The Clan Craig dates back to the early 1100's in Scotland, and long since has the family motto been the Latin phrase "Vive Deo et Vives" — Live for God and you shall Live. We hold fast to this motto today, which sometimes means doing unconventional things; but we truly believe that the only way to find fullness of life is to put God first. This means something different for every person. For us, it meant saying "yes" to go to the other side of the world. This is a snapshot of that story...
We were getting ready to start another year of home schooling and were wanting to incorporate world geography in our curriculum. As we researched creative ways to do this with our young children, we kept running across books about missions. What better way to learn about our world than to incorporate stories of God sending out His people to all nations? So we gathered some world atlases, geographical picture books, missionary biographies, and a book about some people groups in the world who are still waiting to get Scripture in their own language. We also gathered all the prayer cards of the missionaries with whom our church partners. At night we would pray for a different missionary, and for a people group waiting for the Bible. Well, what we intended for one purpose, God intended for another. He quickly took our family from complete ignorance about world missions to a daily awareness and compassion for His global Church.
Then last January (2013) our oldest daughter, Nori, who was 5 at the time, came to us and said that God was calling her to be a missionary. We responded that we were so excited for her, and the best part was that she could be a missionary right here and now in our hometown. We then prayed together about who God wanted her to share His story with. She was good with that, and went off to play.
A few days later Nori was back again. This time she said that God was telling her she needed to GO be a missionary! Again, we replied to her something like this: "We are so excited for you and what God is doing with your life! We will start praying now that He gives you wisdom and makes a straight path for you to whatever nation He is leading you to. We will even pray for your future husband, that he too will have a heart for missions, so that you can be like-minded in your service together." She was happy with that, and then went off to play.
Of course, a few days later she was back once again! Now she was even more insistent, saying God was telling her to go now! We replied that we felt like God had called us to be in Charlotte for the time being, and until He moved our hearts otherwise, we would be staying here. We told her that if she really felt strongly that this is what God was telling her to do, the best thing to do was pray.
Well, God was chuckling at us, because Nori was right. About halfway through the summer, John and I sat down and unanimously confessed that we felt God moving us into foreign missions. Then the big questions became Who, What, and Where. Who would we serve with? What would we be doing? And Where should we go?
One Friday night toward the end of the summer we set up a Skype call with some missionary friends serving in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We had just finished studying PNG, so the kids were excited about asking them some questions. Most of their questions were things like, "Where do you get your food from?", "Do you have to eat yams all the time?", and “Do you carry your baby around in a net bag on your head?” But the last thing that John and I wanted to know was how they chose PNG of all the places in the world.
They simply said that Papua New Guinea chose them and they talked about all the different ways that God unexpectedly dropped PNG in their path. That really resounded with us, and that night we prayed that God would make our decision that clear.
The next day John was outside as the kids rode bikes by the road and he noticed that there was a big yellow arrow spray painted on the road, pointing away from our house, with the letters "PNG" next to it. Of course, he instantly recognized it as where our gas company, Piedmont Natural Gas, had marked our gas line, but he never noticed it before and none of our neighbors had this "sign from God" in front of their homes. John didn't take it too seriously at the time, but was excited to come inside and share this "funny thing" in light of our prayer from the previous night.
God didn’t stop there though, He also answered our prayers for Who and What ! The next evening we were at an event at church where God placed us in a line next to some folks that had just come home from Papua New Guinea after serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators for 12 years. Our first thought was "Really? You've got to be kidding" and then our next thought was somewhat daunting as we considered having to learn Greek and Hebrew if God steered us into Bible translation.
That same night though, we connected with another couple that just so happened to work with Wycliffe thru aviation with JAARS and we scheduled a time to have dinner that week. Over dinner we got to hear amazing stories about airplane engineering, research, and development. As silly as it sounds now, we realized then that God gave John the skills that he already had in engineering and construction, because He needs those too!
We are now serving in Papua New Guinea thanks to our wild and creative God who can use a child, spray paint, or even a gas company to get your attention.
John is currently serving in the Construction and Maintenance department in Ukarumpa and is responsible for managing all sorts of projects on (and sometimes off!) center. Maintaining and updating the infrastructure and forging relationships are all critical to life and work in Ukarumpa, which serves as a central hub to Bible translators all across Papua New Guinea.
Kristi's primary role is home schooling our three children, Nori, Banner, and Millie. She also gets to be a pioneer woman though – keeping our home running in this environment where "by hand" and "from scratch" seem to follow every sentence.
John and Kristi also serve the youth in Ukarumpa as small group Bible study leaders for middle school and high school girls and boys. Thank you for all your prayers!