Jerry leaned back in his chair, looking at Tim with astonishment before asking, “Wait, you have a background in telecom systems?”
Tim nodded. Palm trees and banana leaves waved around them on the veranda. Tim and his wife, Tara, were in Papua New Guinea for their new missionary orientation. This was Tim’s first time meeting Jerry, his new boss. Tim had planned to serve in hardware and computer repair in the Ukarumpa IT department, which supports Wycliffe’s Bible translation projects throughout the country. But God had other plans.
Jerry shook his head at the revelation Tim had shared, a smile breaking across his face. “No one told us!” he said. “Our telecom manager is leaving immediately. We have no one with that specific experience to take his place. God has prepared you perfectly for this task!”
If you had talked with Tim five years ago, he would've had no idea that the events in his life were leading up to that moment in Papua New Guinea.
PREPARED FOR THE CALL
Tim attended a missions conference in 2005 where he felt God’s tug on his heart. “I came forward and told God ... ‘I will go anywhere you want me to go — just don’t call me full time into missions!’”
Soon, his first opportunity for a short-term trip to East Asia arrived — just as Tim started a new job in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone systems at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Even though I didn’t have the required work experience, I still got the job,” Tim remembers. “I’m not sure I would have even offered myself the position!” When Tim received the missions opportunity after only a month on the job, he asked for two weeks of vacation — and his manager agreed!
Tim then went on two more short-term trips before he decided that he wanted to use his 10 years of IT skills full time on the mission field. So he and Tara headed to Check IT Out — a two-day conference that explores the use of technology in Bible translation — and learned how crucial Tim’s skills were in translating Scripture. The couple, along with their two children, joined Wycliffe so that Tim could serve in IT. But after his conversation with Jerry on the veranda, it was clear that God had a different task in store for Tim.
“The IT department was planning on converting to a new phone system for the entire center — a similar system to the one I just had spent five years learning at my job in the Atlanta hospital,” Tim says.
Then he laughed, “God knew exactly what was needed, and he had worked everything together for years to ensure that I would have [these] specific skills in that place at [this] time.”