Training, Timeline, and Team Building

Training, Timeline, and Team Building

When COVID-19 hit, one of the most common questions people asked us was, “How is this impacting your call to the mission field and your timeline to get there?” Our response was that it hadn’t impacted it too much because we have a lot of things we‘re working on and there‘s still a lot of work to be done before we go to the Czech Republic.

Here’s an update on what the last couple of months have looked like for us, as well as an idea of what‘s ahead…

Training

One of the blessings we found in the midst of being on lockdown during the pandemic was that we were able to get a head start on some of our pre-field training, as well as preparation for our online Missionary Orientation that‘s getting ready to begin later this month.

We’ve had some great video calls with several different leaders from our missions agency (TEAM, team.org), including our Appointee Mentor. Our mentor served on the mission field in Czech for 8 years and will be walking with us through this season of transition. We feel so blessed with the people that God has placed in our path to give us insight and wisdom through this process.

We’ve also had some great video calls with our fellow TEAM Czech Republic missionaries and leadership. We had planned to do a vision trip back in April, but since that wasn’t able to happen, due to the virus, it’s been great getting to know some of our teammates (virtually) that we‘ll be serving with. They’ve been so helpful and encouraging, and have given us a better understanding of what life and ministry in the Czech Republic looks like.

We were blessed to record a worship set for some of our future teammates in Prague that have been putting together a weekly online worship service during the pandemic.

We’ve also been working on some assignments and recommendations that we’ve been given. Some of those things include…

  • Books we’re reading
  • Virtual missions training
  • Online Bible training courses
  • Czech language learning using Duolingo
Timeline

We have a strong sense of urgency about the call that God has placed on our lives to go to the Czech Republic, and He has continued to stir a passion in our hearts for the Czech people. As we’ve gotten a better understanding of what our training is going to look like and what will need to happen prior to our departure, our projected timeline has come more into focus…

  • THIS SUMMER: Missionary Orientation and transitioning out of our staff role at our church
  • THIS FALL: Full-time missionary prep and support raising
  • END OF 2020: Praying to be fully funded
  • FIRST QUARTER 2021: On the mission field in the Czech Republic

While the first part of next year may seem like a long time from now, it’s actually a pretty ambitious goal to reach our mission field. However, we believe this is the goal that God has put in our hearts and with His provision and guidance, it’s 100% possible. A Scripture that has resonated in our hearts during this season of preparation for the mission field is Psalm 127:1…

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

Psalm 127:1 (ESV)

We’re covering this whole process in prayer and we know that attempting to do this without God’s help would be utterly foolish. So often in life, we want be in control and in the driver’s seat, and sometimes we even deceive ourselves into thinking that we are in control. How foolish we are to doubt the sovereignty of God and to think that we could possibly know better than Him. Praise the Lord that He is in control and that we can trust in and rely on Him!

A sweet friend of ours got the girls a book about our future home in Prague!
Team Building

One of the other most common questions people ask us is, “Are you raising your own support?” The simple answer to that is, “yes,” but to us it’s much more than just raising financial support. While some missionaries go to the mission field fully-funded through a missions agency, around 80% of missionaries around the world today are required to raise their support to cover their living and ministry expenses.

While it might seem strange to you, we believe that God purposed in our hearts to go to the mission field by raising our support. Why?

  • With God’s help and guidance, our desire is to build a team consisting of our sending church, friends, family, and other churches and individuals that are an active and vital part of this missionary journey with us through prayer, financial, spiritual, and emotional support.
  • We want to have a personal connection with the individuals and churches who are a part of our support team. Our desire is for our mission work in the Czech Republic to be greater than what God does in and through our family and the lives of those we impact in Czech, but also in the lives of those back home that are a part of sending and supporting us.
  • God calls some people to leave their home, sell their possessions, and go overseas as missionaries. He calls others to be a part of His global mission through giving to and praying for missionaries. Neither calling is greater than the other because they are both needed.

“Some give by going, others go by giving. Without both, there are no missions.”

St. Therese of Lisieux

We won’t officially begin building our support team until later this summer, but it will be one of our primary focuses heading into the fall. We’re sharing this with you now so that you would begin to pray if God would lead you to be a part of our support team. We‘ll share more in the days ahead about what that looks like and the different ways you can be a part of our team!

Prayer Points
  • Pray for our online training and orientation that begins later this month and will continue through the summer, as well as our language learning and other training we’re currently doing.
  • Pray for us and for our church as we enter into a season of transition this summer with Steven’s staff role. He will be working with and helping train his successor throughout the summer, as we prepare to step into full-time missionary preparations and support raising this fall. 
  • Pray for Steven’s Grannie Mary Lou and for Kelli’s uncle Roger as they are both dealing with health problems and need God’s healing. 
  • Pray for our daughters, Kaci and Selah, as they are trying to process all of the upcoming changes (transitioning from public school to homeschooling this fall, all of the traveling we’ll be doing, moving our pet dog in with a family member, purging/packing their belongings, etc…).
  • Pray for God to stir the hearts of people who hear our story and vision to partner with us as we begin building our support team in the near future.

