For Such a Time as This
Kathie and I were believers when we married in 1972. Early in our marriage we committed to have a home that was centered on Christ. When we were newlyweds, a guy named Keith Green was writing and singing Christian music. His songs seemed to really minister to our hearts and helped us to grow in our faith. He sang one song called I Pledge My Head to Heaven. (You might want to check it out on YouTube.) It’s a song of commitment; to serving the Lord – no holds barred. Also, we knew Jesus’ command that he gave to the disciples on a Galilean hillside after the resurrection was to, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…. (Matthew 28:19-20). We had to realize that when Jesus said for us to go into all nations, that he was speaking to us, and to our children.
At one point in our marriage, we applied to the IMB to go on the field and serve. God closed that door for us, and it seemed instead that we were to raise Christian kids who were committed to the Lord, to ministering to others and to going out to spread the gospel. We had always prayed that our children would find the center of God’s will for their lives and commit to serve him there. But, I have to admit, when God said, “East Asia” to our daughter and family, I (for a short time) was saying, “now wait a minute, Lord.” The third verse of Keith Green’s song I referenced above starts out, “Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel”.
We went to East Asia in March last year. Through our son-in-law, we met a man who had plans to start an “International School”. He was a believer and a pastor of a small church there. His vision of an International School had a definite Christian slant to it. They visited with us about becoming involved. They knew we were retired educators and believers. They wanted us to go there, train teachers and work to help get this school up and running. Although it was intriguing, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how we could possibly do that. They wanted us to come for about six weeks. I really couldn’t see how we could be gone that long. All I could think about was, “Who will tend to our place? Who will feed my horses? How can we be gone that long?” In retrospect, those were all really just excuses.
In May of last year, we went with Drew Taylor, our University and Global Outreach Minister, most of the Missions Committee, and a few others from the church to the SEND Conference in Frisco, Texas. David Platt, President of the IMB, was one of the speakers. He preached from the story of Esther (Esther 4). He spoke about how God had placed Queen Esther in a unique position to be able to influence her husband (King Xerxes) on behalf of her people (the Jews who were held captive by Xerxes). She was influenced by her uncle, Mordecai, a wise and courageous man. His famous quote found in Esther 4:14 reads, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” I think there were probably 3,000 people in that crowd that day, but David Platt had somehow singled me out and was speaking directly to me. He spoke about how God has prepared me (and Kathie) to go to Asia and be his instrument in helping to start this (Christian) school. (In a place where there are, by the way, NO Christian schools.)
People ask us from time to time about having children and grandchildren who are serving the Lord in a far away place. We deal with it by simply trusting God, the One who has called them to go. I cannot say that it is not hard from time to time and that we don’t occasionally ask questions. But the answer always comes back to the fact that He has called all of us, just like Jesus called out his disciples to go and just like he prepared and placed a beautiful young woman in a position where she could serve God for such a time as this. Everyone of us must ask if God has placed us, even prepared us, for such a time as this.
Mike grew up in a Christian home in Amarillo. He came to faith in Christ as a 12 year old boy at South Lawn Baptist Church in Amarillo. He attended college at Wayland Baptist University where he met and married his wife, Kathie. As a young couple, they dedicated their home to Christ early in their marriage. On graduation from Wayland, they traveled to Perth, Western Australia. Kathie taught high school science in a Perth suburb; Mike worked as a wildlife biologist for the Museum of Western Australia. They lived in Australia just short of two years. During that time they attended South Perth Baptist Church. To this day, they still communicate with several Christian people whom they knew in the church in Australia including the pastor of the church.
On returning to the US, they made their new home for almost 10 years at Hale Center, Texas, Kathie’s home town. Mike’s first teaching job was at Hale Center High School where he taught science. Mike also taught at Perryton High School. He has served as school principal at Lefors ISD and at Canadian High School. He served as superintendent of schools at Olton ISD and retired from the superintendent’s position at Perryton ISD in 2010 when they moved to a home southwest of Amarillo and began attending and joined First Baptist Church of Canyon. During all of those years in all of the places they lived, they were active members of their churches.
Mike and Kathie have three children; Matt, A and Rebekah, all of whom are active, growing Christians and who are married to active, growing Christians. All of their children and their spouses are engaged in Christian ministry in some way. They have ten grandchildren who are the joy of their lives.