Following God’s Calling – The Mello Family
On Sunday, Caleb and Terrah Mello shared the exciting news of God’s work in their lives over the last few months. They’ve accepted an invitation to move to South Africa. They’ll be working with Knysa Hope, a new non-profit (NGO) focused on reaching people in Knysa, South Africa for Jesus. I wanted to share a bit of their story (in their own words). Contact the Mellos at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about their journey, or visit their website at www.mellos4knysna.com.
“We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to share with you what the Lord is doing in our life; how He dramatically changed the direction of our family. We both have been involved in short-term mission work and involved in ministry our whole life, both at FBC and the churches where we grew up, but never felt called to full-time vocational ministry. I have been working a full time job at a large corporation and Terrah has been teaching music in various capacities. We have two wonderful little kids and love serving here at First Baptist. We were really happy with the life the Lord has given us. But since the beginning of this year, there was something more our family needed to be doing. We weren’t sure what that was, but we knew the Lord had something big for us.
As we were in continual prayer about where the Lord was leading us, He used the work of this church over Good Friday and Easter to clearly call our family to the mission field full time. We were overwhelmed. But never before had we felt the Holy Spirit’s leading so strongly. We knew this was what God wanted for our family. Through much prayer and a series of amazing events, it was clear the Lord was directing us to join an amazing ministry in the town of Knysna, South Africa.
Knysna is a beautiful town on the coast of South Africa. Its natural beauty and wonderful climate create a tourist driven economy and invites the wealthy to build and vacation there. Yet minutes away from the beautiful tourist areas lay the outer townships where life is much more difficult. Homes are often pieced together with metal scraps and if one is very lucky, cinder block. The economic disparities are exacerbated by the harsh topography of the region. Knysna’s unique geography further divides the city into small enclaves that are disconnected from each other and each has unique cultural and even language divisions. So how do you reach such a fragmented community for Christ?
The missionary team on the ground there has started an organization called Knysna Hope which will, through various initiatives, engage the community of Knysna, to build relationships with people, share the gospel, and bring people to Christ, much like the various ministries of First Baptist in Tallahassee. These initiatives will include skills development, food relief, youth engagement, a Christian radio station, crisis pregnancy intervention, and the fine arts.
Knysna Hope has only been in official existence for a couple weeks, and using resources already available, the only initiative started thus far has been the founding of the only Christian radio station in the region called Grace Radio. Since the church start-ups in Knysna and the missionary team on the ground there already cannot be everywhere nor have the resources available to start all the initiatives of Knysna Hope, the missionary team in Knysna is looking for specific people with specific qualifications to come and get this ministry off the ground.
Because of our specific education, work, and ministry experiences, we believe the Lord has uniquely equipped us for this ministry. The missionary team has formally asked Caleb to come be the chief organizational officer for the Knysna Hope organization and coordinate the ministry efforts across the city in each of the unique cultural enclaves. Terrah has been asked to start and run one of the primary initiatives of Knysna Hope and that is the Garden Route Academy of Fine Arts. The academy will engage the community by partnering with the local schools to use the power of music to build relationships across cultural divides and reach people for Christ. Alongside the Academy, she will also help start the South Africa Institute of Christian Music which will focus on training and equipping clergy and lay members from congregations in Knysna and across South Africa with a desire to serve their local congregation in music.
The academy, institute, and other initiatives that will be developed under the umbrella of Knysna Hope exist for the sole purpose of enhancing the church’s presence in the community, building relationships with people, and bringing them to Christ.
The Lord has drastically changed our plans, and our future looks much different than we every pictured just a few short months ago. But we couldn’t imagine anything more exciting for our family!”