As we announced in our recent newsletter, we have responded to an amazing Kingdom opportunity by forming a partnership with Team Expansion, an organization based out of Louisville, KY which has missionaries in many corners of the world. Our relationship with Team Expansion truly starts with knowing multiple missionaries who have served with them; both in long-term service and with short-term internships. Because of these connections, we have always respected what we knew about their focus and work organizationally.
We also were excited last year when Brandon and Maleah Weiss, who serve on the board for FCM, announced that they were taking positions with Team Expansion. They will soon join the support staff at the Team Expansion headquarters (learn more about their family here). Their love for supporting missionaries is why we love having them on our board, and why we know that they will be a blessing to Team Expansion. While this connection seemed tertiary at one point, it now feels like it was an early reveal into God’s plans for this partnership.
The more direct path to this partnership began at the International Conference on Missions in November 2016 (five weeks before we came to France). For the workshops, I was drawn to some offerings on multiplying disciples. As it turned out, these workshops were an overview of a whole training called Jonathan Training. Team Expansion is often involved with this training by using it as one facet of training their workers, by hosting it, and by having their workers ultimately serve as trainers. During the conference workshops, I knew that I was interested in some of what they were discussing, but I also knew that we were leaving far too soon for me to even think about taking the training before our departure. So I set the whole thing aside in my mind for a while.
After being in France for a few months, I began to become more and more convinced that I needed to take the Jonathan Training as an aid to our goals for serving in France. I began praying about it and discussing it with Jessica and our board. Last Fall I sought for a good opportunity and found that Team Expansion was hosting a Jonathan Training at Johnson University in Tennessee in February 2018. After working out all the details, I woke up one day in December and decided to prioritize finalizing this opportunity by buying airline tickets and registering for the training. I was ready to go! As an important note, Doug Lucas, President of Team Expansion, was one of the three trainers for this offering.
Later that same day things got crazy. I got an email from another board member (Mark Pike). He was giving me a heads up that he had bumped into Doug Lucas at a special lunch that very day and that I should be hearing from Doug soon. Within an hour, I got an email from Doug stating his desire to set up a call with me, because Team Expansion had been seeking an opportunity to establish a team in Paris. In my response to Doug I told him about having registered for the training that very same morning (the one he was offering!), and I think we both knew that we were on the cusp of discovering that God had plans for us.
Doug and I had a fantastic and encouraging phone call a few days later, and things began to take shape from there. My time at the Jonathan Training was amazing, and there were more opportunities to discuss with Doug and others about how a partnership between us would operate.
Then for a week in April, a representative from Team Expansion, along with our board member Mark Pike, came to Paris so that we could hash out the final necessary details in order to sign an accord making this partnership official. Now we are working to prepare for future team members (long-term and short-term). We will be building up a Team Expansion team of which we are the leaders and have the responsibility of driving the vision forward. It is so exciting to both have this opportunity to impact Paris more and to have this great organization helping us with their incredible experience and resources.
It truly feels like God had this plan in the works for a while, and we have all just caught up in understanding what he was placing before us. As such, we trust in and rely on Him for blessing this partnership and allowing us all to accomplish much more than we could ever dream. We hope to be a team united together, because we are united in Him, so that the world will hear.