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Alabama couple follow call to global missionscomment (0)

January 3, 2008

By Kristen Hiller

She wanted to go to South America. He wanted to serve in Africa.

As the Alabama couple looks back on nearly 20 years with the International Mission Board (IMB) serving Germany and Middle America and the Caribbean, Lee and Connie Taylor describe their journey as one marked by “God’s perfect timing.”

“I felt the call to missions as a 12-year-old in my little church, Bayview Baptist Church (in Mulga),” Connie remembers.

But after meeting Lee, a Birmingham native who played opposite her in a student summer musical in 1971, Connie became convinced God had called her to stateside service with her husband.
“Since I knew it was God’s will for me to marry Lee, I thought, ‘I’m safe from foreign missions,’ because he wasn’t called to missions,” she said. “He was just called to full-time Christian service, and I didn’t want to leave home.”

But only three years into their marriage, the young couple began discussing the possibility of serving overseas.
“It was like a tennis ball that was bounced back and forth for about 10 years until we both felt the call together and began to pursue it,” Connie said.

Eyes opened to missions
Working as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church, Brandon, Fla., Lee brought a group of teenagers to a missionary appointment service, hoping God would open their eyes to global missions.
Little did he know God would use the event to confirm his own call to reach the nations. “I think our journeys just sort of moved together at that point,” Lee said.

Answer to prayer
While sitting in the church office talking with visiting missionaries shortly thereafter, Lee mentioned he and his wife were considering international missions.
In that moment, one of the missionaries picked up the phone and asked Lee to hold the receiver as he leaned forward and dialed the IMB, saying, “There’s no better time than right now.”
Lee and Connie were appointed as IMB missionaries to Germany April 12, 1988, where they served for 15 years as media missionaries for the German Baptist Convention and as overseas correspondents.
Fifteen years prior to their appointment, the couple had traveled to Germany as part of a European choir tour with Samford University’s A Cappella Choir.

When Connie whispered a brief prayer before leaving, she couldn’t have imagined how specifically God would answer.
“I remember the last day of that trip praying, ‘Lord, if Lee and I ever have children, I would love to bring them back to this place and just let them see it,’ never dreaming that we would ever go there to serve,” Connie said.
And not only did they get to show Germany to their three children, Amanda, Amaris and Joshua, they also helped raise two foster children there as well — Ekram and Salah, two Afghan boys of Muslim background. Now the Taylors also have two grandchildren with another on the way.

Choosing Germany wasn’t hard for Lee either given the available media position with the IMB there.
With master’s degrees in both religious education and communications from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Lee knew God had called him to use media to serve in missions.
He also remembers saying, “I will go anywhere in the world, but I will not go to Miami, Fla.”
But God’s perfect timing would lead Lee to his current position at the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship Media Centre in Miami, which serves Middle America and the Caribbean.

Although the couple never imagined they’d be serving as missionaries while living in southern Florida, Lee now calls the opportunity an “act of God’s grace.”
When his mother began experiencing health problems in the United States, Lee would lie awake at night in Germany, wondering if he would have to resign from the IMB to care for her. About that time, the position became open in Florida.

“And it was just God’s normal, perfect timing, which He’s never surprised at and we’re just astonished by,” Lee said.
Today he and his wife use media to reach the peoples of Middle America and the Caribbean with the gospel.
As a communications professional traveling throughout the region and around the globe, Lee said he’s seen God use professionals in all walks of life to fulfill the Great Commission.

Little is much
“There are so many opportunities that people just don’t realize are available for professional people,” Lee said. “There’s hardly any occupation I can think of that couldn’t be used somehow on the missions field.
“If people can just get out of their comfort zone and their environment, they’ll see there is such a big world out there with such great needs and people who will appreciate even the smallest things that you do.”
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