Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why Would An American Pastor & His Family Leave Home and A Great Church To Go To A Third-World Country and An Unreached People Group As Missionaries?

This is a great question and let me tell you--we have been asked it many a time. To answer it, let me break it down into three smaller bite-size questions...Why Missions?, Why Us?, and Why Now?

Pondering these three questions are what God really used to help Nancy, myself, and our family come to the decision to leave the pastorate to pursue overseas missions in Cameroon for the purpose of reaching an unreached people group with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The first question--Why Missions? is pretty cut and dry. Missions is near and dear to the heart of God and because we love God whatever is near and dear to His heart is near and dear to ours as well. As John Piper puts so well, "Missions exists because worship doesn't." So, if we want to see God worshipped in all the people groups of the earth we will be interested in missions because that is what the great task of missions is all about--engaging unreached people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ so God gets the glory and they get eternal joy.

But what about the second question--Why Us? I mean, why leave a successful pastorate, a church that we love and loves us, people who are growing under our ministry, and the place we call home within 15 years of when most people in the U.S. retire to go to a place that many have never heard of? What in the world would possess a middle-aged couple with four kids still at home to leave all that they know, are comfortable with, and enjoy, not to mention their three older kids who are out on their own to go to an unreached and really unengaged people group to tell them about Jesus, see people come to Christ, disciple them, and start a church multiplication movement among them?

Well, I think the answer is in the question. We wouldn't be asked the question if we didn't want to go and that's the answer--we want to go! Listen, if you want to do something that not very many people want to do and in fact would not give a second thought to--maybe you should. Maybe the fact that you want to do it is indicative that God has given you a desire that is not, for lack of a better word, "natural" or "normal". Our desire to go to Cameroon and give ourselves to this challenge of reaching an unreached people group with the Gospel for the glory of The NAME is the driving force behind our going.

Secondly, we have the ability to go. Many people at our age are saddled with any number of encumbrances that prevent them from considering missions. We aren't. We are not in debt. We are not caring for aging parents. We are in excellent health and we have no binding commitments that would tie us here. All-in-all, we are free to go.

So, we have the desire to go, the ability to go, and finally--the tools to go.
We have ministry training, education, skills, experience, and the battle scars to prove it. Whereas, we have a great deal to learn about Cameroon, missions, and the unreached people group we want to live among--we are not novices when it comes to ministry. Therefore, who better to go than a couple who have taken a few laps around the block?

The last question--Why Now?--is not hard to answer when you consider that I just turned 50 last January. What that practically means is that the time we have to invest in missions is realistically between 15 to 20 years. Given the fact that it can take anywhere from one to three years to raise support and at least a year to pursue language school and hopefully pass I am looking at being almost 55 years old by the time we would get to Cameroon. While Nancy and I are hopefully getting "better", we sure aren't getting younger and thus the reason why now.

So with all this in mind, the real question we were left with was not Why Missions, Why Us, and Why Now? but rather "Why Not Missions, Why Not Us, and Why Not Now?"

REACHING THE FULBE~A Vision of The Possible

The Situation In Africa Among The Fulbe:

Well over Thirty-million unreached Fulbe people live in north-west Africa. They, for the most part, have never been engaged with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These thirty-million people live in thousands of villages and small towns scattered throughout the “bush” in countries such as Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, and the Central African Republic. These are thirty-million unreached Muslim people who because of geographic, cultural, logistical, and climatic challenges as well as the fear of religious persecution have been neglected and left without a Gospel witness. These thirty-million Fulbe people make up one of the largest blocks of unreached and unengaged people groups in the world.

The Situation In Cameroon Among The Fulbe:

There are over 1.6 million Fulbe people living in Cameroon--most of whom have never been engaged with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no churches or pastors among the Fulbe in Cameroon. However, since Cameroon is presently not a closed country, there is a huge opportunity to engage these people with the Gospel, see people brought to faith in Christ, discipled, and a church-planting movement begun among them. Thus, there is a need for pioneer church-planters to go to Cameroon to engage the Fulbe people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be the workers God's Spirit uses to establish a church-planting movement among the Fulbe people that extends from Cameroon to Northwest Africa.

My family and I believe God is calling us to go and become one of these pioneer church planting families who will go to Cameroon and live among the Fulbe so as to engage them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During our first term, we are planning to start or oversee an existing orphanage in a small Fulbe town or village in the midst of a high concentration of Fulbe villages. We will use the orphanage as a means of being a blessing to the people as well as a platform by which to engage them with the Gospel and ultimately plant indigenous Bible churches among the Fulbe people of Cameroon.

In order for us to live, serve, and provide for the orphanage's needs in Cameroon we need to raise monthly financial support. Some of this support will also be used to start a school for the orphans as well as in community development projects such as digging wells to provide fresh water to the villages. Presently, God has provided us with about 68% of our support needs through the generous giving of our home church, Covenant of Grace Bible Church, and individuals who have a vision for pioneer church planting among the unreached. Once our monthly support and outgoing expenses* are raised and we complete our French studies, Fulfulde language & culture acquisition studies as well as tie up our loose ends here in the States (ie: selling or renting our house, finishing our ministry at COGBC, etc.)we will board a plane for our new home and ministry in Cameroon. We are hoping to leave for Cameroon by the Fall of 2011.

*Outgoing expenses are those funds needed for flying us all to Cameroon as well as for moving, shipping a vehicle, purchasing equipment and supplies to live and minister in the "bush" of Cameroon, and to build or refurbish a place to live.

How You Can Be Involved:

1.Pray-Pray-Pray. Unless God opens the eyes of the Fulbe people to their need of Christ no one will be saved. This is His sovereign work and unless His Spirit gives the Fulbe people eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe our work will accomplish nothing in terms of their salvation. Please pray for our safety, health, strength, endurance, patience, wisdom, love, and for our last remaining support to be raised. Finally, pray for the Fulbe people to receive us as we care for their orphans and that God would use us to see a church-planting movement begun among them that extends beyond the 1.6 million Fulbe of Cameroon to the 30 million Fulbe of Northwest Africa.

2.Give if you are able and sense God calling you to be involved as a “sender” in this great work of engaging and reaching the Fulbe people with the Gospel. If you do decide to give—you can go to our mission agency's website at to find out how you can do this on line or you can call Commission To Every Nation at 1-800-872-5404. As an extra blessing, your gifts are tax-deductible. Please make sure to designate your gifts for Mark & Nancy Waite/Cameroon.

3.Come and join us. If God plants this desire within your heart and you are a hearty sort who likes a challenge and lots of elbow room with more than enough people to yourself to reach for Christ (1.6 million goes a long way)then prayerfully consider this as a worthy endeavor for your life or a portion of your life.

If you would like to know more please contact us at