Speaking Hope

Missionary Spotlight: The Dunlops

Missionary Spotlight: The Dunlops

Recently, we sat down with the Dunlops, missionaries in South Africa who are in Canada on "home assignment." Read on to learn how God has been at work in their lives over the past few years!

What does trust in God look like in practice? Perhaps you can remember a time in your life when plans were set in motion and you followed through with the steps; however, inside, you felt a blockage, almost as if God was telling you to stop with your plans, listen to what he is saying and – through this trial, through this nudge – develop a new perspective. Maybe you made all these arrangements, ignored the voice, went through with the plans, and were left to wrestle with feelings of confusion, disconnection and displacement.

When we last sat down with the Dunlop missionary family in November 2022, they had recently decided to remain in South Africa, instead of returning to Canada to work in our London office. They weren’t sure why God was nudging them to remain, but every time they attempted to pack or move forward with their plans, there was a stirring in their hearts. They had questions, concerns and doubts, and God answered and soothed them with prayer and time. Now, a couple of years later, as they’re in Canada on furlough (or “home assignment” as Nathan thoughtfully refers to the term), in addition to raising support and keeping up with daily work remotely, the Dunlop family also has time in a different space to reflect on how God has worked through TWR’s global ministry over the last ten years they have served as missionaries.

While on “home assignment” in Alberta, the Dunlop family has realized that Canada no longer feels like home to them, as they have created such strong connections and ties in South Africa through their work and church there. While they felt uncertain as to why God was calling them to stay in South Africa, now they look back at that time and feel confident in the ways God has worked in their lives and through their decision to keep working in South Africa. Time after time they see evidence of how God is using TWR’s ministry to fulfill their calling to speak hope to the world. And they are excited to return to the field!

Nathan, who produces both audio and video content for TWR, often doesn’t see the direct impact of his work. However, he has been working on the sound design for the Legacy of Adam series, with TWR’s partner Norea, and through which, he mentioned, it has been rewarding to see God at work. Nathan loves being creative and finding novel ways to showcase God’s hopeful message and express that in engaging ways through video.

Through Megan’s member care work and spending time with TWR third culture children, she sees evidence of how, through her work, God makes children, adults and entire communities feel cared for and reminded that they are not alone. She writes newsletters for the missionary families, which help both parents and children form positive childhood experiences, building resiliency as well as a greater sense of community and belonging.

Megan loves bringing joy to those whom she interacts with as she positively looks forward and loves making plans for the future. She strives to implement what can be done to improve morale with more policies, best practices, and encouraging missionaries through more site visits. She mentioned that through her work, she can see notable cultural changes in the TWR offices. Through visits and intentional time spent together, there is an undeniable shared experience of appreciation and excitement, and God’s love and care are strongly felt.

Ultimately what the Dunlops have learned and continue to realize in greater depth is the importance of trusting in God. Missionaries have a lot to think about when it comes to traveling and working behind the scenes — beyond their daily operations, they also have visa applications, raising funds and taking care of children to think (and try not to worry) about.

When we feel lost, displaced and confused, nudges from God can be invitations to lean into the gift and support we garner from having trust and faith in God. While so many of us grapple with fear, shame and guilt, this is not what God wants us to feel. While these feelings prompt reflection on our actions and behaviours, God wants us to bring our burdens and doubts to him and have a close, trusting relationship with him. The Dunlops are a living example of what trusting in God looks like. But we all need support and a reminder that we’re not alone. Please pray for the family and consider supporting the Dunlops today!