“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Invitation633 is a blog kept by a missionary family who see this verse as a motto in life. A couple with six children, they have just completed the busy process of moving from Indiana to North Carolina to work for SIM International.
In all they do, Bob and Mary strive to seek God’s kingdom in all areas of their lives. This verse has been a foundational promise and theme over the past four years, as God has faithfully moved them to become missionaries with Sports Friends.
Bob and Mary both have a heart for God, and have long felt drawn to international ministry. Before they were married, they had been on several short-term trips. Bob worked professionally in graphic design, and Mary as a physician assistant. After they were married in 2006, their family was formed around a commitment to follow Jesus wherever He would lead. By 2012 they had five children: two biological and three by adoption in Ethiopia. At the end of 2015, God called their family to full-time ministry work, and they moved to Western Australia in 2016 to serve and train at a YWAM base. After Mary studied at the Birth Attendant school, the family began their outreach in India working in hospitals, churches, and any other opportunity they could find to share the love of God.
During their stay in India and Australia, they had been praying for God’s next steps for their family, and realized they needed to live in their home culture while working internationally for the next few years. They had been corresponding with SIM since 2016, and learned about missionary needs in the International office, located in the USA. After much prayer and consideration, Bob and Mary felt called by God to serve with SIM’s sports ministry department, Sports Friends. They moved back home to Indiana to raise support, and they began to work part-time from home.
Bob is now the graphic designer for Sports Friends. Mary has a love for writing, though she had never written professionally, and was asked by Sports Friends to write for their blog in addition to invitation633.com. Mary continues per diem medical work in the ER/urgent care setting, and serves with the Disaster Response team through Samaritan’s Purse.
Through this long voyage in following the Lord, Bob and Mary have experienced several hurdles along the way into full-time ministry work. Since they now have six children (God gave them a surprise in India!), it is difficult finding child care when they are in need of it. For each decision Bob and Mary have to make, they have to consider if it is good for their children as well. They trust God only to lead them into what is best for every member of their family. Raising support by speaking to churches and individuals has been a challenge as well. It is sometimes difficult to communicate in a way their audience can understand, about how they are raising funds to work domestically, to support ministry internationally. During these challenges, God has taught them to have patience and to draw near in their faith to Him. This long, drawn out voyage has been a place for them to allow God to work in them and through them.
Bob has been amazed at God’s abundant provision. God has provided for the family countless times, whether it was where they should move, or whom they should reach out to, or how they would reach a goal, God was always there. Bob has seen how powerful God is as He provides everything for them. This journey has also taught Bob to have a total reliance on God. He has had the privilege of seeing his favorite Bible verse realized in front of him over the years, as he sees the craziness in life unfold and the ride become faster: Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God will complete what He began in Bob’s family, as Bob has witnessed over the years.
Mary has learned to stay committed to what God has called them to do, however life looks at the moment. She is also amazed at how their supporters have stayed committed with them all along the way. Mary naturally likes to find the solution for problems; to fix them. Throughout many major transitions and assignments that feel beyond her, she has had to practice living like God is truly the provider of all things. She has had to refuse her impulse to be self-reliant, and instead depend on God to supply all they need while she does the work He gives. From Psalm 37, Mary knows that God does what He says He will do, and God is who He says He is; God is always faithful.
As Bob and Mary begin this next chapter in their lives, they realize this is not an end, but a new chapter in their voyage. As they seek God with each step, they will find Him and draw closer to Him. This time of moving and becoming full-time missionaries with Sports Friends is exciting, and they are ready to dive fully into the plans God has set before them in order to further His kingdom.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
Written by Callie West, Sports Friends Communications Intern