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Summer Abroad

Summer Abroad

Members Investing in the Kingdom
Southwood is not only in Huntsville for Huntsville, we are also in the world for the world. While we have a short term team of youth going to Peru in June and a team of adults in July, we also have others investing their entire summer serving to advance God’s Kingdom in other countries. Below are three for you to know about and pray for as extensions and representatives of us in foreign places. All are serving through our denomination’s mission agency—Mission to the World (MTW, http://www.mtw.org). If you wish to financially support any of these individuals, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Brad & Caroline Tubbesing (and their daughters)
As the RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) Campus Minister for UAH, why are you spending the summer in Ireland?
In a word—discipleship. I (Brad) have been asked by MTW (Mission to the World) to mentor a group of interns from the USA while we all serve Kilkenny Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Ireland. This is a wonderful opportunity to invest in the lives of students, help them see how vast God’s world is, and help them see ministry through the lens of another culture—all while being part of advancing God’s Kingdom in Ireland. We hope that this experience will enrich our ministry at UAH and here in Huntsville. We hope a global perspective on God’s Kingdom will enable us to better minister to people here in the USA.

Why Ireland?
Ireland has a rich history of church and Christianity but is now the most spiritually impoverished nation in the English speaking world (less than 1% are evangelical Christians). Looking at the trajectory of Ireland and that of our own nation, we might find the USA in the same place as Ireland if things don’t change. We like working with people who have had exposure to the church but are burned out or turned off towards it. The lack of a language barrier was a plus too and Ireland just excites us.

How do you anticipate God using you to advance His Kingdom there?
We will be involved in a host of different ministry venues such as soccer camps, VBS, helping with prayer meetings, elements of Sunday worship, youth and adult Sunday school, outreach (Keep Kilkenny Clean) and I’ll even fill the pulpit once or twice. Even more importantly, I look forward to being a part of what God is doing in the lives of these interns; helping them process how God might be leading and directing for future ministry.

Caroline, what are some of your thoughts about uprooting for the summer with kids in tow?
To be honest, I’m a bit scared and excited at the same time. My family priorities will be no different there than they are here; first is Brad and the girls,  second is ministry outside the home. While there will be times of ministry alongside of Brad, there will also be times he will be away with others; again, not much different than here at home except for the displacement of being in another culture.  Instead of access to places by car, walking will be my primary mode of transportation for grocery shopping, etc., and that with a 1 & 3 year old.  My cell phone connectivity will be slightly challenged as well.  As with many pastors’ wives, there is a balance or tension between leaning on my husband and freeing him up for ministry. This will likely be accentuated even more by stepping outside our comfort zone in a new culture. I am also looking forward to my involvement in a “toddler time” through the church which is a community outreach to mothers of young children.

How can Southwood pray for you and the ministry in Ireland this summer?
That our family and marriage would grow stronger even as it has in our preparation to go. For God honoring relationships with the Irish we will be working with and for unity. That God would mold the interns, humble them and enable them to understand their role as servants.

How might we stay abreast of what you are doing while there and encourage you?
Periodically, you may find something on Southwood’s email announcements or you can find us on a Facebook group we have created called “The Tubbesings in Ireland.” Not much on it now but that will change as we report home.

Chase Stephenson
How did you hear about this internship with MTW in Ireland?
Over Christmas Break, I had a meeting with Brad Tubbesing and another student to go over what we would be studying through the remainder of the year in our RUF Bible study group.  In the process, Brad talked about he and his family going to the Republic of Ireland for the summer to mentor interns with MTW (Mission to the World).  My interest was piqued. 

As a senior at UAH, why did you want to pursue this ministry opportunity?
It is not that I had a particular interest in Ireland or anything like that but this was an opportunity to say “yes” to missions. Pastor and author John Piper has said “You can be a sender, goer or disobeyer.” For me, this season of my life is about being a goer. As I understand God’s call on my life right now, it is to pursue further training for future ministry of which I hope to do starting Fall 2011.  Part of that direction is being mentored by Brad, while serving in a cross-cultural environment; Ireland.

Who are some of the people and influences that have brought you here?
I didn’t get saved until just before starting my time at UAH. My relationship with Brad Tubbesing has been very instrumental in my growth as a Christ follower. Bill Nash (Assoc. Pastor at Southwood) has played a significant role in how God is shaping me for ministry.  Tommy McMurtrie and the youth staff and volunteers of Southwood have also played a part in how God is molding me as I serve as a small group leader with High-Life.  

What will your summer look like?
From what I understand at this point, our team of interns will be involved in soccer camps for the church kids and community kids, VBS, community service, evangelism and helping out in adult ministries like teaching.  I’m sure there will be more when we get there.  I am open to be used and shaped by God however He directs.

How can your church pray for you and the ministry in Ireland this summer?
That my heart and emotions would be exactly where God wants them to be.  That my motives would be Christ saturated and Bible saturated.  That I would die to self and there be unity with the team of interns and the Irish.

How might people stay in touch with you, learn about what God is doing and encourage you?
At this point, I’m not sure how I will push info back to those interested but I can be contacted by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Wil Stuart
Did you ever imagine giving your summer to advancing God’s Kingdom in Mexico as an MTW intern?
It just goes to show you—we make our plans but God establishes our steps. This is something that God is doing and I am along for the ride. Two months ago, this was not even on my radar.

How did this opportunity present itself?
Back in March, I was in Monterrey, Mexico for Spring break with Southwood on a short term mission trip. One night, our team was eating dinner at the home of Andres Garza, team leader for MTW Monterrey. After dinner, Mr. Garza asked if I would like to come back during the summer as an intern. I was humbled that he asked, sought council from others, prayed about it and then applied with MTW after I returned. The application deadline was actually February 15th so I was way past the deadline even when the invitation was given to me. Long story short, I went through the application and interview process with MTW and was accepted. I am very excited about returning to Monterrey and serving.

What will you be doing in Monterrey?
I will be working with the MTW Monterrey Team (both nationals and Americans) to assist with short-term teams coming during the Summer to do construction projects, VBS, medical ministry, sports camps, mercy ministry, etc; basically anything they want me to do that helps and provides support for all their ministries through short-term teams.

How does this tie into what Southwood is doing in Monterrey?
Southwood has just recently entered into a partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico and Mission to the World to plant churches in Monterrey, Mexico; Vida Nueva being the specific church plant we are involved in right now. Our partnership also benefits the greater work of church planting in Monterrey so my internship works right along with our church’s partnership there.

What about security issues in Mexico? How might this impact your internship?
Yes, there are security issues in Monterrey as result of recent drug cartel activity. The missionaries, national leadership and others are constantly monitoring the situation but don’t feel it has come to the point that people shouldn’t go. They are also taking extra precautions to help. Mostly it’s just common sense like keeping us away from places where violence is likely to occur or not staying out late or being out too early. I was told it is not much different than being in LA or NYC; “be wise and don’t do risky and stupid things.” I don’t want to be reckless but I also know there is no guarantee of absolute safety anywhere in the world; not even Huntsville. With that, I am placing my trust in Christ wherever I am.

How can Southwood pray for you and the advance of God’s Kingdom in Monterrey?
You can pray that we arrive safe, for team unity and for God’s presence to be a part of everything that we do. Pray that God would continue to teach me to trust in Him and serve according to how He has wired me. Pray that Christ would be seen by those who do not know Him yet.

How can people keep up with you, and encourage you?
Skype (Wil.Stuart9), Facebook and e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Feel free to drop me a message on any of these and I will get back as soon as I can.