Today were are pleased to hear from our good friends and part of our team, the Spanns. Here is Mary Beth sharing in her words about their involvement:
I first met the Osborns nearly seven years ago when I was front-desk-girl and Elizabeth was errand-girl at Grace Church. My husband and I also served with them in Student Ministry, which is where we first saw Joseph and Elizabeth’s desire to serve others. This is also where I got my first taste of Joseph’s humor and considered it a personal challenge to become as funny as him… (seven years later and I’m still working on it). And as for Elizabeth, I discovered she was a combination of MacGyver*, Betty Crocker, and Caroline Ingalls*, which now I know is perfectly suited for life in the bush.
As you may know, the Osborns had the dream of moving to a far-off land to tell others about Jesus long before it actually came to fruition. Our Elders at Grace challenged them with sticking around Greenville so that they could build community within the local church instead of taking off right out of college. It wasn’t easy, but Joseph and Elizabeth decided to put themselves under the authority of our Elders and postpone their mission…For YEARS…8 to be exact. My point in bringing this up is that Donald and I are among those who “benefited” from this delay. Not only did we get a chance to get to know them a little before they left for their New Tribes training in Missouri, but upon their return to Greenville, we were excited to have them in our Community Group for 18-months.
While in our group, they blessed, encouraged, and challenged us by their participation and willingness to be vulnerable. I think sometimes people mistakenly believe missionaries are “extra spiritual,” as if they have “arrived,” and therefore are the ones who can go off and help others on such an extreme level as living without hot water and… Target. But this is not the case! While the Osborns have been gifted in several areas that are advantageous to their mission, they are still broken people in need of a Savior… a Savior who is faithful and who has redeemed them through His work on the cross… And it is because Joseph and Elizabeth realized the depth of their sin and the great hope they have in Jesus they were compelled to become missionaries in the first place. And going back to the community group concept, they, like all believers, need biblical community. Although we are far apart location wise, their team of supporters, who are praying for them, following their every move through their blog, and supporting them financially is crucial, both physically and spiritually.
As Christians, we are to go into the world, preach the gospel and make disciples (Mark 16:15, Matt 28:19). Does this mean ALL of us are supposed to leave SC (or wherever) and join the Osborns in PNG or some other remote location? It may mean that for some of us, but probably not for most. We are to be mission minded wherever we are! Being mission minded means loving and being bold with the non-believers around us AND supporting those who, like the Osborns, depend on others while taking the good news of Christ to unreached people.
Because we, as believers, are to be managers and not owners of our resources, we are to faithfully give back what the Lord has entrusted us with. For our family, part of that “giving back” is supporting the Osborns. I’m sure you’ve heard the verse, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:21). This is so true! If we are investing in the things of this world, we are going to get wrapped up in them. In contrast, if we have a kingdom mindset and invest in the things of Jesus, our hearts will follow. What a joy it is to invest in Osborn Mission. It’s fun for Donald and me to think of ways we can support them more. From negotiating our monthly garbage bill down to simply sharing part of a bonus or raise, there are lots of opportunities to be courageously generous.
Impacting the Next Generation
As we try to be mission minded and faithful with our resources, we are building kingdom values into our children. Our four-year-old, Charley, knows when the sun stops shining here, it starts shining for Belle and Lucy, and apparently when it stops raining here, it starts raining for Belle and Lucy (we are working on that concept). She can tell you that Mr. Joefuss and Ms. Elizabeth and their family are “far far away” because they are telling people about Jesus. She hears our prayers for them and for the relationships they are building. She will soon understand that we are making certain money decisions so that Belle and Lucy’s family can continue to live in PNG. While our younger children aren’t as aware of what’s going on right now, they soon will be! We have a life-long partnership with Joseph and Elizabeth, and our children will grow up hearing about the stories from PNG and God’s faithfulness. And not only will our children be impacted, but so will the children in PNG who come in contact with the Osborn family. They might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear about Jesus!
So there you have it… a taste of why we have chosen to be a part of the Osborn Mission team. It is truly humbling to have a part in supporting Joseph, Elizabeth, Belle, Lucy, Everett, and Baby Girl. Watching their “Life in PNG” video makes me cry EVERY time, and their “Hoax’s Testimony” video is so stinking amazing…What an encouragement. Take a moment and watch that video now! That is what it’s ALL ABOUT.
*If you don’t know who MacGyver or Caroline Ingalls are, you really should… Try Google, or even better, Netflix!