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Lily’s Testimony:

My name is Lily Shropshire. I grew up in California where I was raised in a Christian home with three older brothers and loving parents.  I was saved at a young age while sitting in the laundry room with my mom. As she was talking with me about hell, I asked how to not go there. She told me the story of Jesus, which I’m sure she had told me before, but this time was different.  She shared with me that He had died for me to forgive my sins, that He was raised from the dead, and that if I believed and put my trust in Him,  I would live with Him for eternity… so I did!  At that moment, I truly believed in what Jesus Christ did for me personally! Since that day I have had a daily relationship with my Heavenly Father and an eternal hope that is invaluable.

TJ’s Testimony:

I was saved at 14 on a short term missions trip to Honduras.  I had previously thought I could be good enough to get into heaven, and I lived a hypocritical life.  I had said the sinner’s prayer many times as a child but never understood what Christ had really done for me.  I went on that missions trip because I felt it was my responsibility to be a good Christian, but God used it to grab hold of me and get my attention.  On the very first day a 16 year old girl said something to me that God used to reveal how fake I was.  Well that was rough, but the Holy Spirit used that girl’s words to reach down into my very soul, and over the course of a week showed me my need for him.  I repented of my sin, and turned to Him.  I knew it wasn’t a prayer that saved me but Jesus Christ himself, there was nothing I could do to save my self, so I put my complete trust in Christ for salvation from sin.

 

Lily’s Call to Full-time Missions:

After graduating High school, I desired to know more about the bible and began attending New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI) in Jackson, Michigan.  During my second semester of school God began doing a work on my heart and pulling me towards becoming a full time missionary.  This was not what I planned, however this conviction in my heart did not lessen, and I kept ignoring it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to face  that God might really be asking me to do this.  A New Tribes Missions (NTM ) representative, Brad Buser, came to our school to speak during chapel for the week.  As he spoke a hard-core challenge to us about going to those that had never had the chance to hear the name of Jesus, I sat in the balcony and listened. I went back to my dorm to think about what he said and knew God was asking me to give my life to missions, and to follow him.  By the end of the week I surrendered my life to God in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I told Him I would go wherever he called me and that I would be His hands and feet and said, “God… Send me!”.  When I told my best friend, she said that she had been specifically praying this for me, which was one of  many confirmations.  From that point on, I could say with certainty that God had called me into full time missions.

TJ’s call to full time Missions:

The moment I put my trust in Jesus as my savior I knew that there was nothing else for me except service to God. For whatever reason, there was ministry on my mind at that moment, something where I would be giving my life’s work in the service of God. I was 14 at that time and though I did go on several other short term missions trips to Ecuador and Mexico, I lost that clarity in my teenage years. When I was 20 I had pretty much decided for God what it was I was going to be doing for Him. I was going to be a worship music leader at a big church and write my own music and record albums. It wasn’t bad, and I had a little songwriter in me to cover that other creative stuff. But I needed more understanding of the Bible. For a number of reasons, that being just one, I felt God was telling me I needed to go to Bible School.

 

God used several things in my life, friends who had questions, hard situations in my church, and burning questions in my heart, to show me my lack of understanding concerning His Word of Truth. He opened the way for me to attend NTBI in Jackson through some crazy heavenly ordained circumstances. I had never heard of NTBI until one day. While on a trip to Pennsylvania five different people who I had not seen in years challenged me to do something with my life and check out New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson Michigan. I knew just from that crazy day that God was directing me there, so I went. I had the intention of gaining Biblical knowledge to further my career as a worship leader/song writer, and I figured when I finished Bible school I would attend a worship lead training school in St. Louis.

