sending agency

In the 11th Hour


Rebecca remembers every detail of the room she was in when they heard the news. She and her husband sat on a couch in a temporary living space they were sharing with other families also being trained by their missions agency. Their list of belongings was downsized and their lives were in transition. Then, they got the call.*

“You no longer need to worry about your student loan debt, you are GO Fund partners.”

It was as if the couple had been anxiously watching a timer count down the seconds up until this moment, and they could finally see what the Lord was doing for a long, uncertain season. One month later, they boarded their plane to leave the U.S. indefinitely.

Years prior, the two met when they were both studying for their Master’s Degrees in Wheaton, Illinois. Rebecca was earning hers with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language while her husband, James, was studying overseas ministry work.

They knew as they dated, when they were engaged and in their marriage that they were being led to move their lives to the unreached people groups of East Asia. Because of the heightened-security climate in the country they were being lead to, they were eager to use their degrees. “People will definitely ask, ’What are you doing here?’ And it would be a lot easier if we could say, ‘we’re teachers,’” Rebecca said. “You need a reason to be there.”

While confident their degrees would legitimize their visas in East Asia, they realized this bound them to several years of monthly payments. It is a burden that would wear down the limited finances they needed to thrive overseas. They knew it would be unwise to leave with the weight.

So, they asked, When? How will we be obedient?

The couple chipped away the total little by little, but the time and money it would take to completely rid themselves of the debt would take years. “People rallied behind us and gave a lot to pay it off,” Rebecca said. “We still had a lot and what we’d be making month to month overseas wouldn’t be a lot.”

Then, a friend told them about an organization that pays off the student loan debt of missionaries going to unreached people groups, The GO Fund. They did not want their hopes to climb only to be rejected but they still applied, trusting the Lord would care for their needs in his timing.

They simultaneously walked through an application process with their sending agency, and when they finished their last interview, one month away from being sent overseas, they were called and told they were going to be freed of their student loan debt.

“It was literally perfect timing. In the midst of our disappointments, God was working to make things work on his plan and timing,” James said.

One year after the family arrived in east Asia, the government implemented “Evaluation Criteria” for foreign workers. Any foreigners working in the country are now categorized by a points system. There are three categories – A, B, and C-level workers. You are more likely to be given a work visa status based on the category in which you are placed. The best way to gain points? Higher-level education.

“In hindsight, thinking about everything the Lord planned out for us to get to this place is just mind-blowing to us,” James said.

The couple are now in their second year of language acquisition and they welcomed their first child in July. Their next step is to seek university-level teaching positions in their city. They have already begun to respond to opportunities laid before them to share the gospel with neighbors.

Every conversation and interaction are embraced with the joy of knowing the Lord’s perfect timing provided how, where and when they were supposed to be.

*Names have been changed for security

Finding Normal


Air conditioning in 100 degree weather? Too expensive and fans work fine. Government documents you turned in on time with the proper notarization? But you forgot the under-the-table bribe. Portable hand sanitizer – what’s that? That was an earthquake! No, somewhere a cow just moved its horns. When faced with the reality that our cultural biases are no longer “the norm,” what happens to us?

For *Ethan, Charlotte and their three kids, the transition into their new normal has taken difficult turns.

“The hardest thing has been the culture stress,” Ethan said as he thought back over the one year he has lived in their African country. “Living (here) is so different than the West. It’s a big thing that’s kind of put a damper on our family and our marriage. It’s a strain.”

Culture stress transforms necessary, daily rituals and errands into catalysts of crippling anxiety. To leave the house and buy food for the family or wait in line at the bank become moments of dread (if forming a line is even culturally acknowledged).

Learning the language of the people you live among is step number one out of stress – learn the language to know the people and adapt to their culture. However, hope begins to fade after one year of study, when the foreign dialect seems too difficult to master and there are more plateaus in growth than conquered mountains.

For Charlotte and Ethan, it took years to even get to this point in their ministry. When they were first married in 2010, they applied with an agency that would send them overseas to work with unreached people. “We knew from the get-go we wanted to go overseas, but it was a long journey,” Charlotte said.

It took seven years for them to finally arrive at their new home and the road was filled with hurts and doubt. In 2017, after the births of their three children, the unexpected passing of a loved one and several months of holds placed on their application, they were ready to be sent. They were trained by their agency and their student loan debt was lifted by The GO Fund’s student loan repayment program.  

