Who we are:
Paul, Ellen, Sam (12), Hazen (10), Noah (8), and Emmanuella Ama (3) Swenson. We are a family that is from northeastern Vermont and the Grace Brethren Church of Irasburg. I grew up in a Christian home and was saved at a very young age. Throughout my time growing up God used many different people and circumstances to cause growth in my faith. Ellen also grew up in a Christian home and was saved at a young age. She grew much and was encouraged through members of her family. One particular experience that challenged Ellen’s heart toward missions was going on a short term mission’s trip to Poland when she was in high school. Ellen and I met while we were in high school and both went off to Cedarville University where we were continually challenged by the daily chapel messages and the teaching of our professors. Following graduation we were married and moved to New Hampshire for our first full-time jobs, teaching in a Christian high school. After one year of teaching we moved back to Vermont to start our family. We became very involved in the church in Irasburg and spent much time working with the youth in the church. One of the things that we did while leading the youth was to help lead a short term trip to Bloomberg, Germany. God also blessed us with the desire to adopt a daughter from overseas and after two years of going through the paperwork and waiting we were able to bring Emmanuella Ama home from Ghana in November of 2013.
The burden that God has given to us:
Growing up I had heard the testimonies of many different missionaries, but God had never put the desire on my heart to serve Him in that way. Even as an adult I understood the importance of the work of missionaries, but really felt that I was serving God where I was supposed to and wasn’t really willing to give much thought to serving God in a different way. Ellen has had the desire to be involved in missions since her trip to Poland. Over the past few years God had created a burden for us to do all that we could to help support our friends Craig and Sara Noyes. We wanted to help them in their desire to see a church planted in an area of the world where there is no access to God’s Word. It was while we were waiting for our adoption referral that Ellen asked me to pray about us possibly being teammates of Craig and Sara’s. At first I didn’t really want to think about that and really didn’t have my heart into praying for that. Slowly God began to work on me so that I began to pray and seriously consider being part of their church planting team. It was early in 2013 that we made the decision to go to Pennsylvania for a week long New Tribe Missions exposure course called Wayumi. For me the week that our family spent at Wayumi was very challenging. I really began to think seriously about the need that there is for many in the world today to hear the Gospel in their native (heart) language.
Some statistics that really hit me hard during the week at Wayumi:
– About 1/3 of the languages in the world today (2,100 or so) do not have any part of the Bible and there are about another 2,000 languages with translations in progress.
– There are more than 450 complete or partial translations of the English Bible and yet much of the world today doesn’t have one!
The beginning of the journey:
After leaving Wayumi and continuing to pray we decided in September of 2013 to pre-apply to NTM’s missionary training center in Missouri with the expectation that we would go there in the fall of 2014. All the while we were still waiting to go back to Ghana to pick up our adopted daughter. It was not until we were able to bring Emmanuella home in November of 2013 that NTM was really able to move forward with our request to apply. After months of waiting for information from NTM as to whether it would be possible for us to go to MTC in Missouri or not the answer finally came down that we would not be able to attend MTC in Missouri in 2014 but would have to wait until 2015. God however did open the door for us to go to the MTC in Ontario, Canada this fall and seemingly by His grace the training center there in Canada may be better overall for our family than Missouri would have been. We are planning to move to Ontario sometime around August 20th as classes begin on August 26th.
– Prayer requests:
o For our transition to the training center in Ontario.
o For the transition of our children to a new school and a new environment.
o For the continued adjustment of Emmanuella to our family.
o For the building of the church planting team. Specifically that God would work out the details for us to one day be with the Noyes family and that God would raise up another member for the team.
o For wisdom to know what area of the world and what specific group of people God would have us serve in.
o For us as we begin to build a base of prayer supporters and also financial supporters. The immediate cost of living expense for us while we will be at the training center is $48,000 per year.
If God would lay it on your heart to support us financially, support can be sent to:
Swenson Tribe – Newfields
C/O Grace Brethren Church
PO Box 41
Coventry, VT 05825