Called and Willing
“The first two times I was approached about it, my response was, ‘No way!’ Even if we could manage to afford it, I couldn’t leave the kids. And I get airsick, so the thought of flying was overwhelming. But the third time someone mentioned it to me, I started to think: “What if God is calling me to go?”
One thing that intrigued her was the fact that a major part of the team’s mission in Prague was to help provide English classes for university students. Mandy has been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) for several years through her church, Leesburg Grace Brethren, and her passion for the ministry has grown. “I realized my experience could be an asset over there,” she shares.
Within weeks, things started to fall into place. “My mom said she’d come up from Florida and stay with the kids. We started saving up for the trip, but gifts started to come in, and I had all my support raised three weeks before it was even due!”
She points out that even though half the team has never taught ESL before, it shouldn’t be a problem for them to help the Czech students with their English. The classroom can hold 24 chairs; a few weeks ago the team was told they might have to plan on standing the whole time, because 22 students were signed up. These will be new contacts for the Prague team.
The team will be teaching classes in the morning, and sightseeing with small groups of students so they can practice their English in the afternoon. They will also be sharing their testimonies with the Prague church, and encouraging the women in various ways. Many of them are the only believers in their families, so the team will be sharing ideas on how to have spiritual conversations with family members and friends. They will also be sharing some Bible study hints.
Mandy is especially excited that there are also a few students who are learning Spanish and need help, and she has been entrusted with the extra responsibility of helping them. She was born in Ohio when her missionary parents, Tom and Susan Sharp, were on furlough. By the time she was six weeks old, her family had returned to their ministry on the Mexican border. When she was 3, her father was diagnosed with cancer and they returned to the US. He passed away when she was 4. Her mother remarried when Mandy was 6, never dreaming that a year later her new husband would feel called to Mexican border ministry.
Mandy met her husband, Dave, on Operation Barnabas. They became friends when they both attended Grace College, then started dating. They have two children, Noah, 4, and Elise, almost 2. Dave grew up in the Czech Republic, where his parents, George and Cindy Swain, still serve as missionaries, and will be the hosts for this team.
Mandy is just one member of a team that has been willing to answer the call to minister in the Czech Republic. When asked how we can pray for the team, Mandy shared:
That we will work together well as a team
That everyone will stay healthy
For open doors and open hearts for the students
For wisdom to take advantage of opportunities
For Miriam, the team leader, who will have just returned from ministering in Africa and will not have a chance to rest before leaving again.
What a privilege we have to support these women in prayer! Pray for them as they leave Sunday, June 17. They will return June 30.
To learn more about the team members, go to www.wgusa.org/czech-team-2012.
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