Hi friends and family,
We trust you are doing well! A lot has happened in our lives in the past couple months, so we wanted to send out a quick update. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and help in getting us transitioned to New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI) in Waukesha, WI. A bit of our recent story is outlined below.
Devon and I have enjoyed 9 years of marriage, and God has blessed us with 5 great kids. We spent 3.5 years in the USMC as a supply officer in Camp Lejeune, NC, then a total of 5 years with Carpenter Company in Texas and Pennsylvania. But over the past few years, we have questioned the eternal value of what we are doing. I say this hesitantly and carefully, because we clearly do not think that staying with Carpenter is out of God's Will or that going into overseas missions is more praiseworthy than faithfully serving God stateside. But at the same time, "the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few", so simply put, we are young and healthy and just want to be a direct part of seeing unreached people groups understand the gospel in their native tongue and culture, and be able to read the Bible in their own language for the first time. This is the great commission to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. God is worthy and desirous of worship from every people group. Why overseas when there are so many needs here in the States? Because we have many translations of the Bible in our language, when around 2000 people groups have never heard the gospel and have yet to read one word of the Bible in their own language. Life is short, and we don't want to live on the sidelines of God's sovereign game plan. We feared that we were becoming too comfortable, safe and secure with the benefits of a good job, and we wanted to make sure that 60 years from now, we would not have been leaning our "ladder" up against this wall of security/comfort/safety instead of being active spectators and participants in seeing God's world vision being accomplished. Both Devon and I have been blessed to come from families who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to full-time overseas missions and we've individually had positive experiences as missionary kids, so we're certain this has to some extent whet our appetites to be involved in this capacity as well. Furthermore, we have moved around quite a bit (we're sort of geographically rootless and flexible), and we've gained some good job/life experience, so just maybe God has been preparing us all along for this big step. Right now a sense of urgency has developed when we realize that our young family is getting older and these big transitions are typically better received at younger ages, so basically if we're going to do it, then now is the time. So we're excited about this opportunity, and we pray that God will use us to channel His love and be a part of sharing His redeeming message of salvation and life with those who have never heard.
We believe Jesus clearly gave a general calling and made His Will known through the great commission (Matthew 28:19), and He has placed within us the desire and means for us to embark on the first phase of training at New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI) in Waukesha, WI. Two years at NTBI provides an opportunity for Devon and I to further align our own worldviews and beliefs with God's worldview as detailed in Scripture. It's a privilege really, to have this time to study God's Word. After NTBI, we plan to go to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Camdenton, MO for another two years, before heading overseas. We are trusting God to guide and direct our hearts as to where we should go geographically, and to provide for our needs along the way.
Here's a quick timeline of recent events:
16 June: we put our house on the market. We could not financially make this move without selling our house, so we trusted God to steer our moving ship by allowing or not allowing our house to sell in time for us to begin training at NTBI this Fall.
20 June: received a full-price offer on our house with a 31 July closing date; and they wanted to buy most of our larger items. We were happy to see God clearly swing open this door! This was our "green light" to go.
Beginning of July: notified Carpenter of our decision to be a part of tribal missions (very well received; and I wasn't let go early; PTL)
18 July: large garage sale; we couldn't have done it without the help of Lilleys and Charis; thanks, guys!
31 July: house closed and we were on the road to Wisconsin with both of our vehicles and a 5X8 Uhaul trailer in tow of the van. Thanks, Carol, for all your help in selling our house, in spite of the couple hiccups!
3 Aug: Jonathan began CDL training to become a school bus driver while we go to school here (the school has a long-standing relationship with a local bus company that works great with the school schedule).
19 Aug: Bible school began
1 Sep: Isaac (2nd grade), Jackson (1st grade), and Leah (1st grade) had their first day of school at Hadfield Elementary.
Thanks for being a part of our journey. We covet your prayers and partnership over the next several years of training. Specific prayer requests:
1) that Devon and I will deepen our relationship with our Savior and allow Him to align our worldviews with scripture. May we love Him will all our heart, souls, and minds, and our neighbors as ourselves.
2) for the health of our marriage
3) for our kids' spiritual, emotional, and educational needs to be met
4) wisdom and grace as we juggle school, work, family, homework, and other activities
5) praise to God for bringing us here
6) for opportunities to develop significant relationships with other believers as well as unbelievers while here at NTBI
7) wisdom in knowing which church to get plugged into locally
Jonathan and Devon Ames