Brief Biographical Sketch and Testimony of Call of John E. ShraderI was privileged to grow up in the home of a Baptist pastor, and even though my grandfather was a drunken womanizer, the grace of God changed my father and thus changed my life as well. When my father trusted Christ, he determined to live a life of faith, and even though he did not have an earthly father there for him, God truly became a Father to the fatherless. This walk of faith led him to follow the call of God as God directed him through men of Faith to step out by faith and plant a church over thirty years ago in Katy, Texas. His obedience to the Lord deeply impacted me, and growing up seeing the marvelous Hand of God in my parents lives and ministry challenged me to also want to walk and live by faith. I was saved at the age of five years old, and though I had been “wanting to get saved” for some time before, my parents wisely would share some verses with me and then encourage me to come back and talk to them about it later. This tested my commitment and conviction, and because of my tender age I would not come back as it was simply a young heart wanting to do what everyone was talking about. This all changed the night I was truly saved. My mother spoke with me a little while, and then she told me I could talk to my father the next day, as he was out on visitation. I was under such conviction that I was unwilling to wait, as I was so sure of my lost condition that I was afraid to even go to sleep, not knowing if I would die in the night and be condemned to hell! I anxiously waited until my father returned home, and then he carefully went through the scriptures with me. He could tell that this time was different, and that I was truly under the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God about my sin, and the coming judgment, and that I needed the righteousness of God. I repented that night, and trusted only in the finished work of Christ through His death and shed blood, burial, and resurrection to save me from my sins. I am confident that night I turned from my sins and trusted Christ. Some time after that I followed the Lord in obedience by being Scripturally Baptized by immersion. I have served the Lord from my youth, and being in a pastor’s home afforded many opportunities for service. I participated in many ministries, even becoming our church pianist at a very young age. I was blessed to be able to take many missions trips as well, quite a few to Mexico, and also trips to Russia, Japan, and Peru. This deeply stirred my heart for missions, and I have had a love and desire for missions since a young age. I also served the Lord by traveling with a group of retired Baptist church builders, and even went to a Christian boot camp. After starting some undergraduate studies, I finished my undergraduate work and some seminary classes at a local Baptist church school in Independence, Missouri, under Tri-Cities Baptist church. I then transferred to Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, under the ministry of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newington, CT. They had a very strong emphasis on the preservation of God’s true Baptist churches, and God’s true Words, in the Masorectic Text, the Textus Receptus, and the King James Bible in English. Shortly before graduating in 2001 with a Masters of Biblical Studies, a missionary with ten children came and preached a chapel. Their family was going to Africa, and the Lord worked mightily in my heart and began to burden for this needy field. Shortly after I graduated the Lord brought me my wife, and we prayed about entering missions at that time. The Lord did not open the door, but instead opened a door to serve as my father’s Associate Pastor for five years. I then followed the Lord’s leading to the Northwest, where I served for a year and a half under Pastor Albert Fare at New Testament Baptist Church in Brewster, WA. The members of the church really wanted someone more middle-aged, so the Lord moved us to serve for a time under a church planter in The Dalles, OR. After moving there and joining, the church planter left, so we accepted the call of the new little church to become their pastor. Serving for almost four years, the Lord has taught us many valuable lessons through both triumphs and trials. We had surrendered to serve the Lord the rest of our days there, even though it was not our desire. During this time of service, an older pastor who I highly respect resigned from his very successful pastorate to surrender to go the mission field of Africa, and this again stirred my heart, but God still was not opening the doors. It was after that time of reading his prayer letters and having my heart stirred again for Africa that I had what I called my “Isaac Moment,” where I felt the Lord was impressing on my heart that He would have me stay in the situation we were in and joyfully and faithfully serve Him despite the difficulties. I told the Lord that if this place (The Dalles) was where He wanted us to serve, then I would trust Him and obey. All my dreams of the Mission Field, training National Pastors, etc., would have to be died to. I truly was