As a high school student in St. Louis, Dan Mckee felt a tug toward global ministry. He wanted to dive in after graduation, and several opportunities presented themselves. Dan’s pastor told him about an outdoor adventure ministry in Japan called NorthStar, and at the same time an outreach ministry in Bosnia came to his attention. Dan decided to pursue moving to Bosnia, but God had a different path in mind. The plan for Bosnia fell apart. Dan had to put his desire to move overseas on hold.
Instead, Dan went to Missouri State University to study criminology, and while he was there, he met April.
April hadn’t even considered global ministry. She was a track star at Missouri State, majoring in Recreational Studies. She planned to become a personal trainer and break into the health industry. She and Dan began dating, and when April made the decision to return to her home state of Oklahoma to finish school, they continued their relationship even though they were far apart. After graduation, they got married.
Going straight from a long-distance relationship to marriage was hard. Their first year brought to light so many issues that they hadn’t been aware of, and things got rough enough that they considered divorce. Instead, Dan and April made the decision to fight for their marriage. They decided to get a fresh start by moving to a new city and starting over.
The McKees moved to Lincoln, Nebraska.
In this city, they only had a couple of friends who were part of a church plant called Mosaic. A pastor from another church in Lincoln let Dan and April live in his basement. During that time, they saw the pastor and his wife model what a Christ-centered marriage should look like. Through their influence, Dan and April grew in their love for God and each other, and their marriage began to revive.
After six months, the McKees moved out of the basement and joined a house church called Jacob’s Well, which ministered to needy families living in poverty in downtown Lincoln. There were also international families and refugees in the area. Dan and April lived at Jacob’s Well and saw the tangible ways in which they served and loved their neighbors.
While at Jacob’s Well, they helped host block parties, gave food away to neighbors, and occasionally helped with after-school programs for the kids. During this time, a passion for cross-cultural ministry began to grow in their hearts. For Dan it was a return to his roots and for April a new desire, but it was a vision that they shared. After four years in Lincoln, they asked God what He might have for them next.
That’s when Dan heard about NorthStar for the second time.
A friend brought up the Japanese outdoor ministry, and it was a great fit for Dan and April. They went to Japan for short-term service with NorthStar, and their time there kindled a love for the Japanese people. Back home, Dan and April talked about long-term ministry in Japan.
The only thing still holding them back was their desire to start a family. It felt like they would need to make a choice between having children and moving overseas. They wrestled with the decision for a while before coming to see that God might want them to pursue both. They had already experienced how shared ministry could strengthen their family. They began to take steps toward becoming full-time global workers just as they discovered that they were pregnant.
Right now, the McKees are raising support to return to Japan. Very soon, their baby boy will be born. His due date falls on the same day that Dan and April chose to move to Nebraska to save their marriage. Since that move was the first step in restoring their relationship and finding their common mission, they’re planning to name their son Lincoln.
Dan and April are excited to return to Japan as a family and see what God has for them there together.