Merry Christmas from the Browns!
We just got our Christmas tree up, and we’re already writing our “Christmas” letter (a big step for us)! We hope your holiday season has started off well and your tree is up! Things are going well here. Life is busy and in full swing as we are enjoying our ministry at Dulles Community Church, spending time with our kiddos, and giving LOTS of piano lessons.
Robbie, who is eight and in 2nd grade, keeps busy playing with Legos and video games, practicing piano, losing teeth, and running around playing with his buddies. Avery, who is four and in preschool, learned to ride a bike this summer and is as happy-go-lucky as ever – following his brother around! Sydney is two now and talking and singing up a storm. Every place we go, someone is exclaiming how cute she is (what can we say?)!
The big news…
Two weeks ago we were officially “appointed” as missionaries with Africa Inland Mission. We hope to be moved to Nairobi, Kenya by next July to serve as full-time missionaries there! The process was prompted by Andy’s trip to North Africa which made a profound impression upon him. I (Lesa) had felt drawn towards missions, particularly Africa, since I was 15 and had pursued the subject in college and seminary.
So when he came back on fire, I wasn’t sure what to think! We prayed for four months. We eventually decided that we were being called to go somewhere, we just weren’t sure where!
We took a wonderful trip to North Africa and Kenya last spring, which confirmed our call and confused us at the same time. We came away leaning towards Sub-Saharan Africa, but were still unsure. We also came away with contacts and ideas of ministries there. We spent the summer praying and seeking out more possibilities.
Meanwhile, I was fighting going to Africa in my heart because of the difficulty of life there. However, doors were continually opening for an opportunity which we had heard about on our trip through Africa Inland Mission (AIM). God began teaching me what “surrender” and “trust” really means. By that point, all of the open doors with AIM were undeniable and we knew in our hearts that it was where God had been leading us.
In November, we went to “Candidate Week” at the US headquarters for AIM in NY. Andy’s mom came to Virginia to stay with the kids, so we ended up having a nice get-away, as well! The week went wonderfully – we made lots of friends and had many intense workshops and meetings. There we were appointed by AIM and knew that this was an organization we could trust and partner with.
Life in Africa
Our official, primary assignment with AIM is the new On-Field Media Team, whose purpose is to be “missionary storytellers,” a team with a unique set of technical and creative skills (sounds like Andy, huh!), serving both the mission and the missionary, encouraging the Church, for the glory of God. They will be field-based and mobile (through AIM AIR); able to go to any of the 18 African nations where AIM serves. The video, web, photography, articles and graphic art design they produce will serve to enhance the work of partnership development, recruitment, needs awareness, and prayer. Their goal is to “Declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3).
Unofficially, we are going as “worship leaders to missionaries” – to use our music to help refuel the missionaries to be able to serve from a place of spiritual and emotional abundance. This will happen whenever and wherever we have the opportunity – Bible studies, meetings, conferences, retreats, etc.
We’ve also always dreamed of assisting the African Church in equipping/ resourcing its musicians, as we have tried to do in churches here. We have a lot to learn about African culture/music and we want to assess what the real needs are – so we’ll participate in local churches at first as students of their culture.
Finally, I (Lesa!) will be busy with the kids and making our house a “home” in Africa – when I have time, I plan on checking out local ministries such as orphanages or national schools to see how and where I might volunteer regularly.
Robbie and Avery are becoming excited about the upcoming move. We plan for them to attend West Nairobi School, a private Christian (American) school, where there will be many other missionary kids for them to befriend. OH, and Sydney already says, “Jambo” (“hello” in Swahili)!
Partnering with us
As we have come to believe that this is God’s plan and desire to send us to be a part of His work in Africa through AIM, we are also placing ourselves fully in His hands for all of our needs. This seems scary, but we have a real peace that if this is what He wants us to do, He will provide the way for us to go.
Missionaries with AIM raise their full support – which means that all of their expenses, salary, etc. come from the body of Christ, which is sending them out as part of the Church’s commission from Christ to “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” We are seeking individuals and churches who want to be a part of our work and our lives in Africa through prayer (which is a huge need) and/or financial support in order to make the work possible.
Financially, you can partner with us in these ways: by contributing to our Outgoing Expenses or by making a monthly pledge for our Salary on the field. Our Outgoing Expenses target is $28,930, which will cover travel, household set-up in Nairobi, Orientation School, 2 months’ worth of salary, medical expenses, and shipping of our stuff. Our Monthly Support Target is $4,911, (you can see a specific break-down of all expenses on our website, as well as a link to contribute on-line). If you are feeling a call from God to join us through prayer or finances, you can send us the response card we included.
If you want details on any of this: our family (plus photos!), AIM, our ministry, our move, expenses, thoughts on missions in Africa, etc., you can go to our family website at www.brownfamily.ws. It’s a pretty cool site (why do you think I married a web-geek?)
Will you pray for us?
We will be sending out another update in a month or two. For now, we would love your prayers for us over the next two months as we begin the process of packing up and selling our house, doing loads of paperwork for moving overseas, and building our support team. Please pray that we will remain calm and trust in God’s provision and timing in all things. Please also pray for the On-Field Media Team as it gets started this year – that a solid foundation will be laid for a strong team.
We would also love to hear how you are doing and keep in touch with you. Please write us!
We love you all!
Have a Merry Christmas,
Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, and Sydney Brown