We are from Maranatha Baptist Church in Columbus Ohio and we would like to tell you a little about ourselves and the ministry to which God has called us.
Caleb-I was five years old when, after church one evening, I realized that I was unsure of my eternal future. I went to my parents to ask about heaven and hell. They shared with me how Jesus was the one who paid the price for my sin so that I could know where I would go. It was at that point that I placed my trust in Christ's sacrifice for me.
Charity-I grew up in a Christian home and a Bible believing church in Fremont Michigan. It was there I was taught the Word of God and what Christ did for me on the cross. I accepted Him at the tender age of four while at my grandparent's home.
Call to Missions
Caleb-Through the encouragement and support of my parents and youth pastor, I had the opportunity to pursue many ministry opportunities throughout high school. These included trips to Brazil and Ireland in addition to various trips within the continental US. I also had cross cultural opportunities in ministering in childcare at a Chinese church conference for two summers. These experiences developed for me an interest not only in a ministry but specifically to the opportunity to minister across normal cultural boundaries. Following a year of growth and development in my own heart while attending Word of Life Bible Institute, I presented myself to my home church to commit myself to serving God in full time ministry in a cross cultural setting.
Charity-God gave me two opportunities during my high school years during which He called me to missions. The first was to Brazil to work at a Word of Life camp with my youth group. However, the second trip played more of a role in my calling. It was a cultural and biological trip with my public school to the rainforest of Peru. We were able to help and work in 3 different villages while we were there. It burdened my heart that I was not able to share the love of Christ and His Gospel with the Peruvian people I met. My Spanish was very limited at that time and it hindered my ability to communicate Christ. It was because of this trip that I felt God's calling on my life to missions. I made this desire and calling known to my parents and youth pastor.
Our paths met at Baptist Bible College, where we began studying and preparing specifically for a future in missions. Our class work was designed and focused on building a basis of understanding not only of how to handle the Bible, but to translate that desire into ministry to God's church throughout the world. This included internship trips of six weeks to Japan for Caleb and Ecuador for Charity.
Following college and marriage, we knew that God was directing us to return to Caleb's home church in Columbus with the specific charge to prepare for ministry. We focused our efforts and finances specifically on readying ourselves and preparing for that goal. Once there, we began seeking opportunities to minister and learn. We met for regular discipleship with the pastoral staff for personal growth and to sharpen ministry skills. Their guidance shaped our ministry involvement as we sought to prepare and refine the abilities with which God had blessed us. This led to us serving in a variety of ministries. These included teaching in Sunday school and working with the youth in teaching and discipleship and leading overseas mission trips. We also served as small group helpers and then leading a small group as well as serving as a deacon.
We had both been called to missions as teenagers but we had questions we couldn't answer even after graduation and marriage. Like, what should our ministry look like and where would God have us serve? This is something that really bothered us as we talked to people. We would always get asked and yet not have an answer.
In 2008 we took a missions trip with our youth group to Costa Rica, it was there that God helped refine His calling on our lives. He used that trip to show us that we were called to be a part of training men and women in a Bible College setting and work with them to disciple and counsel them. After returning from that trip Caleb started work on his Masters of Divinity. At that point we were certain of what form our ministry would take but not the location.
Then in 2012 we were blessed to go on another trip with our youth group to Jamaica and again God worked in our hearts to refine His call on our lives. After we had been in Jamaica for about 4 days we both looked at each other and realized we were thinking the same thing. This is it, this is the place for us!
We saw not only a people and church leadership in need of training and assistance, but a region passionate for educational growth yet limited in resources. While seeing the heart of the Jamaican people for ministry and the need for training and preparation, God laid the desire on both of our hearts to serve in that capacity. We returned from Jamaica and sought advice and God's leading through much prayer. The passion for the field only grew and we spoke with our Pastor about this opportunity. Later this was confirmed by our deacons and pastoral staff. From then on, Jamaica and its people have remained on our hearts.
Biblical Basis for Our Ministry
Much of our hearts and desires have been driven by the principles in Colossians 1:27-28, that says "To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." Paul says that God wants to make Jesus known. It is for this reason that Paul is specific to proclaim by warning and teaching. That focus of proclaiming Christ through teaching draws our hearts to pursue this same idea in Jamaica. The church in Jamaica stands poised to reach the world for Christ. We want to stand alongside the church and leaders of Jamaica and present them to Christ by proclaiming and teaching to them and with them.