When I, Sean, was finishing my degree at the University of Arkansas, I had some friends, BJ and Jill Sanders, who were going to start training with New Tribes Mission with me in the Fall of 2009. They decided that they wanted to help find me a bride. BJ said to me, “Sean, there are two kinds of single guys in this world, those who are single for a season, and those who are single for a reason. You are single for a season.”
By God’s grace, BJ was right. Before the Sanders had a chance to play matchmaker, I asked Jinny out on our first date and the rest is history.
As many of you know, we had made plans to partner with a wonderful family, the Cizdziels, in Papua New Guinea to minister alongside for the next couple of decades. When we first made this decision, both families agreed that we would hold our plans in open hands. If God pulled either of us in another direction, we would be willing to let go of our plans and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
There was a particular existing work that our families were looking at when we initially arrived in PNG. After taking some time to pray about it, Jinny and I came to the conclusion that our family would not be a good fit for this location, not for any negative reason, but simply because we knew that our family would have difficulty thriving in that particular environment. Our prayers then shifted to the lone missionary in this tribe, that she would find coworkers to help her finish the work.
After the Cizdziels arrived in PNG in August, they were continually burdened for this particular tribe. After much prayer and internal struggle, they realized that the Holy Spirit was definitely leading them to join this existing work, even if that meant that our plans to partner would no longer be actualized.
When they tearfully broke the news to us, we were heartbroken, not because we felt wronged, but because we knew that our dreams of partnering with this amazing family would not come to fruition. We were feeling sad, but we remembered how we prayed for the remaining missionary in that tribe to get coworkers. God had answered our prayer, and that is a good thing. Though our families won’t be moving forward together, we are still great friends and will continue to cheer on each other for years to come.
We now find ourselves single for another season and are trusting God with our future as we prepare to head back to PNG in early 2016. Please pray with us for wisdom and direction going forward. God is faithful and answers our prayers, so we aren’t worried about what lies ahead for our family in PNG.
Thanks for your prayers and support; we couldn’t do what we do without your help.