|(Tim & Janice Phillips, Mikayla and Jayson)
Today we continue introducing our FBM Missionaries. Tim & Janice Phillips serve in Niamey, Niger with their two children, Mikayla and Jayson. Tim & Janice answered our questionnaire separately. Last time we heard from Janice. Today we hear from Tim.
Briefly share your salvation experience and your call to ministry.
I was raised in a Christian home in Cedarville, OH. I had many Christian influences around me. As a result, I made a profession of salvation when I was 5 yrs. old and was baptized when I was 8. Growing up, however, proved that the relationship with Christ was more important and that became very evident to me in high school and college. I never intended to be on the mission field. I loved teaching and thought I would always be in America doing just that. Then one of my kids’ dads came to me to ask if I would be willing to go teach in Africa. After a bit of hesitating, I felt this is just what God had for me for a change. Boy, did he change my life that year. Not only did missions become something of importance to me, but I met my wife! I went in single and came out married! My wife and I decided not to pursue going back to Africa just because we met there, but after some time and not us talking about it, we came to the same conclusion that we need to at least pursue it until God closed the door. After much prayer, we decided that we were to return to Africa, but didn’t know where since ICA had just closed its doors. Through many stories too long to state here, we ended up in Niger. While Niger is not a vacation hotspot, I cannot imagine being someplace else The kids are great, the people are great and this ministry to MK’s is just awesome.
What did you do before you were a missionary?
I taught high school history and government at Kokomo Christian High School.
Tell us about your current ministry. Where are you and what are you doing?
We are at Sahel Academy serving as dorm parents to 17 wonderful children with wonderful families.
How long have you been serving as a missionary?
We are completing our 5th year. One year in Quebec and four years here.
What does a typical day look like for you while you are on the field?
For me, there are no typical days which are something I love. I get up, see the kids off to school, and then start on projects. Sometimes I spend time fixing lights, toilets, or an assortment of things. We do all the shopping for the dorm as my wife oversees all the meals. When the kids come home from school, there is homework to help with, projects to do, and sometimes just playing ping pong(I know, tough life ) While the kids are in school, I have spent time talking with our guards, learning language, which is still an ongoing problem for me. I find that building relationships seems to be something I do with not only the MK’s, but also with the Africans. I also help out with the school’s hot lunch program to be sure all have paid and all get what they ordered. I coach softball during the tournament times and play a lot, also. I am sure that there are many more things, but they all run together. I just do things that need to get done.
As you reflect on the years you have spent as a missionary, please share with us some of the highlights of your ministry.
Seeing one of the dorm kids as well as our daughter accept Jesus! After that? I think just watching the dorm kids grow, mature and take on more and more responsibility. This is a rather large family we build here, so to see the dorm kids succeed makes us righteously proud (I learned that word from other missionaries) Watching these teens walk lives that are worthy of our Savior is just incredible!
What have been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced on the field?
Language, the heat, sometimes interpersonal relationships, etc. I always have to tell myself, “these kids are really good kids, don’t major on the minor things!” You know sometimes when people in general drive you nuts and kids are no different. You ask them to do something and they don’t, so you ask them again, and they still don’t. That is a challenge because of all the different cultures we come from. I often tell the kids when we have to remind them all to do something that this will not make a difference for eternity! There are things way more important.
What person(s) has had the biggest influence on your life?
Really? What a question. Probably John Jackson. He is the man who got me to Africa the first time. At least he planted the seed for God to grow. When he and his family came home from South Africa, his family became my family and I loved the way he guided his family closer to God. But there are many more
What would you say to encourage others (young or old) to consider full-time missions as a profession?
That is a good question. Missions aren’t for everyone, especially here. But I would never say that until they have tried it. A short term mission trip is a great thing when it is not just a two week thing. Those trips are great, but you can’t make a good judgment for a career until you have been someplace a year or two. Take those steps of faith. Kids all the time would ask me what the will of God is for them. My reply was always, “Obey the Word of God!” If you are in the Word, obeying and living it, you will know exactly what God wants in your life. I don’t believe His Will is meant to be secretive. Obey and listen to God.
Please share some specific prayer requests with us.
- Again, language. I am trying to get more fluent in French, but would love to speak Zarma, also.
- Consistency as a dorm dad.
- Good leadership to lead this dorm where God wants it to go… as well as my own family so my two little ones don’t get lost in the mix.
What are some current needs that you have and what can we do to help meet those needs?
Right now, getting ready to come home on furlough, we have no idea of what we are doing. We need a house, a car and money to pay for it all. We have none of those three. We know God will provide when we need them, but it would be easier if we could make plans. I have no idea of how to go about raising funds. With only a year, I know many churches won’t be able to schedule me for at least 8 months to a year and we really need to raise more funds to be able to return here. I just don’t know what to expect, I guess is a better way of saying all that. We really want this year to be a year of recuperation, but also of developing and renewing relationships there in North America. So, please pray that all this gets accomplished and that there are people back in Indiana who are already doing stuff that we don’t know about yet!
Meet Some of Our Other FBM Missionaries:
- Kathy Miller
- Tim & Janice Phillips (part 1)
- Tim & Janice Phillips (part 2)
- Ken & Sarah Beckley
- Cindy Faile