content to serve the Lord in this small town of 17,000 people if it was His Will. Shortly after that surrender the Lord opened a marvelous door. We heard about a tremendous need and open door in Zambia through our dear friend and fellow servant David Rea, but since we had surrendered to “stick and stay” in The Dalles we interpreted the burden as simply a desire to go and see it. I made plans to take a mission trip the following March if the Lord opened the door, then tried to move on, but I could not. The need consumed my heart and mind, filled my thoughts, and became a matter of prayer. After the burden continued to grow, I incredulously went to my wife and shared with her that I felt like there was a possibility that the Lord might be calling us to Zambia. Amazingly, after she began to pray, she also confirmed that she too felt this burden and was ready and willing to go serve the Lord in Zambia. We both went on the survey trip in March of 2012, and the Lord absolutely confirmed in our hearts that this was the ultimate place and field of ministry and service that He had for our family. Our children are ready and excited to go, and we have stepped out on faith to follow the Lord’s call upon our lives. We have placed our home up for sale, and are totally living by faith. God also powerfully provided for our little church in The Dalles. Several weeks after our surrender to the call of God in December of 2011, a man named James Quaite called me. He had nourished a burden for the area for six years, and was excited to hear about our call, because that opened the door for him to fulfill a burden he had carried for those six years. After a month of candidating, the church called him to be their pastor with a 100% vote, a marvelous provision for this new little church. As we continue to see God lead, we are excited to see what the future holds. Knowing God truly does hold the future, we are completely trusting Him to provide, and continue to guide our family as we step out in faith in response to His Call upon our lives. In conclusion, there have been National pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and students praying, some as long as ten years, that God would raise up more missionaries to take the place of the two men that have give decades of their latter years to serve the Lord in the ripe harvest field of Zambia. I know that God has raised up the Shrader and Rea families in answer to these years of prayer, and it is exciting to know that God is taking their burden, need, and desire, and coupling it with our surrender, to continue to “send forth laborers” into His ripe harvest field of Zambia. Like the Macedonian call of old, the Zambian call echoes forth today, “Come over into Zambia and help us. Help us reach those who will believe if someone will just come tell them. Help train those of us who want to serve, but need to be discipled. Please come help us!” Ba Lesa ba chindikwe! (To God be the Glory! – Lamba Language, Zambia)
Brief Biographical Sketch and Testimony of Call of Esther J. ShraderI was raised in the home of a Baptist missionary to prisons and detention centers. Growing up in a Christian home, I heard about Jesus and always wanted to be saved. At the age of six, I was listening to my dad study for his lesson in Junior Church. The Lord convicted me at that time of my need of salvation. My daddy could sense the conviction on my heart, and took his Bible and went through verse after verse to make sure I understood. I gave my life to the Lord, and my life has evidenced His salvation since that time. I waited for a while to get baptized, but during a revival meeting I wanted to be obedient in every area of my life, so I allowed God to help me overcome my fear of baptism and of people and followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism by immersion. I can remember taking off for the Lord after I took that step, and even my hunger for the Word of God and serving the Lord increased. Since the age of eleven, I have been involved in teaching children in Junior Church and Sunday School. I also was privileged to be involved with teaching and counseling of the girls in the Juvenile Detention Centers my father ministered in. I was also greatly involved in ministering through my local church. I have always had a deep love for missions, and prayed much for other missionaries that I knew. When my husband and I got married, we surrendered our lives to the Lord for His service. We have always wanted to be involved in Missions, but knew that it had to be the Lord calling us and not just our desire. I can clearly see God’s preparation in our lives for the work He has called us to in Zambia. When my husband first told me about the need, God deeply stirred my heart. He gave me peace in my heart that this was His leading for our life. When I was able to actually go and see the mission field, and see the people, God gave me such a love and desire to spend the rest of my life ministering to them and pouring out my life for them. I have complete peace that our Heavenly Father has directed our lives thus far, and will continue to be faithful as we follow His leading as missionaries to Zambia.