During the last month of this year TLI staff will be sharing stories of how God has used us in 2014. Enjoy.
I love Aaron and Meg Brown and their three little girls. I met Aaron for the first time three years ago on a flight of stairs at Bethlehem Baptist Church. I was coming out of a meeting. TLI had just gotten off the ground and Aaron was working as a janitor trying to figure out what he was going to do next in life.
We started talking and 15 minutes later I asked him if he wanted to be sent to Cameroon as a missionary to teach at a seminary. He said "Yes, but let me talk to my wife and get back to you." He got back to me quickly and said they wanted to do it.
This is not how people are supposed to get to the field. There should be interviews and tests and the mapping out of preparation. I highly recommend it. This was just different. For the next six months we tried to work out the details to get the Browns to Cameroon. It blew up in our face. Still wanting to serve in missions, Aaron became a curriculum writer and would play a large role in shaping what we have now published.
Two years ago an opportunity in Uganda appeared. Again, we gave the green light and a house was even built for them. Due to some hard circumstances the Browns could not go again. Aaron, being a man of his word paid the rent on the house for over a year despite not moving.
Still, with a desire to get to the field and Uganda on their mind, the Browns pushed forward. I won't lie and say it was smooth sailing. It was hard. However, this past summer they went to Missionary Training International to aquire solid cross-cultural tools. Again - a departure date was set. It was mid-October and they had found a great deal on a ticket and needed to leave by December 1. The problem - they needed about 10% more in support and $30,000 in startup costs.
And so we prayed and Aaron got to work. Four weeks later he had $30,000 in pledged support and 10% more in monthly donations. As Aaron told me, "It was like God dropped manna from heaven so we could go."
They have arrived in Uganda and had a challenging transition like most missionaries. Their story however has brought me great encouragement. On Dec 2 I was flying out to Atlanta to visit some friends. As I was about to board I went over to security to see the Browns passing through the metal detectors. They had said their goodbyes and were on their way. It was a privilege for me to be there in the hallway at Bethlehem. It was a greater privilege to see them at the airport, full of tears and faith.
Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International. As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.