In 2001, after nearly 28 years of missionary work in the islands of the Pacific, Ray and Becki Sparre received word that their two sons were involved in a serious motorcycle accident stateside. Becki immediately flew to Denver where their youngest son, Thano, lay in a coma. Ray tied up loose ends in Vanuatu, where they had been laboring for four years, and joined Becki in Colorado. After weeks in the hospital, it became evident that Thano would have long term limitations from the traumatic brain injury. When it was finally safe to do so, Ray and Becki moved with Thano back to their stateside home in Woodburn, OR.
After a few months, the Sparres were able to sell their home in Woodburn and acquire a little acreage east of Molalla, Oregon where Ray put in motion plans to set up a private portable milling operation. For the past 15 years, Ray has supported his family by the work of his hands operating his portable saw mill, doing small construction projects and professional sign work.
Early in January the Sparres received a call asking them if they would consider returning to Vanuatu on a voluntary basis to fill a vacancy in the Bible School for the 2017 Spring semester. They would need to depart on February 27 and be gone until early June. Although they didn't have the financial means to even consider such a venture, Ray and Becki felt moved in their spirits that it was a "God Call". They accepted with only a few weeks to prepare. When I heard about this, I felt moved to share the mission with our 60s Alumni group.
On February 4, 2017 I sent out an email with information about the Sparre's faith venture, and included instructions for those who wanted to help underwrite the financial part of their mission. Ray had estimated that it would take a minimum of $15,000.00 to cover the costs of being away for three months plus the cost of airline tickets, food, transportation, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses while on the field.
Immediately the responses began to pour in. In a weeks time, checks totaling nearly $9,000.00 had been received. By the end of 2 weeks the goal of $15,000.00 had been surpassed and we sent out a second email reporting that the Sparre's Mission Budget had been fully met. On February 27th, Ray, Becki and Thano depart for Vanuatu with the peace of mind that all their ongoing stateside obligations as well as the cost of their three month mission assignment are covered.
The Sparres have been amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support for their ministry. The response had given them renewed confidence that God's hand is upon them for this work. They are filled with gratitude to God, and to all who have given so freely.