By Jon Hansen, District Representative, Mountain Central
Potential New Missionaries for Rural America
In the fall of 2016, Debbie and I were introduced to potential new missionaries for rural America. Ernie and Connie Lambright had been in ministry for many years but had taken a sabbatical from full-time ministry. They heard about Village Missions through their friends Steve and Debbie May, who serve with Village Missions at Rancho Tehema, CA. So, they applied to Village Missions as they considered whether to re-enter full time ministry. Ernie was driving buses for the local high school and college and Connie was a full-time high school math teacher.
Considering Ministry in Rural America
On a beautiful fall day, Debbie and I drove from Dickerson, North Dakota, to Miles City, Montana, to interview the Lambrights in their home. The moment we met them we knew we were going to develop a friendship. They warmly invited us into their home and were so hospitable. At the end of the interview we asked them to pray about joining Village Missions. Ernie said they would, and what really made him consider serving with us was the support that Village Missions offers their missionaries.
This support includes a District Representative couple (like Deb & myself) who counsels and encourages the missionaries and while acting as a liaison for Village Missions to the churches we serve. Missionaries are also offered annual staff conferences, monthly VM Fellowships and the assistance of the staff in the International Service Center. Salary support and health benefits also enable our missionaries to work full time in the ministry without needing to worry about working an outside job to make ends meet.
The Process of Becoming a Village Missionary
After several months of praying, Ernie gave us the green light to come and do a mini candidate school with them over Connie’s spring break. Normally, a couple would attend our spring candidate school, but Connie was under a teaching contract until the end of May 2017, so they were unable to travel to the candidate school. On a snowy March day, we drove back to Miles City to hold their mini candidate school. At the end of our time we once again asked if they were called to Village Missions, and they both said that they were stepping out in faith, and the Lord would have to do several things in order for them to be on a field by early summer. This included raising support, selling their home and moving Connie’s mother to a Senior Assisted living situation near them. We left the interview praying that the Lord would answer all their requests, because we had a church in southeast Colorado who had waited for two years for a Village Missionary to serve their congregation, and we felt it would be a great fit for all involved.
The Lambright’s support came in quickly and we assigned them to Sheridan Lake Bible Church in Sheridan Lake, Colorado, beginning July 2017. The Lord provided the needed living situation for Connie’s mother, and they rented out their home. The Lord answered each request. Before they arrived on their field, we asked them to come to our annual staff conference to meet the rest of the missionaries from our district. On the first afternoon of conference, Ernie went for a drive and asked the Lord to confirm that they had made the right decision. Ernie looked up from a stoplight and saw he was on Sheridan Lake Road in Rapid City, South Dakota, the exact name of the field they were assigned to serve with Village Missions. Ernie said that was the confirmation he needed to know this was the Lord’s will for their lives.
Serving as Missionaries in Rural America
The Lambrights have been serving full time as missionaries in rural America since July 2017. Both the church and the Lambrights are excited to see the Lord working in their church and community. The men are preparing to launch a community men’s group and have several from a neighboring community attending. The ladies hold two Bible Studies, including one scheduled so the local teachers can attend.
We never know how or where the Lord will provide the missionaries that serve with us, but we are ready to drive the many miles it takes to find them! Please be in prayer–we have five open fields in the Mountain Central District that are waiting for full-time leadership and several requests from churches who want to know more about Village Missions. You may know individuals just like the Lambrights who are searching for the Lord’s will in their lives concerning full-time ministry. Pass the word that we have churches and communities across rural North America waiting for a pastor to come to Preach the Word and Love the People!
Are you interested in helping meet the need for missionaries in rural America? Contact us to start the process.