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Mile by Mile's History

Every ministry has a starting point... Here's ours...

Image by Javier Allegue Barros

As Mile by Mile formed, a few counselors warned we may be asked about starting "full-time ministry" so late in life. Though travel started recently, God has been planning Mile by Mile Ministries for years.

 

We married in the early 90's, when the military was experiencing unprecedented draw downs. Three years into service Todd faced discharge unless he made rank. Promotions in his field were hard to come by and he recognized there was significant potential he would be discharged from the Navy. Wanting to serve like many in our family had, Todd promised God if he would let him finish his 20 year career, he would give his life to full time ministry at retirement. We prayed fervently God would show us his plan. It was then we knew God wanted us to tell others about him though we didn't know what that looked like yet (by the way, that's his desire for your life too!)

 

We spent the next few months praying and counseling with pastors, spiritual leaders, and Christian family members. We prayed about missions and prepared to follow God's leading. He revealed his plan wasn't to use us on the mission field, but in the military and medical care as he opened the door to the requisite promotion and granted me admission to nursing school. At each command, we asked God to reveal his will for us and did our best to follow his lead . He provided great churches and strong pastors which grew, challenged, and prepared us for a ministry we did not yet see. He gave us time to learn, serve and lead in so many different ministries and has equipped us to teach others about them for which we are grateful.

 

Todd was promoted to Chief in 2006 (E-7). He was exceptionally proud of wearing khakis and joining the Chief's mess, both highly regarded Navy honors.  Before long, Todd advanced to Senior Chief (E-8) and began looking at retirement remembering the promise he'd made.  As it inched closer, others encouraged him to seek Master Chief (E-9, the highest enlisted rank) telling him he'd been groomed for it. Todd was listening to those voices rationalizing that full time service after being a Master Chief was still good; God had another plan. 

 

In 2009, Todd began experiencing medical issues that not only excluded him from making Master Chief, but ultimately led to his retirement from the Navy in 2010.  Though God held up his end of the bargain, this transition left Todd wondering, "who am I and what is my purpose." This pushed me (Kerrie) further up the healthcare leadership chain and made me the primary breadwinner. My career was thriving and I was traveling the U.S. as a healthcare consultant. Being "on the road" and receiving kudos was increasingly enticing, but life at home was becoming more challenging as my husband navigated three sons, his own medical journey, and other life demands. In July 2012, we reached the breaking point, when Friday flight delays caused me to have less than 36 hours home each week for five weeks straight.  That's right, during that time, I spent more than 75% of my time away from home; none of us were happy about it including God. I finished my contract and left that role December 2012. 

Though I left healthcare consulting, I still craved accolades and making an impact. Being impactful is not wrong; doing it for recognition is. Subsequently, I held manager and director level roles; all noble, but none fulfilling. I felt obligated to earn for my family more than anything else. The Proverbs 31 woman had so many more God-given responsibilities than money-earner and I embodied none of those; instead, I relied on me.

 

Like Todd, God started whittling away those flawed pieces and asked me time and again to trust him. He grieved my repeated reticence, and eventually my own thorn in the flesh emerged. In 2019, after a decade seeking answers, I was diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disorder that has forced me to slow down, to leave full time nursing work, and finally.... to trust Him for my needs. 

OK... so how does that get to Mile by Mile? Let's walk the path.  Late 2019, after God allowed both our apple carts to be upset, Todd demonstrated unprecedented growth and I knew God was calling in Todd's promise. Though I told our son I saw God preparing his dad, I never told Todd. I didn't want to plant a seed God didn't intend.  About six months later, Todd told me he thought God was planning something and we should pray about it.  Fast forward six more months and Todd said out loud for the first time he felt God calling him to evangelism.  

We had never done anything like this and didn't know where to start. Todd asked our Pastor (Brian Jackson) to meet with us. He had no idea why we asked to meet until he sat in our home and Todd said it out loud for the second time.  Pastor nearly fell out of his chair exclaiming, "I did not see that coming!" As Todd explained what God laid on his heart, Pastor asked what his "niche" was. After Todd asked what he meant, Pastor explained every evangelist and missionary has a specific focus, God calls them to; that's their niche.  Pastor Jackson (a former evangelist) continued to pray for and guide us while we prayed God would make clear the niche we were to fill.

 

As always, God was faithful to reveal his desires. Below is what he shared with us. 

1. Mile by Mile's mission is to lift up men of God helping them bring to life the vision God gave them for his church. 

2. Mile by Mile Ministries is not to go on deputation to raise support. Instead, Mile by Mile is to operate off Todd's retirement and love offerings. If churches pick us up for regular support, it is a blessing, not a pre-requisite to serve. 

3. Todd is called to ministry and I am called to minister to Todd. Remember Proverbs 31: 11 about the virtuous woman? It says, "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...".

Trusting this direction, we set out on our first visit in January 2022. So far we have been blessed far more than we could have imagined. We are excited to see how the Lord uses Mile by Mile Ministries and where he takes us. 

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