Throughout our lives, both of us have considered working as missionaries. During our summers working with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, we worked with co-workers from around the world and continued to develop a heart for people of other cultures. Together, we have considered doing ministry outside of the United States. In 2008, Rebecca learned first-hand about the ministry done by schools for missionary kids when she volunteered for two weeks at Evangelical Christian Academy in Spain. Ryan received his masters degree in theology that spring, and the next school year he paid the bills by working with middle school kids at an after school program. This spring, Rebecca will graduate with an education degree, specializing in teaching English as a second language. It is evident that God has been preparing us to work in his kingdom, and we have been asking God to show us where in his kingdom he would have us work.
We have been considering moving to Colombia since November of 2009, when we talked to the director of El Camino Academy (ECA), which is an English-medium Christian School in Bogotá that exists primarily to serve missionary families and other expatriates. The school is made up of over 270 students from Colombia, the United States, Korea, and many other parts of the world (for more information about . Bogotá is a city of nine million people, both rich and poor. Some of the ministries that the school and its families are involved in include churches, nutrition centers, orphanages, homes for pregnant teens, missionary training, translation for medical teams, musical ministry and evangelism. Teachers are important to all this work because, as Wycliffe Bible Translators puts it, “in order for missionaries to be effective in their work, they need to know that the educational needs of their children are being met.”
Rebecca did the first half of her student teaching at ECA, knowing that there was a good possibility that we would be returning together. While she was there, she saw how we could be a contributing and learning part of the body of Christ in that place. Towards the end of her time there, we applied to work as a middle school Bible teacher and an ESL specialist, and so they are expecting us this fall! We see working at ECA as the first step in our journey of serving God as a married couple. Through this experience, God will prepare us for further kingdom work, whether that be back in the United States teaching in public schools and higher education or whether that be working with unreached people groups in more remote areas.