ERIC & ANGELICA
"Eric knew from before he was even really following Jesus that he wanted to live overseas and help people. When he came to know who Jesus was, the motivation for it changed drastically. It went from wanting to help people to wanting to join God in what he's doing in other people's’ lives. Taking the Perspectives class and learning about God's heart for the world was a huge part of that.
I (Angelica) was ready to move overseas ever since I was 16. We have been married for 4 years now and we have lived ready to act whenever God calls. Over time, we both felt like God clearly called us to go to the Middle East but we kept saying no until we saw that God was persistent.
For a year and a half we weren’t sure what next steps to take. We had just decided to purchase a condo, and after living there just 3 months, we decided to rent our condo and move again in order to be a part of the Global Missional Community at Park, which has been a big part of our training. It really pumped us up for going overseas again, even though we didn’t have a country in mind. We really grew in areas of our lives that we weren’t strong in, like sharing the Gospel so naturally. We've learned the value of community and how God desires his people to live in relation with each other. One of the highlights of the community has been seeing what it's like to live on mission together with our son Matthew.
Out of nowhere, one country kept coming to mind. We don’t know anyone there and didn’t know anything about it. Eric was totally on board and was excited to have a lead. We decided to take a vision trip last May. We were there for 3 weeks, and while we were there, we explored what it would be like to start a business because we want to use that as our ministry. We want to use our skills to help the community and as a tool to share the gospel. We loved this country and were so thankful that God gave us such peace about it.
Coming back from our trip we still wanted to leave everything in God’s hands and allow him to lead us and not make a decision right away. We were also hoping that our family would be more supportive before we left. They were really struggling with the idea of us moving overseas, especially with our son. They were very fearful. They would ask us hard questions like, ‘Why are you taking our grandson away?’, ‘Why would you give up stability and money for this?’, ‘Don't you think you're being naive’, and ‘Don't you think of your son?’ because they did not understand.
We had started a Bible study with them before we took our vision trip and met every week. After a while, we were frustrated with where we were at in the Bible study and their relationship with God because it felt very stuck and there was little fruit from our conversation. We decided to take a break when we went on our vision trip and we delayed starting it back up when we got back because we were burnt out. Surprisingly, our family ended up reaching out to us and told us they were interested in starting the Bible study back up. So we started in July with my parents, my sister, and my brother and his girlfriend, and it was a drastic change for them. It seemed like it was a reawakening of a desire to know God in our family.
We ended up fasting 3 weeks after we started our Bible study back up about our next steps. One of those nights I was restless and I felt like I needed to journal. Baptism kept coming to mind and my family. I wrote down a few steps for them to take in order for there to be healing and reconciliation within my family that I felt needed to be healed. We were really nervous to talk to them about that because baptism was frowned upon and not really understood in my family. It was not something we really talked about.
I never really felt like I had the authority to baptize, but after walking through the baptism class powerpoint and having some good discussion, my aunt wanted to be baptized. I had come to realize that God gives us the authority to baptize people and, God willing, we would be doing that overseas and it would be awesome to start with my family.
We didn’t see it then, but we see now that there was a lot of spiritual warfare in our marriage. We were fighting a lot more than we used to and we weren’t really reflecting on how God was working in our lives. But even then, we realized that just to be used by God and to witness the transformation in our family was a sweet reminder that God moves even though we are broken and undeserving. We invited our family to be baptized and about 3 weeks later they decided to be baptized in my mom’s backyard. A few members of the global missional community came and wanted to be witnesses to it. We baptized nine of my family members that day and it was an awesome picture of what we could be doing overseas.
After that happened, we made the decision to go to the Middle East. We ended up finding a team who was already planning to go to the country, which was just further confirmation that this was where God wanted us for this next season. My mom had even told us that she understood now why we were doing what we were doing, and if it was God’s will for us to go then she did not want to stand in the way of that. This was a huge answer to prayer and confirmation to move because I don’t know if I would feel at peace in another country if I leave our family and they don’t know God. Our plans are to move to the Middle East in August this year. It has been a long time in the making but it seems like God is really laying out the steps for us to be able to go, and we are just following."