Two hundred people rose to leave at the end of The GO Fund’s 2015 Vision Dinner. Plates and silverware clinked together as several volunteers packed away the evening and David Rimestad made his way to the front of the room.
Luke Womack, executive director of The GO Fund, stood as he thanked and said goodbye to the attendees when he saw David approach him. David grabbed Luke and with tears in his eyes he said, “There is not a chance we would be going overseas right now if it weren’t for this … thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Three years prior, Luke imagined a ministry that would tackle the biggest issues facing missions to unreached peoples and he wondered, “If we want young people to go to the mission field, why aren’t they going?”
Over the course of two months in the fall of 2012, Luke called about 100 peers from his alma mater, California Baptist University, and he asked them two questions. The first, have you ever considered moving overseas for fulltime ministry or in a church-planting capacity? If the answer was yes, the second question was, why haven’t you gone yet?
Without hesitation, the answer was always the same, “My student loan debt.” Luke had discovered the issue around which he could launch a kingdom-focused ministry.
One night in the spring of 2013, he met with his trusted friend and mentor, Brian Zunigha, who works as director of discipleship at CBU. Luke wanted to share his vision for this organization, but decided to first ask Brian what was on his mind. Brian acknowledged a problem he was working through and told Luke, “I want to figure out how to send qualified missionaries to the unreached by paying off their educational loan debt.”
Alarms went off in Luke’s head. God had given him the same concept. Stunned and in awe, his excitement overflowed as he laid out his idea to his friend.
It was in this moment Luke knew the Lord was prompting him to move forward with The GO Fund. “We both laughed for a minute,” Luke said, “then we got right to work.”
David and Emily Rimestad are friends to both Luke and Brian. The Rimestads knew they had been called to the unreached people of Papua New Guinea, but were held back by years of educational loan payments. Luke invited the two to come hear how the Lord was inspiring him to create a non-profit organization that could pay off their educational loan debt and free them to go. “We told them we didn’t have the money and we didn’t know how, but that we would do it unless God stopped us,” Luke said.
The two years that followed were filled with strategic plans and paperwork. Meetings with friends and family lead to The GO Fund’s first 40 investors, without whom The GO Fund would not have been able to break ground.
Then the time came in 2015 when The GO Fund hosted their first Vision Dinner. At the event, people were invited to hear The GO Fund’s purpose and prayerfully respond by giving financially.
That evening, donors provided enough to launch the Rimestads into Papua New Guinea by covering their educational loan debt.
Today, the Rimestads are serving in Papua New Guinea among the Maliyali people. They have built their home and begun to teach and share in the native language. Emily’s degree in kinesiology equips her to offer healing to many who have no access to medical attention. David’s degree in theology gives him the skill set necessary to learn how to translate scripture into a language that has never been written. Missionaries like the Rimestads are growing and flourishing because of faithful donors who believed that educational loan debt was a poor excuse to keep the gospel from spreading to the unreached.
Nearly three years after David embraced Luke, God is using the Rimestads to bring early fruit to the Maliyali people. God has also moved through The GO Fund Champions (donors) to launch 17 missionaries to the field. There is still much to be done and the task is significant.
Eternity alone will show the impact our decisions have made on God’s kingdom. We look forward to the day when we will link arms with representatives from all nations and tribes in worship of the only one who is worthy of our eternal praise!