In 2015, we became the Area Leaders for six countries in West Africa. As Area Leaders, it is our responsibility to develop the strategy for our area, which also includes establishing new teams among unreached peoples in our area, as well as supporting the Team Leaders and teams in our area. As such, our responsibility is to help Team Leaders think through their individual team strategies, to coordinate the various strategies within the area, serve as a coach and mentor in the church planting process, and also to help with pastoral care in the area and to help with any crisis that should arise in the area. Currently we overseas 6 teams with 21 members in our area (14 direct reports) whose church planting ministries comprise such areas as vocational training centers for young men and women, a health clinic, ministries to abandoned and trafficked children, agricultural projects, bi-lingual schools, house churches, discipleship and evangelism, creation care, mobilization of local Christians to reach out to their Muslim neighbors, and children's ministry, to name a few.
In addition to our leadership roles, we are also engaged in local ministry (when not on home assignment). We are involved in various activities including leading Sunday morning worship, Bible studies, discipleship with individuals, evangelism, prayer walking, sharing the gospel with local religious leaders in a nearby village, neighborhood outreaches, and working with a group of leaders who are believers in the northern [part of our country]. Further, we spend a significant amount of time building relationships in our community and coming alongside people in their lives by being present at their events (baby namings, weddings, funerals), drinking tea together in the late afternoons, or helping with various needs.
Without our MedSend grants, Melissa and I would not be on the field. Together we sought the Lord as we considered our professional development, and what professions God was calling us to in our journey into missions. We were both very intentional in this process, and yet we came away with debt that was holding us back from moving forward. Our grants made it possible not only to receive the professional skills we needed and felt the Lord was calling us, but also to be able to leave for the field before becoming entrenched in our professions in the US while paying off our loans. This allowed us to come to the field sooner, and to live and serve in a place that is in dire physical and spiritual need. We have been so grateful for the generous donors who have made it possible for us to be on the field for the last 12 years. This has enabled our longevity and establishment in the community, which is key to opening doors to relationships and sharing the gospel.