After two years of slowly praying and wondering about what God was going to do about this calling, we got our answer in December, 2016. We had been scheduled to meet with a pastor at our church the previous summer to learn about his experience as a church planter in Amsterdam but ended up missing the appointment, and it took until December to reschedule. I think God had a good reason for that. Around the time we met with him, God told us that it was time to change our thinking from "wondering and dreaming" to "doing".
During our meeting he said that we should really think about going as supported missionaries and not just try to be bivocational—working a full-time job and doing ministry on the side. This was a huge relief for us. We were really feeling like being bivocational would be too much of a strain on our family, so hearing a pastor heavily encourage us to look into being supported missionaries was a serious relief. During that talk, he suggested a couple missions organizations to look into, one of those was Greater Europe Mission (GEM). We started looking into them. I actually have friends from college who served with GEM in Germany for a while, so we were able to talk to them and find out their experience and insight and stuff. As we started to engage with GEM and go through their process, we got to the point where we talked to the France country director and it became very clear, very quickly, that it wasn't going to work with them. GEM has specific cities they focus on and are specifically focused on church planting. Mulhouse and church development weren't in their plans.
The French director was really nice, and during our final talk with him, he told us about another organization to look into: Global Outreach Mission (GOM). As we started to look into GOM we realized that this was an organization that wasn't like the other ones we had looked at. Most missions organizations fall into two camps: denominational—so you need to be in their denomination or work in a church of their denomination—or they have their own projects that they work on. GOM was neither. GOM's focus is on empowering individuals to follow God's unique calling on their lives. So since we didn't fit into anyone's box, GOM was the ideal organization to work with.
After going through their onboarding process and interviews, questionnaires, and more, we were accepted and invited to go to their candidate orientation week in August, 2017. I'll write another post about that and how that went soon.