Frontiers USA

John & Rachel's story

John and Rachel were never interested in missions. Nor were they concerned about reaching Muslims. Simply put, they weren’t the type of couple that most churches consider as candidates for overseas ministry.

Neither of them had grown up in the church. They were high school sweethearts who had successfully pursued the American dream. They had everything they thought they needed and more: well-paying careers, a nice house, and several cars. And yet, John and Rachel were miserable.

In His love, God had better plans for them. Just as their marriage was about to disintegrate, they both met Jesus Christ. They joined a church and began discovering that God’s vision for their lives was greater than their own. “He showed us that we were living in a vicious cycle,” John says. “The material things we thought brought us joy were the chains keeping us captive.”

Gradually, God replaced their desires for material things with a desire to bring Him glory. They started praying regularly with other families in their church. Oftentimes, their prayers were about the spiritual needs of the Muslim world.

When friends from their church joined a Frontiers team to reach Muslims with the Gospel in South Asia, John and Rachel supported them wholeheartedly. But serving on the field wasn’t something they ever considered for themselves. They were young believers and felt like spiritual babies.

“We were the last ones in our church you’d ever expect to be called overseas,” Rachel says. “We were the least equipped and had the least amount of knowledge about the Bible. We didn’t see ourselves as the type of people God could use.”

When the opportunity arose to visit their friends on the field for a week, John and Rachel volunteered. “We only wanted to go and encourage their team—that’s all we had in our minds,” Rachel recalls.

But they had no idea how God would use this trip to completely redirect their future.

Their short trip to South Asia was everything they were told it would be. It was fun and full of adventure, but also difficult, hot, and smelly. “We couldn’t even drink water from the tap,” Rachel remembers.

But while visiting the field, John and Rachel learned to depend on God in new ways and saw Him move powerfully. They watched as the Frontiers workers interacted daily with locals and shared the Gospel naturally and easily. They also got to meet several Muslim-background believers whom their friends were training to catalyze movements of faith in Jesus Christ.

John and Rachel returned from South Asia full of excitement. They reported to their church how God was working through their friends to make disciples and plant churches among Muslims. And yet there were still millions of Muslims in the region who had no one bringing them the Gospel. As a church body, they committed to pray for God to send more laborers to South Asia.

It wasn’t long, however, before normal life took over again. John and Rachel fell back into their routines, hardly seeing each other between their opposite work schedules. The excitement from their international adventure got pushed aside by daily demands.

Then, five months later during a typical winter afternoon, God shook them out of their routines. John was getting ready for his night shift when he sensed God ask him, “Do you love Me more than your things?”

“Yes,” John answered, “Those are just things. Of course I love you!”

“Do you love Me more than your security?” the Lord asked him.

“Yes, of course I do,” John replied as he felt something begin to stir in his heart. Where is God going with this, he wondered.

Then John felt God simply say, “I want you and Rachel to go overseas.”

He and Rachel had never talked about serving as long-term Gospel messengers. But in this moment, with the words burning in his heart, John had no doubts. He felt peace that could only come from the Lord.

Before leaving for work, John texted Rachel: “I’ve got something I need to talk to you about. It’s kind of important. Like, life changing.”

As Rachel tried to make sense of her husband’s cryptic message, dozens of thoughts raced through her mind. What could possibly be so important and life changing?

“And then I just knew,” Rachel says. “In that moment of clarity, God gave me peace and I knew what John wanted to talk to me about. It was just a sure thing—period.”

She texted her husband back, “So, when are we going?”

“Going where?” replied John.

“To the field!” she messaged back.

It was a moment that neither of them saw coming. With unmistakable clarity, they both recognized that God was leading them to go and bring the Gospel to Muslims—even though they had never discussed it. And with the call came a sure peace from the Lord as confirmation.

As they started their pre-field training with Frontiers, Rachel felt certain they’d be in South Asia within a few months. “From the start, I was very gung-ho,” she remembers. “I just wanted to get there. My heart was all in!”

Little did they know that this season would last four years. During that time, John and Rachel learned about making disciples and church planting among Muslims. Frontiers coaches also helped them grow in the love of Christ so they could better weather the challenges of field life.

Meanwhile, the couple befriended Muslims in their own city and started practicing the ministry principles they were learning in their training. In the process, John and Rachel discovered that God could use their life stories and experiences of healing to point Muslims to salvation.

“It wasn’t until later that I was able to appreciate the process,” Rachel says. “It took longer than I expected, but it strengthened our sense of calling and prepared us to be effective workers on the field.”

They’ve been overseas for almost a year now. Rachel says it’s been quite the adventure with language learning, telling their friends about Christ, and getting invited into Muslim homes.

“It’s so beautiful here—and the people are wonderful. But it’s difficult, too,” she says. “We expected that. But God meets us in the difficulties. We know He has called us here to bring the Gospel to Muslim communities, and that’s what keeps us going. We haven’t forgotten that, and—no matter how hard it might get—we won’t forget it.”

This account comes from a long-term worker. Names, locations, and images have been changed for security.