As a young teen I remember my family inviting people into our home to tell of their experiences overseas. I was struck by their stories and knew I wanted to devote my life to cross-cultural work. It was clear to me that I was not going to live the typical American life from an early age and planned my life around it. I went to college and majored in intercultural studies and continued to pursue opportunities whenever they presented themselves so I would be trained. I felt after college a specific call to wait until I gained more experience before applying to any organizations. So I waited and eventually started dating a wonderful women.
This woman, now my wife Rachel, was really clear. She was going to do missions and God had made her specifically for linguistic translation work. But I was perplexed. Who would devote their entire life to ministering in one place with one people for 30 years of their life?! I was hesitant to sign up for such a call. It didn’t feel right to me. So while we were dating, then engaged we struggled with this seeming inconsistency in our vision. I knew I was to do cross cultural work, but not sure what. She was convinced it was translation for minority language groups. We knew God had called us together and were convinced he would straighten out our calling in His time. And he did.
In late 2008, we decided to pursue Rachel’s dream and see if it would be a good fit for us both. I didn’t know what I would end up doing, but I figured we should talk about it. We ended up going to a summer of training in 2009 at the University of North Dakota to see if it was a good fit. During that summer my whole outlook changed. I went trusting my wife knew something I didn’t about our future. I left having felt God’s specific call towards Sign Language Translation. It was a pivotal moment in our lives and we start ordering our steps to work with the Deaf. We started learning American Sign Language and started figuring out how we could get the training we needed. We were frustrated because the job God provided us kept us from pursuing the education we would need to work with Sign Language communities around the world! We basically would have to quit Rachel’s job in order for us to move forward. However, early this spring we started pursuing Wycliffe again because we would be quitting Rachel’s job and very quickly it went from needing 2-3 more years to get on the field too being asked to speed up the process because they wanted us in southeast Asia by January 2013.
When God speaks He makes a way, in His timing, and with His provision!