We’ve served as missionaries since 1995, but our burden for the Tanzanian people started long before our official assignment there.
Missions runs in Tim’s family. His brother-in-law and sister, Bob and Murriell McCulley, served as missionaries in Tanzania and invited him to visit them in 1979. God planted a seed in his heart that would take us to Tanzania together almost 20 years later.
Joyce is from Springfield, Missouri, and that’s where we met while Tim was attending Central Bible College. Tim is originally from eastern North Carolina. For 15 years, we were privileged to past churches in Michigan, making the state one of our many “homes.”
In 1997, we arrived in East Africa with our daughters Jennifer and Sarah. We spent four years training pastors, building churches, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Tanzanians. One of the major highlights from these years was overseeing the completion and launch of the Mwanza Bible College.
In 2001, we returned to the United States for our daughters to finish high school and to get them settled into college. For several years, Tim worked with Convoy of Hope, through regular feeding programs and by responding to natural disasters all over the world with food and emergency supplies including Hurricane Katrina in the United States, a tsunami in Asia and mudslides in South America.
But the burden for Tanzania remained and in 2008, we were thrilled to return to Tanzania and continue the work we started. Over the next few years, we served as interim principals at the Mwanza Bible College, trained pastors, built churches and held outreaches across Western Tanzania.
We also discovered a new area of need and started the Tanzania Albino Ministry. Tanzanians with albinism are hunted and killed for their body parts, which are used by witch doctors to make potions and amulets. The harsh Tanzanian sun also poses a severe threat and most people with albinism die by the age of 30 from skin cancer. We continue to explore ways to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of this unique group.
In 2012 we returned to the United States for our regularly scheduled furlough and spent the year on the road visiting our ministry partners and sharing what we were able to accomplish with God’s help and the support of our ministry partners. In May of 2013 we were cleared to return to Tanzania with all of our funds raised and geared up for another four years of ministry in our beloved Tanzania.
Joyce had some final medical tests before our departure and it was discovered that she had breast cancer. We canceled our flights to Tanzania and Joyce underwent a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. God was faithful and our family learned to walk by faith in a greater way.
In February 2014, Joyce was cleared to return to the field although her doctor’s expressed concern over her ability to function well in Tanzania and receive adequate follow-up medical care. In February of 2015, Joyce’s health issues dictated that we needed to return to the United States where she could receive better access to medical care. Our burden was still strong for Tanzania and we prayed that God would give us direction in our next steps.
As we were preparing to leave Tanzania, we were contacted by the leaders of Africa’s Hope. Africa’s Hope is a ministry of the Assemblies of God World Missions focusing on training and equipping church leaders across Africa. They had a need that Tim was perfectly positioned to fill with his years of experience in building and equipping ministries in Tanzania. They asked Tim to join them in their stateside office in Springfield, MO to oversee strategic operations across Africa.
The Assemblies of God has more than 350 Bible schools and training centers across Africa where national pastors and leaders are trained and equipped to do the work of reaching the lost of their nations and making mature disciples of their new believers. These training programs are filled with hungry minds and willing hearts, but are in desperate need of training materials to properly teach and prepare these spiritual leaders.
While Tim is involved in the full range of activities at Africa’s Hope, one of his most exciting projects is in establishing the POD system in Africa. When looking at the cost of printing and shipping materials from the United States to more than 50 countries in Africa, we realized it would be more cost effective to strategically locate resources regionally on the continent. There’s a number of challenges with traditional printing methods including the high cost of supplies and shipping. Also, typically the materials are printed in small batches which can lead to increased costs when working with outside printing companies.
The POD (Print On Demand) system eliminates all of these issues by allowing local teams to print any volume of content without penalties. Because the materials are printed locally, this decreases shipping costs. The printers being used in the POD system are uniquely designed to withstand wear-and-tear and the repairs needed are simple enough that local teams can often be trained to perform routine maintenance.
Joyce is using her years of experience in missions to mentor new missionary associates as they prepare to go overseas. She is also involved in the communication projects for the Africa regional office where she helps tell the stories about the amazing work God is doing across Africa.
We’d love to connect with you and tell you more about the exciting work God is doing in Africa and how we are involved.