Recently we held our Fall 2011 Candidate School in Dallas, Oregon. We accepted eight outstanding couples. They came from coast to coast and ranged from their twenties to their sixties. Some had some pastoral experience, either in a senior or assistant role, but some did not. Both husband and wife believed firmly that God was calling them into the ministry of Village Missions. The candidate school staff recognized God’s call on their life as well. You can view pictures of our school by clicking on this link.
They will now begin raising their personal support and in several cases, will begin selling or renting their homes. How I look forward to the time when we assign them to their first field!
I have a deep burden to improve our recruiting efforts. Eight couples is a good number but, given the great need, we could easily stand to have twice that number both fall and spring. We would have to have a big increase in funding but, given the way God has supplied and is supplying, I have no doubt that we could find the necessary donors willing to partner with us in transforming churches and communities.
I wanted to learn how these wonderful couples became acquainted with Village Missions because of my interest in developing our recruiting. As I asked them about how they heard about us, I could not find a pattern that drew these couples to Village Missions other than the leading of the Lord. I thought it might be interesting for you to learn how each one heard about our ministry.
Dave and Cindy Fraher had heard of Village Missions over the years, but saw our ministry first hand when Village Missions started serving Interlaken, NY, where he had served before as an interim pastor. Wanting to get back into pastoral ministry and learning of the support that we provide our Village Missionaries, he and Cindy felt led to apply. They especially appreciated our desire to reach out into the community.
John and Kathy Mulvihill felt they had more years to give, although they could have retired, but every door to ministry seemed closed. One day John was looking at the Moody Alumni Job Placement website and our advertisement appeared. They found an open door with us.
Isaac Pederson and his wife Bethany are in their low twenties, newly married and newly pregnant. Isaac started to learn about Village Missions when he began cutting Don and Marylee Still’s lawn at age eight. Bethany learned about Village Missions by attending Stonecroft meetings with her mother. Don encouraged Isaac to attend Frontier School of the Bible. Originally planning to be an overseas missionary, Isaac sensed that God was directing him into pastoral ministry. After he worked through some discomfort with our appointment process (he wanted to choose where he would go), they applied.
Brian and Erica Dedera have been a part of Foothills Community Church (a Village Missions’ field near Spokane) for seventeen years while Brian served as their youth pastor. Recently the congregation chose him to be their pastor with the condition that he become a Village Missionary. Brian and Erica will serve at Foothills but are willing to go anywhere and affirmed that God had called them to our ministry.
Carl and Andrea DeyArmin have been living in the Tacoma area, where Carl had served as an associate pastor until about two years ago. His father-in-law was attending a class at Northwest Baptist Seminary (now Corban University School of Ministry). A Village Missionary also was attending that class (Carl doesn’t remember who). The more his father-in-law learned about VM, the more excited he became. He thought Carl and Andrea would fit our ministry perfectly. Carl spent a good deal of time checking us out and talking to Vern Wilkinson before he submitted his application.
Jeff and Nydia Black live in Mesa, AZ. Jeff had served at a large church as well as serving on staff at some overseas ministries but became dissatisfied with the “specialist approach” of such ministries. He decided to do an internet church on “small church” and “rural church” and our name came up first. God especially used the videos on our website to convince Jeff that he should apply.
Mike and Kim Krutsch were serving with OMF in their field office, after having to return from Cambodia because of health problems. Working in the area of mobilization, he became convinced that God was leading him into pastoral ministry. He had attended our former field in Edgewood, WA and at one time had considered serving with us. God wasn’t leading them towards us then but they are convinced He is now.
Many of you reading this will recognize the Easterling name. Tim is the son of retired Village Missionaries Bill and Ruth Easterling. However, there’s even more of a Village Missions connection! Debbie is Bonnie Canady’s sister! Tim and Debbie live in Montrose, CO where Tim works in construction. After their children left home, they became convinced God was leading them in our direction.
We will continue to develop ways to get the word out about Village Missions through advertisements, the internet, and word of mouth. This fall’s candidate school, however, demonstrates that God will ultimately make the connections and call people to serve with us.
Just recently Village Missionary Ken Ainsworth who serves the Canyon Community Church in Coram, Montana uploaded a song he wrote about his calling to ministry and about Badrock Canyon, where he ministers. I’m praying that God will do in a multitude of lives what He has done in Ainsworth’s lives. I encourage you to listen to this song!
Carole has been reading the biography of Adoniram Judson, written by his son. She pointed this quote out to me as I was marveling at the quality of the couples God had led our way. His son wrote, “It is a mistake to suppose that a dull and second-rate man is good enough for the heathen. The worst-off need the very best we have. God gave His best, even His only-begotten Son, in order to redeem a lost world. The most darkened and degraded souls need the best thinking. Christianity will advance over the earth with long, swift strides when the churches are ready to send their best men, and the best men are ready to go.” We received some of those best men and women this fall to join the ranks of the quality couples already serving with Village Missions.