A Conversation with New Missionaries
By Kathi Sellers
Global Missions is thrilled to have seven new missionary families. Nate Edwards will go to Kenya and serve as a counselor at Rift Valley Academy, where several Global Missions missionary kids have received their education. He will also serve missionary kids and their families in Africa through member care. Daniel and Christy Kihm will live in the Netherlands and will the Three Worlds region in training leaders and serving the church. Zach and Audrey Langford have already served for eighteen months with the Church of God in Birkenhead, England. They will be returning to serve the church with a specific assignment to minister to the youth and help with member care for missionary kids in the Three Worlds region. Scott and Anjie Martin serve at Mountainview International School as principal (Scott) and in IT, drama, and music (Anjie) with their son, Domenic. They will also be involved in assignments across Asia assisting the Church of God in areas of their educational expertise. Tom and Jean McCracken had a long missionary career in Brazil and retired in 2006. They are returning for a second short-term assignment, training pastors and leaders at the Boa Terra Theological Institute in Brazil. Bobby and Jenny Mihsill will go to Côte d’Ivoire to join a team with Larry and LeAnn Sellers training leaders and working in projects to strengthen the church. Tim and Josie Vickey will serve for nine months in Malawi while Tammie Tregellas is on home assignment. They will help with construction of the ministry center and training of pastors and leaders.
The first task of these new missionaries is to raise one hundred percent of their start up budgets (training, travel and shipping, furnishing expense, language acquisition, auto purchase and itineration expenses) and receive one hundred percent of pledges for their Living Link support (monthly salary and benefits, children’s tuition, housing, auto maintenance, office, and more). It is a great opportunity to build a supportive network and involve the church in the global mandate of world evangelism and discipleship, but it is also a tremendous personal challenge. We asked some of our missionaries three questions about the process of new missionary service to give you insight into who they are and what it is like to be a new missionary-elect.
As you think about your new assignment, what are the things that energize you and challenge you about this mission opportunity?
Zach Langford is looking forward to continued relationships and “to simply be there as God instructs and directs the church… it’s very humbling.”
Jenny and Bobby Mihsill are excited that “the areas of ministry in which we will be serving in Côte d’Ivoire are areas about which we are very passionate.”
Nate Edwards is excited to be returning to Africa and specifically Kenya, where he was born. He is looking forward to working with third-culture kids (kids who live outside their passport country during their developmental years) as a counselor.
Daniel and Christy Kihm are looking forward to encouraging multiple congregations while living in the Netherlands. They love that their daughter, Sofie Rose, will grow up bilingual.
Scott and Anjie Martin are excited about Church of God assignments in the Asia–Pacific region, such as assisting with English camps where they can use their educational expertise.
Nearly all of the new missionaries mentioned that fundraising and being able to communicate in such a way that churches and individuals want to partner with the new missionaries is a challenge. Audrey Langford explained: “It is difficult to explain a calling from God to a region people think of as ‘Christian.’ The reality of England being the most secular country in the United Kingdom, with ten churches closing daily is not the first thing people perceive when we voice our calling.”
Learning a new language and culture were also mentioned by several missionaries. Leaving family is always difficult, especially when they are not believers and do not understand why you would go abroad to serve the Lord.
What does it mean to you to know people are praying for you as you begin your missionary assignment?
Martins: “It is so dramatic to feel the impact of the powerful prayers of people around the world. Going into each challenge with the force of that support is simply awesome. It seems every day we face situations we can’t possibly do under our own power.”
Kihms: “The whole process for us has been a God thing! We wouldn’t be at this point in the journey without prayer and covet continued prayer as we raise support and prepare for the transition process.”
Mihsills: “It is encouraging to know that the family of God is lifting us up in prayer. We already have experienced, and trust we will continue to experience, the effects of prayer on our lives and ministry.”
Edwards: “This honestly means a great deal to me. It helps me know that I am not alone in this endeavor and that I have support in a variety of different ways. It is also great because it reminds me that God is on my side as I go forward.”
Langfords: “In those moments when we are tired and beat from traveling, speaking, selling our ideas, it is a humbling comfort to know someone is submitting to this service [of prayer].”
What is one thing you love about the people and place where you will be serving?
Nate Edwards explains he loves working with third-culture kids because they have an amazing range of experiences and versatility that offers great potential and possibilities.
The Mihsills love that “serving alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ in Côte d’Ivoire will give us the opportunity to learn from them.”
The Kihms love the diversity of culture and connecting with the church in the Netherlands and other congregations in the region.
If you or your church would like to support one or more of the new missionaries-elect, please contact Debbie Taylor at DTaylor@chog.org or call 800 848-2464, ext. 2129.
Kathi Sellers and her husband Wayne served for sixteen years as Church of God missionaries in Costa Rica. She currently works for Global Missions of Church of God Ministries in the area of missionary recruitment and member care.