Thank you for your prayers for our family as we continue on this journey! If you haven’t already, be sure to hit the SUBSCRIBE button below to follow our blog and join our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/shaddoxmissions!

We Are Appointed Missionaries!

We Are Appointed Missionaries!

Thanks so much for checking out our blog! A journey that we have so very much anticipated sharing and shouting from the mountaintops is finally here…

We are officially appointed MISSIONARIES!

We realize that some of you may be hearing about this for the first time and we’re so thankful that you’re reading this and for your interest in our lives. Before we get into where things are today and what’s ahead of us, we want to briefly share with you about our journey so far…

The Call

In the late summer/fall of 2019, we began sensing that God was up to something in our lives and preparing us for a new season in ministry. We weren’t sure what that was at the time, but all we knew to do was to put our ‘yes’ on the table.

We prayed and asked God to show us where He was leading us. Over the next couple of months and a lot of prayer and conversations, God made it clear that He was calling us to the foreign mission field and we surrendered to that call (even though we still had plenty of questions).

When God leads us to take a big step of faith, as humans, we tend to try to justify every reason that it couldn’t be so. This is what some of our prayers sounded like early on in the process… 

God, our girls love their school, have amazing friendships, grandparents live close…they’re so stable and happy.

God, what about our foster daughter we love?

God, what about our house/mortgage?

God, we love our church, ministry, and friends here that we do life with.

God, this seems impossible and the timing doesn’t seem to be right…are we hearing You clearly?

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question?

Romans 9:20 (The Message)
The Confirmation

We believe that while God welcomes our questions, He loves to remind us that He is sovereign and that nothing is impossible for Him. He started making things happen right before our eyes!

  • He sold our home when we didn’t even have it on the market.
  • He provided transitional housing for us to live in when our home sold.
  • He helped us transition our foster daughter to a new home with her aunt and uncle when He confirmed that our time with her was coming to an end.
  • And much more than we can share in this one post.

For every doubt, fear, and question that we had, God had an answer and He made a way. At every turn, He has undeniably confirmed His call on our lives to the foreign mission field. He continues to remind us throughout this process to trust Him even when we don’t have all the answers and that faith is what pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6).

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” 

Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)
The Application Process

Over the past several months we have been extremely busy walking through the application process with our incredible missions agency, TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). We’ll share more about TEAM in a later blog post, but feel free to check out their website at team.org. The past several months have been filled with…

  • Applications, paperwork, and biblical questionnaires
  • Multiple interviews (virtual and in-person)
  • Psychological evaluations and testing
  • Gathering past medical records and other documentation
  • Getting physical exams, bloodwork, x-rays, etc…
  • Renewing our passports and getting the girls’ first passports
  • And more, but we’ll stop there

It’s been somewhat of an exhausting season mentally, BUT we have finally completed the application process! With a big sigh of relief and grateful hearts we can say that we are thankful to God for helping us through that and we’re ready for what’s next…all the glory goes only to Him!

We received a call a little over a week ago that TEAM’s review board approved and appointed us as long-term missionaries!

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all of the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. 

Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)
The People And Place Of Service

We prayed throughout the process for God to give us a burden and a heart for a specific people and place of service. As we prayed, researched, and explored many different options (as the list of opportunities is pretty overwhelming), the Lord kept bringing us back to the people of Europe.

TEAM works in several different European countries, so we needed to narrow it down to a specific one. After much prayer, fasting, multiple conversations with the leadership in several countries, and seeking wisdom from friends and family, the Lord gave us overwhelming peace and clarity.

We’re excited to let you know that we will be serving alongside a team of missionaries and church planters in the Czech Republic in the capital city of Prague!

While the Czech Republic is a beautiful country with a rich history, it ranks as one of the most atheistic and agnostic countries in the world. With a population of 10.7 million people, less than 1% are evangelical Christians. There’s a desperate need for the Gospel and our hearts are extremely burdened (more about the Czech Republic in a later post)!

Our first couple of years in Prague will be focused on learning the Czech language and culture. Our long-term ministry focus there will be church planting, discipleship, and ministering through our musical gifts. We are so excited to see the opportunities we will be able to be involved in.  

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel…

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
The Next Steps

The next step in the process is our training and orientation, and due to COVID-19, that training will be taking place online. Once we complete training and orientation, TEAM will connect us with some mentors and coaches who will help us walk though a season of raising support and preparation for the mission field. We don’t know what our timeline looks like at this point, but we believe that God will make it clear, and everything will happen in His timing.

Please reach out to us, as we would love to talk to more of you personally about this adventure and answer any questions you may have! While we would love to talk with you in person, we’re getting pretty comfortable with FaceTime and Zoom video calls during this quarantine season 🙂

Also, hit the SUBSCRIBE button below and follow our blog via email to receive notifications of future posts. We will use this blog to help keep you updated on our journey. You can also join our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/shaddoxmissions!

Most importantly, please be in prayer for us for God’s wisdom, discernment, provision, and strength as we take the next steps in this process. Thanks again for checking out our blog and for your interest in our missionary journey!

  1. Happy for you! I know there is joy in being obedient. You are on an exciting adventure with a lot…