'More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job'

The morning sun shines over the Mumbai slums. It is the beginning of a new day, and GFA-supported pastor Marty reaches into his bag and pulls out some literature. In his heart, a passion of love for the people he knows are hurting grows inside him as he looks around the tarp-covered huts. He scans the dirty faces of slum dwellers and realizes today might be the day they could understand how completely they are loved by God. Across the globe, as the sun shines on the small town of Wills Point, Texas, Jonathan stares at his computer in front of him. He glances over at the pictures on his office wall and remembers the masses around the world who are waiting to know they are loved. Both men have completely different tasks and roles, but they understand something profound—they couldn't do their job without each other.

Living a Fairly 'Normal' Christian Life

Before becoming behind-the-scenes missionaries at GFA, Jonathan and his wife, Erica, lived fairly normal, routine lives: Jonathan had worked at the same job since he graduated college; the couple had lived in the same home for 16 years; and they had been involved in the same church for 12 years.

When the eldest of their four daughters was 4 years old, they welcomed GFA-supported Bridge of Hope children and missionaries into their lives through prayer and sponsorship. Jonathan and Erica wanted their children to grow up understanding the needs of others.

'More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job'

Ever since their four beautiful daughters were young, Jonathan and Erica have led their family in pursuit of serving the Lord together.

"They were familiar with the idea," Jonathan says, "that there are people outside of [their] own little world who have a totally different set of challenges, and people who don't know about Christ."

This worldview found its way into their family's everyday life and holidays, shaping rich family traditions. When the Christmas season came around each year, their daughters would pour over the pages of GFA's Christmas Gift Catalog, flipping through the pages filled with pictures of chickens, goats, Bibles and blankets. Their house stirred with excitement as each bright-eyed girl got to choose an item to bless a person or family in Asia.

Half a world away, GFA-supported workers like Marty would later deliver these gifts to the people in their communities who desperately needed help. Together with many others in the Body of Christ, they were seeing lives transformed through Christ's love.

'More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job'

When Hannah (pictured), the oldest daughter of Jonathan and Erica, was 4, the family began supporting GFA. It became a favorite family tradition to go through the Christmas catalog together every winter to pick out gifts for needy people in Asia.

A Change in the Norm

Eventually, the Lord entrusted Jonathan and his family with another opportunity to serve Him and the people around them in a deeper way: starting a small fellowship in their home.

Through the years, Jonathan and Erica watched as God blessed their fellowship. Missions was in all of their hearts, and the fellowship provided the funds needed for a church building in Asia and sponsored and prayed for GFA-supported national missionaries. But as time went on, God slowly began to change the course of this fellowship.

"The [fellowship] had always been kind of a stopover point," Erica says. "A lot of people were there for about a year. It was like it was a respite, sort of a hospital, maybe spiritually speaking."

This similar pattern lasted for several years. People would come to the fellowship and then go, but the Lord always brought another family or individual to fill the empty seats. As faces and seasons changed, missions began to burn on Jonathan and Erica's hearts more and more. During these months, they watched as God relocated families and drew people out of their fellowship and to the local churches. Meanwhile, the empty seats left behind stopped being filled.

"Now we can see," Erica says, "that He was shutting it down so we were free to go."

The One God Chose

As the Lord continued to press missions on Jonathan's heart, a revelation struck him: Why not serve in the place where they had already been investing for the past nine years?

"It wasn't that we chose GFA because we thought it was the most prestigious, or because we thought it would be the best place for our family, or the easiest place, or the most fun, or the most spiritual, or any of those things," Jonathan says. "We're here, and we remain here, because this is the one God chose."

After raising monthly support for their livelihood, Jonathan and his family packed up their home and moved to Texas to join GFA's staff as behind-the-scenes missionaries. They were ready to serve the Lord together once again and in an even greater capacity.

'More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job'

As missions continued to burden Jonathan and Erica's hearts, the Lord called their family to serve in the place where they had already been invested for years. After much prayer and seeking the Lord, they moved to Texas to serve as behind-the-scenes missionaries in Wills Point, Texas, at GFA.

A Beautiful Link Between Two Worlds

With passion and excitement, Jonathan started serving in the IT department at the GFA office in Wills Point, Texas. Through his work, he was able to equip his fellow behind-the-scenes missionaries with the computer systems they needed to accomplish their jobs in helping missionaries in Asia, like Pastor Marty.

As Jonathan worked with software updates, Pastor Marty prayed for widows struggling to make ends meet in their small huts deep in the slums. As Jonathan prepared for meetings with vendors, national workers prepared Sunday messages for their growing congregations. As Jonathan helped equip the Texas office with the systems needed to communicate with donors and sponsors, Pastor Marty and many other GFA-supported workers talked with broken families about the love of Jesus. With Jonathan and the other behind-the-scenes missionaries doing their part in their work, Pastor Marty and fellow ministry workers could more effectively do their part.