Charlotte attributes every trial and test to the Lord’s faithfulness in their lives. “I see God’s hand of protection over us, protection from ourselves. I don’t think our faith was ready or where it needed to be to make that life change.”

Now, looking at the trials before them and remembering the journey behind, they focus on the one who redeems every struggle.

“This whole thing is about waiting,” Ethan said. “We’ve definitely grown our trust in God, to realize that he’s faithful – it’s a part of his character. It’s something about him that will not change.”

In the difficulty of language study, Charlotte has seen through cultural barriers and observes her language instructor’s relationship with the Lord. “Learning from their example has been a huge blessing. How can we work together to see the kingdom expanded?” Charlotte said. “I’ve been seeing my weaknesses in terms of giving and hospitality at times too. The culture’s so different here – to see things taken care of the way they know how, it has been a huge encouragement.”

Finding the “new normal” and adapting is never easy. It’s one of the many trials after passing through the barriers which precede the move overseas.

Through it all, Christ and his gospel prove to be more valuable. The task to share with those who have never heard his name is more imperative than the demands of our anxieties and culture stress. So, Ethan and Charlotte’s family pushes through. While culture, languages and daily routines shift and morph around them, they hold fast to the one whose faithfulness and compassion forever remains steadfast.

*Names changed for security

When the Answer is 'Not Yet'


Any mention of Christ or a word of scripture would have been a drop in an empty bucket for the small Indonesian village in which Mary* found herself.

While completing a student teaching program at an international school in 2013, Mary made plans to meet with missionaries in a distant village. A van took her through neighboring towns along the route and she absorbed vibrant scenes in the island heat. They stopped at a tribe along the way and she noticed their remote, secluded location. She realized that with no connection to anyone who knows the Gospel in their language, they had never been given the truth of who Christ is.

Broken and burdened, she thought, “I want to be a part of seeing the unreached come to know Christ.” But how would she get there? Where would she go and how long would it take?

She returned from Indonesia with renewed outlook on her future and where the Lord might use her. Excited and eager, she began to think through what it would look like to live as a missionary long-term.

One thing she knew for certain — she would not begin that phase of life without first paying off her student loan debt. “For me, student loan debt is the only debt I have,” she said as she recounted her despair over the one barrier keeping her from being mobilized. “I have this education that gave me the opportunity to develop a heart for the nations. It crushed me that [it] bound me in ties and prevented me from going.”

In 2015, Mary found The GO Fund. She felt ready to go and knew she had found the way the Lord would get her there. She applied to the Student Debt Repayment Program and when she received a call from the The GO Fund, she was told, “not yet.”

She was told to seek further training. The GO Fund saw a potential in her they did not want to lose but with so much at stake, they wanted to know she would not just arrive but thrive.

When she received a call from The GO Fund, she was told, ‘not yet.’

The GO Fund referred Mary to Radius International. Radius, a missions training organization, matched perfectly with Mary’s vision and values. During her one-year program in 2016, she grew and learned many tools, but most importantly, she saw the importance of church planting and how to develop a strategy for it.

Then came the task of finding a sending agency who would pair her with the right team to the right place and would propel her well into long-term missions. She found Frontiers and was impressed by their desire to see Muslim unreached peoples know Christ. It was then Mary knew she was being called to central Africa and quickly developed a love for its people.

Throughout her journey of seeking organizations and agencies who might get her to the field, a common thread she observed were the people who care about sending healthy individuals.

“It’s just helpful to have the structure and administration,” Mary mentioned with a smile. “These people have either been on the field or have interacted with field workers. I’m really just thankful for the support and structure.”

When she came back to The GO Fund in 2017, they gladly accepted Mary as a partner and she saw how everything fell into place.

“Now I’m free to be obedient to the Lord,” she said. “In many ways, The GO Fund has acted like Christ by taking away my debt. I have new life in Him and in a lot of ways it’s like how the GO Fund has lifted this burden.”

Now, Mary is trained, prepared and ready. With The GO Fund, she is being backed by hundreds of Champions who will see her to the field faster than her debt would have ever allowed. She is able to see a lost people in central Africa fill and overflow their empty buckets with the good news of Jesus Christ, whose love will never let them thirst again.

*name changed for security reasons