BY MELANIE BUCK –
Not everyone finds themselves wanting to move halfway across the world, with not much else than faith, to live in humbleness to spread the word of God, but such is the case with Nate and Amie Renard. The Renard family will leave this week for months of missions training in Oklahoma City before heading across the Atlantic to Uganda, in Africa where they will make their home.
The couple has chosen Beautiful Feet out of Choctaw, Oklahoma to train under. “We did research on missions organizations. We were really drawn to them because firstly, they believe in taking the whole family. The kids will go through their own little training. Their primary goal is to go to unreached people groups, which is less than 2% of the population,” said Amie. “A lot of agencies just focus on the parents and it’s a beautiful thing that they train the whole family,” said Nate.
The Renards have five children between them and the youngest three will make the trek with them. Skyllar, age 12, Cadyn, age 10, and Brynlee, age 4, will know life a bit differently than most American children their age but look forward to the new experiences they will have. Brynlee has said she’s “going to Africa to tell people about Jesus.” The girls have already made friends at the training center and the closer the trip gets, the more excited they become. Nick, age 19, has several commitments currently and is unable to go at this time but both he and Natalie, age 17, a senior this fall at Mena High School, are hopeful to follow the family at some point.
How does one pick up their family and move so far from all they’ve ever known? Nate explained, “We are the hands and feet of Jesus and we’re all called to missionary work in one sense, whether that’s being the tip of the spear or local support. According to Matthew 28:19, we are to go and make disciples of all nations. It’s one of the most overlooked scriptures that Jesus was most bold about. Being the arms and feet of God, you meet the needs of the people whether that’s a physical need or spiritual need. Amie has been extremely encouraging. I’ve always known that a little town in Arkansas wouldn’t be able to hold me.”
Amie has always known this would someday be her path. “I’ve known I was going to be a missionary since I was 9. My dad traveled a lot internationally as a pastor when I was a child. I always wanted to be a missionary in a medical capacity.” A dream that is certainly coming to fulfillment. Amie will receive certification to be a midwife, interning with a ministry called GoMidwife, and will complete a two year apprenticeship. Nate will be working with sustainable and agricultural living techniques, meeting the physical needs of the locals in Uganda.
Over the next eight months, the Renards will train for anything from adjusting to village life to practical life skills, language acquisition, team building, and globalization. “So much will be different. Things like, there are no hospitals there. You are the hospital and the ambulance. You have to know how to handle those situations,” said Nate.
Once training is complete, they will have a few weeks for fundraising before making the journey to Uganda next May. An important part of the process is sustaining the family while there. The couple won’t have ‘normal paying jobs’ and will have to rely on the funds they raise to survive. Part of that process has been to sell everything they own, literally, everything but their clothes. “We’ve been preparing for this for a year,” Nate explained. “We literally have no possessions left accept for a van and a Tahoe that I’m trying to sell. Nothing holds us… we have no possessions left. It’s scary and beautiful at the same time. I recommend doing it at least once in life,” he smiled.
The family will need continued support while there. “We’ve received amazing support from our church [Grace Bible Church in Mena]. This is collective of a community far and wide. People like my dad and people from here in Mena have committed to sending us residual checks… we can’t do it on our own. People have partnered with us with funding and in prayers. You can’t make it without support. The heart behind the giver is what we would love to partner with,” Nate said.
If you would like to partner with the Renard family or make a one time donation, Beautiful Feet makes it really simple by navigating to the donate page on their website http://www.beautifulfeet.us. From the website, a tax exempt donation can be electronic given by locating their account “0321 – Nate & Amie.” A tax-deductible receipt will be emailed. The second option is to use postal mail and send a check to: Beautiful Feet, 3720 South Hiwassee Road, Choctaw, OK 73020. Make checks out to “Beautiful Feet” and in the memo line put “0321 – Nate & Amie”. A tax-deductible receipt will be mailed to the returning address.
If you would like to keep up with their journey, the family will be gone at least two years and will update their blog weekly, which can be found at www.thebeautifulwounded.missionsplace.com. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This isn’t a Nate and Amie recognition thing, it’s a Kingdom of God thing that He’s using us as His hands and feet. It sounds so churchy and cliché but it’s true, we want God to receive the glory, not us,” said Nate.