The Mythical Statement: “So, traveling in full-time evangelism must be just one big vacation for your family,” says the concerned non-supporter.
Yes, indeed, we travel to many different places (all around the globe) in these 25+ years of ministry. Our family travels broadly in the U.S.A. Engaging all ages with the Gospel, Enriching believers with Bible teaching, and Encouraging Christian leaders. When we arrive in one of our nearly 200/year venues, we set up chalk equipment, fellowship with church and community leaders, deal with preliminary and post-meeting paperwork and scheduling, as well as take care of a family regarding home-school and parenting. We also maintain a home in Pulaski, Virginia, just like any other working family, in addition to maintaining an RV which gets used year-round. Dwight must develop Bible messages and drawings according to God’s leadership which requires spending time in prayer and study. Ann develops new music for our ministry as well as manages our missions display materials, set-up, and tear-down at each ministry location. So, we work diligently to keep the ministry going throughout the year.
Do we see wonderful sights in our beautiful America? Yes, traveling allows us to see and experience this remarkable country like few others can. Our family tries to stop in small towns as well as big cities to explore the historical and contemporary educational opportunities available as we are going into all the world to preach the Gospel. We also witness to many along the way, often praying and sharing resources with people we meet. Amid the travels, Dwight continues to keep up with correspondence and paperwork for the ministry–a never-ending task. And, as parents, Dwight & Ann take time with their two daughters to talk, eat meals together, and play as any parent should do. But, we are by no means on “vacation” when traveling for ministry. We are meeting the needs of a community, working mainly with small churches, church planters, multi-ethnic congregations, and community events and organizations to further the Good News of Jesus Christ. And, over a third of the year is spent in local churches, camps, revivals, and VBS ministry in Southwest VIRGINIA, giving back to our home church and surrounding communities. We maintain a relationship in supporting our local church, tithing, and working when possible locally to minister the Gospel and shine the light of home-missions.
What about VACATION? We discovered that we do have to schedule a vacation into our calendar. We tend to plan this during Virginia’s snowy winter season of January or February. We are not extravagant, but we do emphasize family and find a very enjoyable venue. This being the off-season in many areas, we can plan ahead to make very economical plans as wise stewards of our missions support. So, we feel we are not “taking advantage” of those who sacrificially give to support our family in ministry. Electronics and Internet are put aside for a couple of weeks so that we can just enjoy the time together wherever we choose to go. It’s a rest, a change of pace, and a much needed break from the routine just like in anyone else’s life.
If you could see, hear, and experience a single chalk-art service, you would say as Pastor Wayne Graves said about our time in Ada, Oklahoma: “Your Ministry has so touched our small community that we will never be the same again!” To do that kind of ministry, we must maintain a healthy balance mentally and physically in our family. We enjoy the work of evangelism as a full-time ministry, and God chooses to use this unique ministry for His glory to draw many to Christ. As missionaries to America, we appreciate the support of churches and believers to keep us in ministry as a family.