Working Abroad with Purpose: The Way of a Tentmaker

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Working abroad where few have ever heard the gospel provides ample opportunity to spread the good news! A panel of authentic “tentmakers,” representing several countries and different vocations, will share from their extensive experience about how employment abroad removed barriers and led to friendships and witness among nationals. You’ll also hear about language learning and family life as self-supporting professionals in cross-cultural settings.

: December 29, 3:15 pm
: ICC 141-142
: December 30, 1:45 pm
: ICC 141-142
Glenn Deckert

After college, Glenn Deckert spent four years on staff with InterVarsity before further graduate work in education led to years of employment in universities abroad. His long-term plans for ministry in Iran ended with the catastrophic revolution. But both Glenn and his wife found other positions in education in Saudi Arabia and then Hong Kong. Over their 16 years of employment, family life, and ministry abroad, they’ve seen much fruit from Bible studies with colleagues, inquiring youth, and acquaintances. Later, while on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University, Glenn found similar opportunities in Qatar, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.

Ann Deckert

As a wife and mom, Ann Deckert’s first priority has always been her family. And the family home has been her primary venue for hospitality and lively discussion, especially during her time in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and other shorter term residences abroad.  After her family had settled in well, God directed Ann toward stimulating part- or full-time teaching positions in each new place, which provided her with the most natural ways to engage with people and cultures.  

Fred and Elaine Hickernell

Fred and Elaine Hickernell felt called at Urbana 79 to serve the Lord overseas. In 1985 they moved to Hong Kong, where they lived for 20 years. There they learned/relearned Cantonese and acclimated to Hong Kong culture.  Fred was a university professor and department chair. Fred and Elaine served in Chinese-speaking churches alongside local Chinese brothers and sisters, taught Bible studies, and engaged in ministry. Along the way, they had the privilege of seeing God work in and around them. Fred and Elaine returned to the U.S. in 2005 to care for aging parents and continue to serve the Chinese church.

Speaker A is a Chinese American physician serving Christ through medicine overseas. He has four children who spent their middle school to high school years overseas and went on to undergraduate studies in the U.S. In addition to demonstrating the love of Christ through medical service and teaching, he and his wife mobilize believers in international churches to be intentional cross-cultural witnesses, salt and light, through training and mentoring.

William Bayley worked as a manager for a joint venture manufacturing operation in a majority Muslim country for 11 years starting in the early 90s. He had worked for the American parent company for 13 years prior to moving overseas. In the early 2000s, William started his own business in the same city and continued to work as a tentmaker and doing business as mission for 19 years. In that time, he helped start and lead an international church, worked actively in local discipleship, and helped coordinate mission projects throughout the country.

Mary Bayley taught the Theory of Knowledge to national high school students and later taught English to sixth graders at a major private school in a majority Muslim country. After mandatory retirement, she was retained by a local firm to produce video English lessons, which were distributed to schools throughout the country under a contract with the Ministry of Education. Mary has been active in national discipleship, children’s ministries, and volunteers as a lay counselor in the national MBB community.