I knew I needed to learn more about how missionaries work in the world. I enrolled in a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The class started in January of 2010. One evening a week, I went to a 3-hour class featuring guest lecturers who were missionaries in countries around the world. I heard amazing stories! Throughout the weeks, we read texts discussing the history of missionaries--starting with the first ones described in the Book of Acts. We studied what scripture says about the Great Commission--starting in Genesis. Our entire class prayed together for unreached people groups--something I had never heard of. I came home from class those evenings and Mark would ask me, "How was class?" "Who was your speaker?" "What did she/he talk about?" I couldn't even answer his questions until the next day because I was completely SPENT when I got home--both mentally and emotionally.
There were people in my class who were preparing to go out as missionaries to different countries, including Australia and Afghanistan. I knew as I completed that class that God wanted me in the field, spreading the Good News and making disciples. But, Mark wasn't on the same page, which was maddening. Fortunately, I had a wonderful mentor, Ralph Maurer, who told me something one day that gave me peace and patience. He said that I would know that God's call on my heart for missions was real IF and WHEN Mark felt the same call on his heart. God had brought Mark and I together and He wouldn't call one of us without calling the other. Since I knew that what I was hearing from God was real, I knew that it was only a matter of time until He would reveal His plans to Mark as well.
During the months that followed, we met with other missionary families and heard their stories. We asked questions. We read books that were recommended by pastors and mentors. Mark led a Hoops for Haiti team back to Pillatre in May of 2011 and we participated in a missions-focused small group at Eastview Christian Church called Twelve 3. In late 2011, I began planning a mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti. I felt strongly that God wanted the orphan trip to be sponsored by Calvary United Methodist Church--the church I was raised in. I let Him lead me through every step of planning and He raised up all 7 women who would be part of my team. We served for a week at God's Littlest Angels Orphanage near Port-au-Prince in March of 2012.
This Spring, Mark took the Perspectives class! He was able to experience all that I hadn't been able to express. I could only smile and nod as he came home from class full of stories and amazement about how God is at work around the world. I knew it was coming--the words I had been waiting to hear...
And then, one night, he said it. "Sarah, I think we have been called into the mission field." "Um. DUH!!!" I replied.
Just kidding. I actually said, "I think you're right!"
We didn't know how God wanted us to go or exactly when. We didn't know where He would send us. But, we knew we were ready and we knew God would reveal His plan for us when it was the right time.
Then, one night in May--just a few short months ago... Mark was emailing back and forth with Matt Ayars, a missionary in Haiti whom he had met. He asked Matt what sending agency he worked with in Haiti so that we could investigate and perhaps put in an application. Matt answered that it was One Mission Society... but he also wanted to know why we were asking. When Mark told him that we were feeling led into the mission field in some manner, Matt asked about our backgrounds--what skills and talents had God prepared in us? Mark filled him in... Finance, economics, and basketball for him. English, technical writing, photography and soccer for me. Matt's response was, "You may not believe this, but I've been praying for an economics/business teacher and an English teacher."
By the end of that week, we had assembled a team of 10 couples to pray for 10 days to see what God was telling them about this opportunity for our family.
So, that was in May and now it's July. In about four weeks, Mark and the kids and I are packing up and moving to Haiti. Mark will continue to run his business, Aubry Group, from Haiti, and we continue to be amazed at the positive and encouraging responses he has received from his clients. He will lead the Hoops for Haiti organization. They have a team scheduled to be in Haiti in October of this year to build another basketball court and run a camp. He will also teach finance and economics seminars at the Emmaus Biblical Seminary, where Haitian adults are prepared to go out as pastors of Christian churches in Northern Haiti. I will try to figure out how to live and get around in Haiti. I will learn Creole and help our daughters transition to a new way of life. I will likely also teach high school English at the Cowman International School, where our daughters will attend. I am excited to continue my photography endeavors in Haiti, too.
The picture of the work God has for us in Haiti is fuzzy right now, but every day He is making it clearer. We ride waves of emotions each day--from anxious to excited, from scared to sad... But, we keep our minds focused on the knowledge that God is leading us through it all and we just have to keep walking in faith through the doors He is opening.