 

My first semester at Bible school God brought me low, He confronted me with the basic understanding of who He was and who I was. It was at this point that I started looking to God to direct me in where and how he wanted me to serve Him. I saw right away that He had brought me to a New Tribes school for a reason, and that I should pay attention to things like that. As my understanding of the need for workers to bring the Gospel to unreached people grew, I felt more and more impressed that this was why God had me there. By the end of that first semester I knew I was going into full time overseas missions work. The next semester I met Lily, that’s a couple pages worth. But suffice to say she was headed overseas as well but unsure with what organization. As my time at NTBI grew I became increasing convinced God had me there for a reason, and so through much praying by myself and with Lily, I felt confident in saying God was sending me with New Tribes.

What happened for TJ after Bible School:

After Bible school I married Lily and we planned to attend the MTC in Missouri by fall of 2010, but God kept us in Florida till 2012. though we were in Florida for almost 4 years, we never wavered in our conviction that God had clearly been directing us to go with New Tribes. Things got hard, and I doubt if many people would have questioned our motives if we had just stayed in Florida. We could have ministered to the people in our church, or we could have joined another congregation and started over. But that’s not what we knew God wanted for us, and though our circumstances were hard we fell back on what we knew was true vs. what we felt could be true.

And that’s how we ended up where we are now in Roach MO. We are striving to continue to wait on the Lord concerning decisions and directions, and that’s what this is all about.

 

What happened for Lily After Bible School:

In my last semester at school, TJ and I got to know each other better and began dating, I soon realized I wanted to marry him. He was a year behind me in school, so while he finished his last year I went to South Africa for 9 months to assist the Farran Family. Their ministry was reaching those in HIV Hospice Care.  I served by home-schooling their two girls (Kindergarten and 1st grade) so they could effectively learn the Zulu language together.  While in South Africa I was able to serve in a creche (daycare) in a rural area once a week, worked in my local church singing on the worship team, and I taught Sunday School.  This was a really great experience for me and confirmed my desire and conviction to be a part of reaching the unreached.  While I was in Africa, TJ and I felt led by God to go on with New Tribes Missions.  A month after I got back from South Africa TJ and I were engaged, and three months later we were married.  We lived in Florida for almost 4 years where we have been building our family, getting connected with our home church, and saving money to attend the New Tribes Missionary Training Center in Missouri.

Life in Florida:

We’ve been able to establish our family in Florida before moving on to the next phase of our lives.  That’s involved learning a lot about each other, having two beautiful girls, and learning daily how to train them up in the Lord.  TJ works with his family’s company, L&S Enterprises, where he climbs radio towers (which has its ups and downs-pun intended). TJ’s entire immediate family of nine brothers and sisters currently live in Florida and that is so much fun!  I will always cherish this time with his family as they are such wonderful people and have become some of my best friends.  Things we do for fun here in Cocoa, Florida are: going to the beach, fishing, sailing, going to yard sales, cooking/baking, walking, spending time with friends and family, watching things fly up into space, and of course having people come visit us as we are in such a touristy area  :).

 

What we are Doing:

We are completing the second part of the New Tribes Missions training in Roach, Missouri. This will take between 1.5  year program and focuses on practically and spiritually training us to be Tribal Church Planters. While there we will be full time students. The curriculum involves investing time into different ministries, working with staff members, focusing on spiritual growth, maintaining the campus, and of course focusing on language studies. Upon completion of this training we will officially be New Tribes Missionaries and as of right now we are planning on serving in WEST AFRICA.  We are in the process of  building partnerships and raising support for our specific work to help bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached people groups of West Africa

 

What New Tribes Mission Does:

A basic synopsis of  New Tribes Mission’s focus is tribal church planting for unreached people groups.  There is a huge need to reach these remote locations and  bring God’s Word to them.  New Tribes Missionaries move to the village, build relationships with the people, learn the culture, and translate the language. Once the language is translated, and the missionaries can fluently speak it, they teach chronologically through the word of God. Adding the use of story boards and live props, the lessons are geared towards helping with comprehension..  The goal is to establish a strong church over a 15-20 year period through teaching the tribal people how to read and write and then providing them with copies of the Bible in their own language.