People Like Me Don't Become Missionaries
At 18 I joined the military because, at the time — coming from a poorer family, that was the only way I could see to get an education. I served in the Air Force and in 1977 was stationed at CFB Moose Jaw. I lived as you might expect any other single young man in the military. I was in Moose Jaw for a year when a young lady came in as a new recruit.
Sandy has a version of how we met and I have a version – and I’m not going to tell either one. (And if you ever hear her version, she’s completely exaggerating.)
We started dating in July and almost from the first date she told me, “I don’t need Christ in my life, but you do.” That’s the truth. So, she just witnessed to me all the time and told me how I needed Christ in my life.
See, you have to know a bit about Sandy’s background. She came to know the Lord as a teenager, and after high school went on a short term mission trip to the Philippines. She went on this mission trip engaged and came back no longer engaged and it wasn’t her decision. So she was very angry with God and joined the Air Force.
Fairly soon in our relationship, we had an argument and Sandy went for a walk to think. She sat down on some steps and looked up. There was a cross on a church roof across the street. She truly cared about me, wanted a future with me, but knew that wasn’t how God had instructed her to live. She came back and told me, “I haven’t been living right before God and I need to do that.”And she broke up with me.
I was stunned. It wasn’t THAT big of an argument. This seemed to come from out of nowhere. I wanted an explanation and probed her answer, asked question after question – made her show me in the Bible where it said to not be unequally yoked.
That night, I asked Christ into my heart with Sandy at my side. God completely changed my life overnight. God took away my desire for everything I thought was fun and showed me how to live for Him. We were engaged in August and married in December.
Fast forward three years, I took an opportunity to work in the Arctic to make money. After 3 years, we moved back to Sandy’s hometown of Kenora, ON. We paid cash for a house. I gave Sandy cash to buy new furniture. We bought a car and I had a boat. We were debt free and thought we would be happy for the rest of our lives.
A friend of Sandy’s kept saying, “I think God is calling you and Sandy to be missionaries.”
I said, “I’m a diesel mechanic and an electrician. People like me don’t become missionaries.” I hadn’t been to seminary or Bible school. I didn’t like speaking in front of people. I hadn’t grown up in the Church and absolutely did not feel qualified to join the mission field.
We heard that Trans World Radio needed a diesel mechanic with experience on a specific kind of generators on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. After some investigation, I realized the generators I had worked on in the Arctic were the same kind being used on Bonaire. I finally understood why God had sent us to the Arctic — so I could be trained to go to Bonaire.
We were accepted by TWR, but had to raise our support. I was working full-time and we spent every Sunday driving to and from Winnipeg to speak trying to raise funding, dragging our kids on the 3-4hour drive each way. It wasn’t working.
It seemed obvious that God had called us into ministry, but we came to a crisis point. Sandy and I were standing in our kitchen and she said, “Ray, one of the reasons why we’re struggling to raise our support is that you’re serving two gods. You’re hanging on too tightly to our money and we can’t serve God at the same time.”
“God can have anything, but He can’t have my money.” Did I mention I had a boat?Sandy threw her hands up. “Then we’ll never get to the mission field.”
Took me two days to acknowledge she was right. We decided to sell the house, the car, the boat – all of it. I quit my job. We took that money and used it to move to southern Ontario and we lived off of that while we raised support.
We didn’t know anyone in Toronto, but here and there people stepped forward to help us by providing housing and opportunities to speak.We had our support in 6 months.
Alary Family - 1987 This was taken just before we boarded a plane in Toronto for Bonaire.
We’ve never had a lot of money, and there have been seasons where that’s been hard, but we’ve always had food and shelter and enough to help out others along the way too. Taking that first step to completely trust God, that backwards trust fall, is so hard to do. Sometimes God leads us in a direction we’re not sure we want to go in, but God always has a plan and a purpose even if we can’t see it yet.Has there been a situation in your life where you had to completely rely on God to supply your needs? SaveSaveSaveSave