Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Things are changing and I think it is for the good! In September of last year I (Justin) went to Texas for a weekend of meetings with the e3 Partners Sudan team. My supervisor told me then that our family might not be able to go to Southern Sudan as e3 missionaries. E3 Partners does not have many long-term field missionaries, their strategy is based on short-term trips. We were approved to go long-term, but that changed when we had a baby. A family with children required more organizational support than e3 felt they could provide, so they asked us to either move to short-term missions like the rest of them or find a new organization that would send us to Sudan.
There’s something incredibly humbling and slightly discouraging about calling one organization after another and hearing them say no, but through the process God gave us so many “without a doubt” confirmations that we were still doing what He had called us to, and He just wanted us to trust Him.
When I was in Sudan in December, I met some people who suggested that we contact Pioneers. I had never heard of Pioneers, but a few days later we were denied by another organization that didn’t want to start work in Southern Sudan, so I called them. The issue with many of the organizations was that we were going as a family, with a young child, to such a remote place. I explained that to the people at Pioneers and they asked us to apply anyways. Well, two weeks ago we went to Orlando for orientation and final interviews, and at the end of that week they appointed us.
God is so awesome. We contacted Pioneers because we just wanted an organization that would let us go, but the more we talk to people and learn about the organization, the more we realize that Pioneers is a perfect fit for us. God had it all worked out already. The process was long and sometimes discouraging, but God has called us, He is in control, and He is good so we can trust Him.
Not much has changed with the actual ministry that we’re going to do. We’re still going to Southern Sudan, still planning to start churches and disciple national leaders to lead self-supporting and reproducing national churches. We now get to do all of that with an agency who has the support and help that our family will need.