Upon graduating college, we thought every 22 year-old Christian wanted to move to another country to tell people about Jesus. After all, how could anyone not want to? An opportunity to serve God in a new place and tell people the good news of the Gospel, lots of learning and challenges, a big adventure… the list goes on! But was this just an idea that sounded fun to us or was this what God was calling us to do? We wanted a sure answer to that question before taking any big steps. Following wise advice given to us, we spent the first few years establishing our marriage, getting involved in our church, and chipping away at student loans. The second page of Carrie’s journal in January 2014 asked two questions: “What would You have us do? Where would You have us go?” We prayed throughout that year that God would give us direction.
In December 2014, we had dinner with Scott and Bethany McEwan, missionaries sent by our church to Nicaragua, while they were in Indiana for Christmas. Carrie knew Scott and Bethany from high school and from a mission trip to Nicaragua in 2013 when she filled in last minute for someone who couldn’t go. At the end of dinner, Scott told us they had been praying for the last year that we might consider moving to Nicaragua to work alongside them. They knew the desires the Lord had planted in our heart and the harvest is plentiful in Nicaragua. They needed more laborers! When you are praying for God’s direction, then two missionaries that you really respect tell you they’ve been praying for you and ask you to come work with them, you don’t necessarily do exactly what they say but you do consider it! We didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of our journey towards Nicaragua.
Seeking God’s Calling
A particular vision casting session with Eric, Carrie’s Dad, stands out in our minds. We had three categories on the whiteboard: “Nicaragua,” “Australia” and “Other.” Other represented the rest of the world. Each of those categories were legitimate options in our mind. Those of you that know us might find yourself smiling right now :) We listed out what ministry and life might look like in each category. What fit and why? We were surprised to find ourselves getting really excited about a potential future in Nicaragua.
We traveled with a group of high school students and several adults from ZF to Nicaragua in March 2015. This trip served a dual purpose for us. We work with the high school ministry at ZF so we were excited to spend time with and serve alongside the high school students. But the trip was also a vision trip for us. We spent seven days with the team in Managua then dropped the team off at the airport and spent the next four days with the McEwans in Leon. We attended their church for Easter Sunday, met some of the students in their ministry, looked at houses to rent, and shared Easter dinner with the other local missionaries. Throughout those four days I think we asked the maximum number of questions you are ever allowed to ask someone in a 96 hour period :) Before our plane left the tarmac in Managua, we were brainstorming board members and calculating the next time we could come back.
While our hearts were ready we forced ourselves to slow down and commit this decision to the Lord. We are very passionate people so “heart checks” occur frequently in the Moss household. We have to remind ourselves just because we are excited about an idea does not always mean we should go for it. :) So we prayed “not what I will but what You will” (Mark 14:36). After several months of prayer and conversations with mentors and friends, we confirmed God was calling us to Nicaragua and began conversations with the elders and Missions Resource Team at ZF.
In January of 2016 we had the opportunity to lead a trip for 17 students from Covenant Christian High School to Nicaragua to work with the McEwans. Through living with a host family, God gave us a more realistic picture of what life in Nicaragua will be like. As much as we love hanging out with American teenagers, missionary life in Leon will seldom include American teenagers! We experienced, though in abbreviated form, the loneliness and culture shock that we will experience upon moving to Nicaragua. We connected with several other missionaries working in Leon, advanced our Spanish, learned more about Nicaraguan history and culture, and had a blast with some of the 17 greatest high school students you’ll ever meet!
We are so glad that God’s ways are higher than our ways. As people we are all about the “end,” which in this case is moving and starting ministry in Nicaragua. God is all about the process. He has much work to do before we are ready to move to Nicaragua and He uses every step of the process to prepare us. We ask Him to use our ransomed lives in the way HE chooses. We desire that every decision of our life be “directed by the magnetic pull of God’s purpose.”