Friday, March 27, 2009
Bill was born in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Houston, Texas when he was 15. In college his roommate invited him to church and there he made a public confession of his faith.
After college, with a BS in Religion he attended Moody Bible Institute for one year and then Dallas Seminary where he received his MTh. While at seminary he met Bob Evans, founder of Greater Europe Mission and felt that GEM's thrust of starting Bible Colleges all over Europe was a wise idea. For some reason God placed Greece on Bill’s heart. GEM expected all candidates to attend Missionary Internship, a 7-month training program for would-be missionaries, in Detroit, which is where Bill & Marion met.
Marion was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She graduated from Toronto Bible College and then became a registered nurse before going to Missionary Internship.
Bill served as youth pastor at West Chicago Bible church for one year after their marriage and then a year later, having raised their support, Bill & Marion left for Greece with a very simple job description: start a Bible Institute. So....that's what they did....and therein lies a LONG story of learning a language, gaining the trust of the Greek evangelicals, finding a 'home' for the Greek Bible Institute, finding teachers and students and the money to pay for it all....GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL. Bill has taught all the Theology courses at the Bible college, Marion used to teach a course to young women, but now does the book-keeping for the college for Greater Europe Mission.
Today the director of the college is their son Jeff. The graduates are pastors of the majority of the Greek Evangelical churches in Greece. They head up most para-church organizations in Greece, and are also serving as missionaries.
Bill and Marion’s four children have all married Greeks and 2 of them are also missionaries with GEM in Greece. Thank God they are all committed Christians, married to people from committed Christian homes. They also have 11 grandchildren.
Bill & Marion first heard of First Presbyterian church in Jackson, Mississippi when their then pastor, Don Patterson, asked Bill to lead a tour group he was bringing to Greece. Bill and Marion got a burden for Greece and even sent Van and Alice Rusling to Greece to work with the GEM team for a few years. Van actually taught Marion her job!
Please pray for Bill and Marion as they serve in Greece.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Tom was born and reared in Kingsport, TN. He grew up within the Presbyterian Church (PCUS) and after high school volunteered for a year’s service to the Presbyterian mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was there that God used Tom’s experiences on the field and his relationships with the missionaries to call him to salvation. It was also in Congo that God began to develop within Tom a heart for missions, especially for Africa.
After the year in Congo, he entered King College in Bristol, TN where he graduated in 1970 with a degree in economics. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he greatly benefited from the Navigator ministry. For the next 8 years, he was involved with the Navigators at Ft. Bragg, Ft. Benning, and Vanderbilt University. During these years, involvement with missionaries and ministering to foreign nationals increased his heart for missions, which developed into a sense of call. In 1980 he entered seminary at Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions at CIU. Tom and Ann met while they were both studying there. In July 1983, they were married after Tom graduated with an M. Div. in cross-cultural studies. Later that year they were accepted as career missionaries by Mission to the World, and Tom was ordained by Palmetto Presbytery.
The Austins arived in Nairobi, Kenya in April, 1985. From 1987 to 1995, Tom was on loan to the Nairobi International School of Theology. There he taught missions, leadership development, church growth, management courses, and other practical theology courses and was heavily involved in the school administration. During this period, he earned a D. Min. in urban missions from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. In late 1995, MTW asked Tom to help develop a new model of theological education for Africa. This challenge involves developing a multifaceted ministry in theological education on the continent. In addition in mid 1999 Tom was asked to take the position of principal of the Bible Institute of South Africa, an MTW partner institution located near Cape Town, South Africa. He held this position until the end of 2004, taking the college through a period of transition and development in which the 83 year old Bible college became African in its vision and focus as well as in its staff and its student body. Tom is now serving MTW throughout sub-Saharan Africa concentrating on coordinating, facilitating and guiding MTW ministries in theological education.
Ann was born and reared in rural Chester County, S.C. and grew up within the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church there. It was while she was in college that she came to know Christ as her Lord and Savior. She received a degree in speech pathology in 1972 from Columbia College in Columbia, SC and was a public school speech pathologist in Berkley, Chester, and York counties of South Carolina. While living in Athens, Greece, she worked with a TEFL program for the U.S. Navy. With a view toward missions, she and her first husband entered seminary at Columbia Graduate School (CIU). After her husband died in 1981, she and daughter Anna (then 4 years old) remained at CIU, and Ann entered the M. Div. program. There she met Tom and in July 1983, they were married.
While living in Nairobi, Kenya Ann taught Bible courses to the wives of the M. Div. and M.A. students at the Nairobi International School of Theology. She taught such courses as Exodus, a survey of the New Testament from Acts to Revelation, and the Life of Christ every year in the Women’s Program at NIST. She also led a women’s Bible study and helped with teacher training at their church, Community Presbyterian Church, Madaraka. Since their moved to South Africa she has been involved in a variety of ministries. When they were ministering with the Bible Institute of South Africa, she led the faculty wives in developing a ministry to the women at the Bible college. She also began a ministry of speaking to women’s groups in the area, which is ongoing.
Tom and Ann are the parents of two daughters: Anna, who is married to David Von and Rebecca, a student at Covenant College.
Friday, March 13, 2009
In the past year, the Armes have had a desire to take a year of reflection and ask God what he would want them to do for the next few years. Currently, the Armes are on HMA (Home Ministry Assignment) from Jan –July 2009 and will be living in Springfield, ILL.
Stan had been involved with teaching several classes in the past year: Missions, Introduction to Ethics, Advanced Ethics, O.T. Historical Books, and the Doctrines of Christ and Salvation. He also was responsible for the Practical Placement Programme which places students in churches under the leadership of a local pastor. These students are able to get training and experience in preaching and counseling, and in preparing for and leading worship services.
One of the highlights for Stan and Donna is teaching marriage seminars. A shocking statistic in Port Elizabeth, the city where they lived, was that it has been called the “Divorce Capital of the World” where up to 70% of the marriages end up in divorce.
When they return to South Africa, Donna and Stan desire to teach part-time at the Bible College and then spend their other time putting together a basic course on the Biblical view of marriage. They want this course to have a particular African flavor so it can be used in other parts of Africa, as well as South Africa. The Armes believe that if people in Africa get marriage and the family working on biblical principles, it will positively influence the rampant crime and HIV issues in South Africa.
Specific prayer requests
1. Pray for a comfortable and reliable car during their time on HMA. Stan is putting together a Power Point presentation that will adequately describe what they have been doing in South Africa.
2. Finishing up the work in South Africa and with the college. Please pray for the students and their continued sustenance in biblical teaching.
3. Pray for preparation for the marriage training when they return to Africa.