Our journey in ministry has been quite an adventure. In many ways, the process has felt like a roller-coaster ride. After seminary graduation, we pursued several professional ministry paths, but God closed the door each time. We had envisioned Stephanie pasturing a local church and Phillip working part-time in ministry and staying home with our daughters. Needless to say, this didn’t happen.
Eventually, Stephanie contacted a mission sending organization just to see what they had to say. After missing the initial Skype appointment, we made another appointment and were taken with the thought of serving overseas. We were more than a little skeptical about various aspects of missions work, but we felt we must turn this rock over completely. We spent time in prayer discerning where we could offer our gifts and about a year into the process, but were eventually told that there were no openings for us to serve with this organization because of our age and lacked of formal ministry experience. Like so many other doors had done previously, this one was closing.
It wasn’t until our local church pastor advised us to pursue missions with the Evangelical Covenant Church that we found our home. We met with some of the directors and sensed God speaking to us about entering into the discernment process with the ECC. They had countless options for us to serve no matter what our ages were. We immediately started to complete paperwork and pray about this decision. We decided it was the right fit for our family and we moved forward.
While interviewing for a ministry position in Belgium, God confirmed the call to work in Western Europe. Our hearts became burdened for the church in this area of the world. However, the church in Belgium needed different gifts then we offered, so we parted ways. It seemed we had another closed door. It wasn’t until about seven months after returning from our trip and processing this experience, did we learn about the opening available for us with the Free Evangelical Church of Germany (FeG).