The Missionary Veterans
21 Aug 2017
For Howard and Pip Mychael, serving in Nigeria for 23 years has meant great sacrifice, physical and emotional endurance, and faith in the God who has sustained them all the way. Now back in Australia, let’s catch up with them and see how they are tackling life on this side of the planet.
What did missions look like for you?
We served in Nigeria from 1993 until 2016, working with the Church of Christ (COCIN). I was involved in veterinary outreach working alongside COCIN’s indigenous missionaries, training church pastors and members in improving livestock health. Pip worked as a volunteer with one of the church’s hospitals assisting in an HIV prevention and support program, and a support group for parents of disabled children. We were also involved in informal discipling and mentoring.
What does life look like now?
We are living in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney and studying Counselling, full- time, at Morling College. We are on a two year leave of absence from Pioneers. Howard is working one day a week in a veterinary practice. Pip’s mum is in a nursing home near where we live and adjusting to her lack of independence has been another challenge. Our children and grandchildren are not nearby, but we all enjoy being able to see more of each other. Phone calls to and from Nigeria help when the connections work.
What was your transition like?
The transition is an ongoing process. We had about eight months to prepare to leave and say our ‘goodbyes’ but we miss people, our life and ministry in Nigeria, and find many things in Australia very different to what we remember. Although we regularly visited Australia during our years serving overseas, we have found this was definitely not the same as returning to re-settle permanently. As well, at present there is no clear leading as to what we will be doing in our next season. We are finding the counselling training a great help in the transitioning process as we work through the issues involved.
What has stayed with you from your overseas culture?
We are often amused by people’s obsession with punctuality and rigid organisation in Australia. However, it saddens us that many struggle to find the time to visit and spend quality time with others.
How do you think God used your missions experience to help shape who you are?
We would be totally different people if we hadn’t spent time serving in Nigeria. It was a wonderful privilege to be accepted by brothers and sisters from a different culture and be part of what God is doing through His church in a sometimes very difficult environment. We learnt to truly trust God in all types of situations, and depend on his provision. There were times when things were uncertain and definitely out of our control, but God remained faithful, kept us safe and provided all we needed.