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Super Hero or Simply Human?

by A.J. a Pioneers writer

A teacher. An engineer. An arborist. A student. These professions seem pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary.

A missionary. Now what thoughts come to mind? Whether good or bad, people usually have some opinion of missionaries. But either way, seldom are missionaries thought of as just an "average Joe or Jill" going about their business.

What if the professions listed above were actually done by Pioneers missionaries? It's true. Behind each of these professions is a real person, with problems, personality traits and dreams like anyone else. They are normal people just trying to live their lives for God in some very far out places.

"It was 21 years from when I felt called to missions till I got over there..." explained Ron*, a Pioneers missionary in Eastern Europe. Ron and his wife Joy are teachers by profession and are now using their specialty to reach a mostly secular-Muslim society.

Ron and Joy, with their two children, know that they have sacrificed things to be there but say they wouldn't change it. "There are the inconveniences, the lack of water and electricity and the kids not seeing their relatives but no matter how hard it gets what keeps us going is the knowledge that this is where God has called us."

Bill, an engineer by trade and a Pioneers missionary, couldn't agree more. "I never had any desire to be a missionary but while I was at Bible College a missionary spoke and said, 'Your King remains un-glorified in the masses of Asia.'"

Those words along with subsequent interactions with various missionaries changed the direction of Bill's life and led to him working in Central Asia. One sacrifice for Bill was not having other Westerners around. "But I felt giving up fellowship was worth it if it meant eternal fellowship with the Braja* people."

Pioneers missionaries are often asked two questions?
-What it is that you actually do?
-What types of people do you need?

Just like "normal" people, they live ordinary lives. They pay bills, fight with their spouses, and laugh with their friends. The key is that, wherever they are, they are trying to share the Gospel with people who have never before had a chance to hear it.

"If you are willing to be obedient to God, he can use you," explained Jamie.

Missionaries are ordinary people just trying to live out God's call on their life with the hopes of seeing their newfound friends in heaven one day.

Farewell to Donnie

As many of you know, this summer brings transition to the Pioneers Canada family. Donnie Scearce, who has been our Canadian Director for the past 9 years, has been called to a new season of ministry as the Lead Pastor of North Park Community Church. Donnie's ministry at North Park, a strong supporter of Pioneers, will begin in September.

After 22 years serving in various roles in the Pioneers US office, the International team and most recently in Canada, Donnie will be missed by Pioneers Canada and by the international fellowship of Pioneers. It would be easy for us all to make the mistake of thinking that Donnie is the "property" of Pioneers. When we step back, however, we see that Donnie is moving within His Kingdom to a new role, for a new season of ministry that is equally a part of God's sovereign plan.

When I think of Donnie's time at Pioneers Canada, I'm reminded of Deuteronomy 11: 13-14 (NIV):

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today -- to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul -- then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil.

God has blessed Pioneers Canada under Donnie's leadership. Donnie has been instrumental in building Pioneers Canada into the organization it is today. Over 148 full - time workers serving in 23 countries and an outstanding office team are among the visible legacies that Donnie has created at Pioneers Canada.

Please join me in praying:

-for continued blessing on Donnie's ministry at North Park Community Church;

-that Donnie will continue to love the LORD our God and to serve Him with all his heart and with all his soul;

-for the Board of Pioneers Canada as we work to identify the next Director of Pioneers Canada.

Donnie, we thank you for your great leadership and direction of Pioneers. We wish you well in your new role and are thankful that because Beth is continuing in the office your family's influence in Pioneers will continue.

Jonathan Black
Chair, Pioneers Canada

Farewell from Donnie

Dear Friends,

In many ways it is hard to believe my time in serving Pioneers is drawing to a rapid close. After all, we joined Pioneers in the summer of 1989! The last eight years have been remarkable with Pioneers Canada, not the least of which has been new missionaries going to more unreached areas of the world. God has certainly answered our prayers in ways only He could do, and I leave with the confidence that He will continue to be faithful.

I also leave with the joy that Pioneers Canada has a great board and team serving from our new national office, which is being built as I write. Just today, the roof trusses are being placed on the frame of the building. Again God has been faithful to provide just the right people for our team and the finances needed to build.

I leave with a prayer of blessing for the next era of Pioneers development...


Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your great redemptive plan through serving with Pioneers over the last 22 years. Thank you for the growth in number of new workers and the growth in maturity you have steadily led us to embrace, even when it has been painful. Bless those who remain in the national office with a fresh sense of Your presence and empowerment that the next decade will be a new and clear testimony of your love and power at work. Bless those who serve in challenging situations around the world with continued courage and faith to trust you when the going gets tough. Grant continued wisdom to the board and leaders at Pioneers with "wisdom from above."(James 3:17) And Father, bless that Your Son will be known and exalted in places and among people where today He is not known. (Rom 15:20-21) Keep the passion burning for the people at local churches right across Canada who pray regularly and give generously for this work to continue. Thank you again for the privilege it has been to serve alongside such Christ-like friends and colleagues these last years. And finally, bless that the next decade will be an even greater testimony of your greatness than the last.

In Jesus name and for His glory, Amen.

With gratitude,

Wheelchairs in Darfur

by a PI worker in Africa

As we sat in a small room filled with refugees broken by the Darfur crisis, we looked them in the eyes and said, "You are not forgotten." Though the world announced the alarming statistics of the continuing conflict, these people were more than a number.

Inhabiting the numerous refugee camps in eastern Chad are three main people groups, each considered unreached by the gospel. Since there isn't any Scripture or indigenous churches among these people groups, our presence was to demonstrate the gospel in such a way as to build a bridge into their community.

With the generous help of multiple donors and organizations we were there to distribute specialized wheelchairs to the forgotten and disabled. One young man was a student struggling to get to school since he lost his right leg when the Janjaweed attacked his village. Many others were left paralyzed from polio during childhood. Their knees were callused from years of dragging their bodies through the rock-filled sand. As one man sat in his wheelchair, he was mobile for the first time in over 55 years. Parents of young handicapped children would break into wide smiles as their child drove away, chased by the other children in the village.

Distributing these wheelchairs was like giving people a new set of legs. They become independent, freeing themselves and their families to make a living in the harsh surroundings of the desert. As the wheelchairs were distributed, a Christian from a Muslim background explained to them the nature of this gift. In a culture where every action is done for personal gain, either to earn merit before God or to enhance their well being, the wheelchairs tangibly demonstrated the reality of God's free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. We freely give among those in need because we have freely received. Through simple acts of generosity we are accepted into communities that might otherwise reject our Christian presence.

God has not forgotten these remote unreached people groups and longs to make his light shine in their hearts so they understand the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

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