God has called our family of six to live and serve in Scotland. Our overall goal is to help establish churches, which for at least now is helping revitalize existing churches. We joined Alongside Ministries International – the name describes exactly what we desire to do, come alongside! We have long had a specific interest in the western highlands and islands of Scotland and look toward possibly having longer-term ministry there, but we will see how God leads. Currently we are raising the financial support required to cover living and ministry expenses (and a higher exchange rate) and hoping to move to Scotland in 2017.
Leading up to this point in our lives…Scott grew up in Indiana and knew a call on his life to serve the Lord in Scotland when he was a teen. He first went to Scotland in 2000, for what he thought was a four-month internship in the Church of Scotland where he would learn alongside a minister and preach a couple times at the end of his time there. When he arrived on the Isle of Skye in northwest Scotland, he found out he was basically an interim minister (pastor) for a parish of three churches, preaching three times on Sunday and teaching a Bible study on Wednesday nights. It was a learning experience! And his time there also confirmed his call to Scotland. In 2001 he served in the same way for three months on the isle of North Uist (a bit further out from Skye).
Karen grew up in Minnesota and as a teen went to Scotland on a 3-week mission trip to help with a holiday club (like Vacation Bible School in the U.S.). She had an interest in Scotland since that time but never dreamed she would be going back to live and serve there. We met at Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia in 1999, simply part of the same group of friends.
God brought our paths back together in 2007, and we were married in 2008. We first went to Scotland together in 2009 for a couple weeks. In November 2012 we went for three months with Liam (3 at the time) and Colin (had his first birthday in Scotland), traveling and staying in various areas of Scotland. We were seeking God’s direction and contacts for ministry in Scotland, and simply getting acquainted with the land and people of Scotland. A couple months after we returned to the U.S., doors we thought might open for ministry in Scotland were closed, and we had no idea what to do next. We were certain God was still calling us to Scotland (with moments of doubts but each time a renewed confirmation), but we were going to have to wait until God opened a door because we had nothing.
In 2014, God dropped an opportunity in our laps for Scott to complete a six-month Discipleship Training School in Scotland with Youth With A Mission. It wasn’t exactly what we had been looking for, but it was an opportunity for further training and to be living in Scotland for six months.
After some more waiting, God seems to be opening a door for this opportunity to move to Scotland (hopefully soon!) and serve alongside a local church. In our waiting time – which is God’s timing, not ours – God is continuing His work in us and we are learning more deeply to walk by faith and to know Him.
“A lack of endurance is one of the greatest causes of defeat, especially in prayer. We don’t wait well. We’re into microwaving; God, on the other hand, is usually into marinating.” (Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer, p. 17)