I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the folks at Eastgate who are assisting Chris and I as we head to PA for candidate seminar this July. You really have no idea how grateful we are, and the confirmation of your gifts is that we are on the right track.
I used to work with a missionary to Ethiopia. After over 20 years on the field, Fred was “home” in Seattle for three years minimum to help in the sending agency’s home office, and one of his jobs was encouraging the candidates. Many times I heard him urge those who were keeping their day jobs while they raised money NOT to contribute to their own funds. His message was simple: “if God is sending you, He will send you. You don’t want to think you’ve sent yourself, or you won’t know if God’s hand has been in this process.”
Missionaries don’t send themselves, but churches certainly send missionaries! If the church has the right attitude about why they’re sending missionaries (for the spread of the Gospel!), then the sheer responsibility of doing the sending should be enough to take the “credit” and give it right back to God. I sense this from our church – Eastgate is sending us; so much so that Chris and I are FIRST accountable to Eastgate, second accountable to our sending agency.
I can’t express what it means to us that you would send us. We are not so proud to think that you can’t do without us (you probably can’t wait to replace us!). But it is an honor to know that you think we are worthy to go at all.
Because of His Love and Faithfulness,
Rosalie for the Duryees
I wrote that note on Facebook the summer we were appointed as missionaries. I was moved by the support and enthusiasm so many had shown for our desire to serve God in ministry. Although they had just outdone themselves by sending us on our survey trip to Spain the summer before, Eastgate rallied in a mighty way and provided everything we needed to attend Candidate Seminar and Missionary Enrichment. That trip culminated in our appointment with a ceremony around the Missionary Covenant.
These words, “you’re not sending yourselves,” mean even more to me today than they did 4 years ago. I didn’t understand what that meant at all! Both Chris and I worked full time to support our family, which didn’t include children. The fact that God calls others to send us is what enabled me to stay home with Susanna when she was born the following year, and it’s what enables us to do prefield ministry full time now.
We take this very seriously.
World Cup took place in South Africa while we were at seminar. As you might imagine, many of the folks who work at ABWE have spent years on various fields as missionary kids or church planters themselves, and allegiances varied. Flags from Brazil, Germany, Peru, South Africa, and Spain hung outside office doors. Games were projected onto the big screen during our lunches and breaks, and our seminar leaders proudly sported jerseys while conducting their sessions.
While we took in so much information about our future as missionaries in a foreign field, our own field was celebrating as Spain advanced each round. When Spain competed for the World Cup, Chris and I cheered with the Europe administrators, who had served over 20 years in Spain, and we joked that we should be in Spain when they won the next World Cup in Brazil.
Except we were serious.
So, frankly, this week comes with some disappointment. We are (obviously) not in Spain. We’re not even in language school in Costa Rica. We haven’t even attended the final required training for clearance. We still have a lot of clearances to get before we can go.
If you’re part of our sending team, maybe you’re a bit disappointed too. Thank you for your continued support and for your grace. We are working hard, and we still believe in God’s call to ministry and specifically ministry to Spain. God has used the past four years to mold us into better, more equipped missionaries. I believe this extends to making us better long-term missionaries, which is our desire. Over the next couple days, I’d like to share with you some of the ways God has used the last four years and how He has shown us why we’re still stateside. In the meantime, we are still praying and working toward full support by the end of this year, because the team in Spain has exciting plans for 2015.