In sharing stories about missions and missionaries with enthusiastic preschoolers, Kathryn Nunnelley began to sense God’s call in her own heart.
She took note of stories “about just regular families who were on mission,” Nunnelley recalled of her Missions Friends involvement.
“It just really started stirring my heart that my family could also be on mission” by “living out our faith” in a way that could stir people’s hearts to find Jesus.
That gradual realization was among the factors that prompted Kathryn and her husband Matthew to venture from Alabama to invest their lives as missionaries in New England. They currently are helping provide leadership as Mission Service Corps missionaries at a church start in the capital city of Montpelier, Vt.
Matthew serves as associate pastor and worship leader of Capital Community Church and they both are members of the church planter team. Focusing primarily on ministry to children, Kathryn teaches older children’s Bible study, directs Bible Quest Camp (the church’s version of Vacation Bible School) and volunteers with the church’s community playgroup.
“We do basically whatever the church needs,” Kathryn said. “Where gaps are, we fill them. We’re here to serve.”
Mentors & missions
So how did the Nunnelleys’ transition to New England unfold? The bottom line, Kathryn said, is that “we just felt God was calling us to go.”
Kathryn and Matthew married in 2000, two weeks after they both graduated from the University of Alabama. The newlyweds moved to Anniston, Ala., and became involved in Matthew’s home congregation — Chulafinnee Baptist Church in nearby Heflin.
“I was a new Christian so it was really my first time to serve a church and they put me right to work,” Kathryn recounted. “It was a great time of learning from mentors who had been there for years.”
Chulafinnee Baptist “is where I got introduced to Mission Friends and WMU [Woman’s Missionary Union] and missions education,” she added. Their local church experience “really strengthened us and we both started feeling the call to more than what we were doing.”
Searching for mission options through the North American Mission Board website, Kathryn said they kept feeling drawn to a ministry opportunity in Worcester, Mass.
“We had a 1-year-old when we started feeling the call,” she said. “We both had full-time jobs. I was a teacher at a high school. Matthew owned his own business. We had the American dream. We had our own house and lived close to our parents but we just felt like God was calling us to go.”
They ended up making a connection with Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Worcester and made the transition in 2007 to serve there as church strengtheners.
“That was a great experience — a lot of growth and just learning how to love anybody and everybody,” Kathryn affirmed. In ministering to the homeless community, former convicts, families with financial struggles and others, she said, “We got exposed to a lot of different kinds of people and learned to see them the way God sees all of us.”
Leading a Children in Action group in that setting, she said the children’s missions education program “is a great way to expose them to the idea that God calls all of us as Christians to share the Gospel with others.”
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Source: Baptist Press