FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Jason Lang went on his first overseas mission trip as a senior in high school. He said the trip to Uganda grew his interest in international outreach, as did a second mission to Moscow.
Lang went on to major in cross-cultural missions at Liberty University and attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with plans to become an overseas missionary. He met his wife, Beth, at the seminary, and the two eventually chose to raise their family in Frederick, where Lang serves as an associate pastor at South End Baptist Church.
But Jason said that about three years ago he and his wife felt called to revisit the idea of getting involved in international mission work.
“I just really started seeking God as to what he wanted us to do, be it teach or be a senior pastor at another church,” Jason Lang said. “That’s really when the Lord just laid this ministry on our hearts again.”
After a long process of applications and interviews, the Langs were appointed in March 2009 to become missionaries to Nicaragua, which will soon become their permanent home.
Then came another lengthy process — raising money to support their efforts.
“For that first year, we really didn’t know what we were doing, so our support-raising didn’t get us too far,” Lang said. “But since last year at this time, God has really blessed us and allowed us to raise 40 percent of our current support.”
They said their luck started to change when they began focusing on individual donors rather than churches, which they said in many cases are already overburdened with financial commitments. South End Baptist, their sending church, has also raised money for them through various events. Jason will soon be stepping down from his position there, and the family will be hitting the road to raise the remaining 50 percent of the money they will need.
The Langs said those supporting their ministry will be able to keep up to date on their work through their blog, the Lang Family Sojourn.
Once the necessary funds have been secured, they will be heading to Costa Rica for language school. Beth already speaks fluent Spanish and has experience teaching in Costa Rica, but Jason said he has some serious catching up to do.
“Teaching and preaching in Spanish does scare me a little bit,” Jason Lang said.
After spending up to a year at language school, the couple and their three children — Mikayla, 7, Andrew, 6, and Benjamin, 5 — will move to Managua, where they will be assigned to a camplike, 160-acre ministry center established by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.
Their work in Nicaragua will consist of two main components. They will be charged with running outreach programs like sports camps, youth camps, and trade development camps at the ministry center, as well as helping Nicaraguan pastors establish churches and develop ministries.
The couple said they plan on involving their children in the ministry, in the hope they will eventually take ownership of it as well.
“I want them to see it as their ministry as well, not just mom and dad’s ministry and they’re being dragged along,” Jason Lang said.
The Langs said the decision to make another country their home indefinitely was a big one, and they will miss many aspects of their lives in the states, some important and some not as essential.
“There’s the little — not really that important — silly things like Starbucks or Dr. Pepper,” Beth Lang said. “And obviously we’ll miss our families.”
But they said they are excited about the prospect of undertaking something they’ve both felt called to do for a long time.
“In a lot of ways it’s really like a dream come true,” Jason Lang said. “Everything we desire to do is to, first of all, glorify God. Just the way God has worked in our hearts regarding international missions since high school or younger, it’s kind of like `wow, we’re actually doing it now.”‘
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.