I did just that, I flew out of Vancouver airport all by myself to the wilds of Kenya.
It was an eye opening experience, but I really struggled. I went in a naive, sheltered little 18 year old and I was overwhelmed by the need and how inadequate I was for it. Instead of pushing me towards missions I was pushed away from the idea of it. I came home two months later with the very strong view that I would “never be involved in missions.”
While I was going to Kenya my future husband was in his second year of college and had transferred to University of Iowa to get his linguistics degree. He was already well on his way to be a Bible translator with Wycliffe and felt very certain that he would be on the field soon after graduating, a path he had chosen from the age of 15.
It wasn’t until April 2012 when Lucas took a Perspectives course that changed his view of what his involvement in missions should look like. An Ethnos360 representative named Brad Buser told him that what he was interested in doing in missions (live with the people, learn their language and culture and then translate and teach the Bible) lined up perfectly with what Ethnos360 did. So instead of being on the field six months to a year after he graduated college Lucas graduated with his bachelor’s six months early and was accepted to Ethnos360 Bible Institute in Jackson for Fall 2012.
I went to Jackson on much less auspicious terms; after coming back from Kenya with no further direction with what I wanted to do with my life I decided to just work for a year or so, live at home and just make a ton of money so I could afford to go to University and not be deeply in debt. That was the toughest year and a half of my life personally. I didn’t know where I belonged, I felt aimless and my job was incredibly stressful. I was not in a great place spiritually. In May 2012 I finally got to a place where I knew that I either needed to get somewhere where I would be surrounded by people and learning what would get me out of this rut or I would end up going down a path I would deeply regret.
Thus, Bible college. Like I had mentioned earlier I had no intention or interest in going into missions and I knew that Ethnos360 Bible Institute heavily emphasized that, but I was going to stay strong and come out of my time there (which was originally only supposed to be a semester) as much anti-missions as when I had gone in.
Obviously that didn’t work. Funnily enough it was also through Perspectives that God changed my thinking – that and constantly being around teachers and peers who were super passionate about missions. I was led to see the need in the world for people to hear the gospel and I found myself without excuse. I remember thinking that I couldn’t justify not going, not being apart of God’s plan for all people to be reached. It just made sense.
It was really that simple for me. There was no grand sign in the sky, no emotional moment, it just made sense and that’s all I needed in order to make this life-altering decision.
Bible college was also where Lucas and I met and fell in love. After we graduated we got married June 21st! It was quite the whirlwind with finishing college and planning a wedding. We had a quaint little wedding in a friend’s garden. It was simple and intimate and amazing!
The next two years we lived in Lucas’ home state of Iowa and were involved in his church, working and getting used to being married! This was a fun time of being young, in love, newly married and eating way too much take out.
March 2016 we were accepted to go to the Missionary Training Center with Ethnos360 and we moved that August! It felt so exciting to feel like we were moving forward in our training to be church-planters!
Those two years were the best of times and the worst of times! We went through some tough growth and learned so, so much about ourselves as a couple and individually. And became parents to the cutest kid in the world!
Our second to last semester we decided on our field of choice: Colombia! We were so excited but God had other plans. Over our two years there, and even before, God had been putting little hints in our lives about stateside needs. We would often talk about how great the needs were and how few people seemed to be filling those needs. Through some friends and faculty Lucas’ interest was peaked and he brought it up to me “What if we did stateside?” but I brushed it aside. No, no way were we doing stateside, there was so much need, but for other people, not for us. We were going overseas. Then we had a couple days of a class that focused on stateside and Lucas and I both started getting really excited! We needed to talk to people about the needs, there is so much that can be done stateside, but it was still for other people, not for us. We had always planned overseas, we had a country picked for heavens sake and as usual I stubbornly ignored God’s hints.
In February 2018 we had a friend come down from Jackson and he talked about how much need there was at the Bible school and that was what did it. We finally, two months before graduation, started talking seriously about stateside. Was this what God had for us, after all our planning, all our dreaming, we were to work in Jackson!? It was an incredibly hard decision but the right one – not one I could have made for myself – and I am so glad we serve a God who works in our lives despite ourselves.
We officially got the invitation to join Jackson doing mobilization the week we graduated! It was quite the journey God had put us on but all so so worth it!
Now for the future, full of so many unknowns. It’s scary and exciting and I can’t wait to hold the hand of such an amazing, gracious God through whatever he has for us!