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What do you plan on doing after working in your career for 45 years straight? God calls everyone on different journeys, but He called Tim and Ginger to missions at age 50, and they said, “It was the best decision we ever made.”
“I think there are so many advantages to going when you’re older,” Ginger said. As a more mature couple, they weren’t distracted by things like finding a spouse, raising children, or paying off their mortgage anymore. She also said, “Going to the mission field was a big change for us, but it came easily, because we had already seen the vanity of striving after wealth and possessions. We were at a place where we could just realize that God was taking care of us, and we found so much peace in that.”
Tim and Ginger went to the Central African Republic (CAR) where they originally planned to stay for a year. They ended up serving for eight. Their assignment was for Tim to use his servant’s heart to help other Encompass missionaries with logistical tasks, freeing them up to do more ministry. Ginger is not one to sit still, so she ended up becoming the Director of Hand-in-Hand, which is a three-year school that educates orphans on scripture, literacy, writing, and math. By the time Tim and Ginger left Africa, there were 42 of these small Christian schools throughout the CAR which are still doing very well thanks to three incredible African leaders who now oversee the ministry.
During eight years of ministry, Tim and Ginger saw a lot of transformation. Ginger said, “What meant the most to me was developing close relationships with our 42 teachers. I got to hear their stories, see how Hand-in-Hand was changing their lives, and see how God was using them.” One little boy who was unable to walk from birth, had a horrific story of dragging himself through the grass during a war, while bullets were flying above his head. He pulled himself to a town, and they were able to raise money and buy him a wheelchair. Ginger says, “Those things are temporary but you don’t know what that could have done for his heart.”
But the people they ministered to in Africa weren’t the only ones God was transforming. One way Tim and Ginger have grown since their return has been in their contentment. Ginger said, “God really showed us how to be content with very little by living in the CAR, so now we’ve committed ourselves to being grateful and content with whatever situation He puts us in.”
Another way they’ve grown has been in their commitment to serving others. Ginger admitted, “Before we went to the field, we would serve in the church and host missionaries in our home, but ultimately, our lives were mostly about us.” But God used their experience with Encompass to completely change their hearts. After returning to the States, Ginger continued working with Hand-in-Hand for eight more years remotely, and now she and Tim are involved in a ministry for retired people.
Ginger said, “We see too many people who retire and then only live for themselves, but you’ll never be happy unless you’re exercising your spiritual gifts. I don’t care how old I get—there’s always something that God has for me to do.”
Do you plan on living for yourself after retirement? Or will you remain open to living however God asks you to live? Holy Spirit, show me how to continue using my gifts for You, even after retirement.