When as a Wheaton College senior I heard former TEAM missionary Jerry Harpool describe the opportunity to teach at Franson Christian High School in Swaziland, I said, “I can’t believe everyone wouldn’t want to go there!” My home church enthusiastically supported this vision and sent me to teach, evangelize, and disciple there from 1979 to 1981.
I returned to the US for further preparation but with a hope that God would allow me to return to Africa soon. My time in the US stretched to seven years as I finished graduate school at the University of Texas, completed a four-year Master of Theology degree at Dallas Seminary, and did two short pastoral internships. I met Susan, who also had a heart for cross-cultural ministry, and we married after my first year of seminary.
In 1988 we joined a church-planting team in Umtata, Transkei (now Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa) and then in 1993 we were moved to Union Bible Institute in Hilton, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa, where we continue to serve. What a privilege to be involved in helping to develop Christlike servant-leaders who are committed to Christ and his Great Commission!
I committed my life to Christ– “whatever, wherever, whenever”–when I was in college. Not long after, I met Eric, who was on his way back to Southern Africa with TEAM to develop Christian leaders by teaching in a Bible college. Marrying him answered all three questions at once. As we sometimes say, “It has often been tough, but at least it hasn’t been boring.” We began in church planting in the Eastern Cape where we gained valuable experience for teaching at Union Bible Institute in Hilton, South Africa, where we still live and work.
Eric's Ministry Focus:
Currently I am a teacher and Academic Dean at Union Bible Institute and the Ministry Area Leader of TEAM-Southern Africa. I enjoy the classroom but really love to work with teams of students on cross-cultural ministry trips, children’s holiday Bible clubs, and True Love Waits presentations for youth at churches and schools.
Susan's Ministry Focus:
Raising a growing family of four children was my primary ministry for the first twenty years of our time in Southern Africa. But recent years have allowed more freedom to use my gifts and passions in other areas as well. Here at Union Bible Institute I lead the ministry to the wives of the students, assist with the choir, and serve on the UBI Publishing committee. I have edited a book for pastors’ wives, a devotional booklet for people who are HIV+, and authored a children’s book for children who have lost a parent. In addition to mentoring UBI students, God has opened doors to relationships with women in our church in difficult situations, and I have enjoyed counseling them as well.
Primary Prayer Request:
Pray that alumni from Union Bible Institute would bring hope and healing in the name of Christ to broken families and torn communities wherever they serve in Southern Africa and the world.