Wednesday, 08 February 2017 17:26

A Partnership Built on Sending Goers

A Partnership Built on Sending Goers

Great partnerships often start as simple relationships.

In the late 1970s, after 14 years of work in Brazil, Encompass Global Workers Ralph and Martha Schwartz moved to central California to minister in a small church. During their time in Santa Maria, the Schwartz family encountered hardships and had to make difficult decisions about the continuation of their ministry, but they maintained their commitment to faithfully invest in the people around them.

It was during this season they met Spencer MacCuish.

Spencer was close in age to the Schwartz’s son, Samuel, and eventually they became good friends. Spencer was greatly influenced by Ralph and Martha’s faith, and even when the call came for them to serve in Portugal, they maintained their friendship with Spencer. Instead of leaving with his parents, Samuel stayed in the U.S. to continue his education and became housemates with Spencer. Both felt called to serve Jesus and eagerly pursued that end. Spencer was serving as a public school teacher, and Samuel was working on his seminary degree, which led him to go serve in Portugal alongside his family. A desire for global ministry began to grow in Spencer’s heart as well.

After finishing his graduate studies in the early 2000s, Spencer and his wife completed an exploratory trip with the Schwartz family in Portugal. During that time, Spencer became more acquainted with Encompass World Partners. He loved the work in Portugal and was thoroughly impressed by the heart of Encompass as an organization.

Even though they cherished their experience in Portugal and with Encompass, Spencer and his wife did not feel at peace with that for their future. They prayed for guidance, and God’s answer came through an unexpected call from Francis Chan. Francis asked Spencer if he would be interested in developing a school that was unlike any other, devoted to equipping students to go out in the world and live out their faith. It was the right fit.

Eternity Bible College began in the hearts of several Cornerstone Church leaders with a desire to equip people to minister all around the world. They wanted to offer a biblical education through local churches that were both affordable and practical for students. Spencer saw this model as an opportunity to help send people into global missions debt free and prepared.

Instead of being a goer, he was going to be a passionate sender.

As the years passed, Eternity Bible College realized that many of its graduates who were interested in missions needed connections to help steer them in the right direction. The EBC leadership began to research mission agencies that shared similar values to help their students. Since most of the EBC leadership only had connections in local churches, they leaned on the only person who had any experience with a mission agency: Spencer MacCuish. Spencer introduced EBC to Encompass World Partners, and the two organizations began to build a relationship.

Encompass and EBC share the same desire to help others share Jesus to the nations through the support of the local church. Since the beginning of their partnership, several Encompass Global Workers have gone through the EBC program and are now serving all over the world. This list of workers includes people like Matt Higby in L.A and Matt and Jen Daniels in Japan.

What began with the faithfulness of a family and the befriending of a young student grew into a connection that helped create a prolific partnership, and God-willing it will continue to grow. Encompass and Eternity Bible College are excited to work together to send out more Christ-centered laborers for the sake of the nations. Like Ralph and Martha, we may never know the great effects of our small obediences to God, but we must always be faithful for He is faithful. 

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much." -Helen Keller

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