By Jean Bihn</>

imb_logoWhen Andrew and Beth Hipps* leave for the international mission field early next year, it won’t be the first time they have traveled abroad to spread the gospel. Shortly after they married, Andrew and Beth also served overseas.

Both would say family played a major role in laying the groundwork for their service.

“The [early] training we got was our parents being completely committed to Jesus,” Andrew said.

Beth’s aunt and uncle, missionaries in Ecuador for 20 years, also planted the seed.

Influences aside, the couple did not plan to go back to international missions this soon. They were content raising their children as Andrew served on staff at a local church.

“I always thought we’d return overseas, but it would be after our kids were grown,” Beth said.

But God had other plans for the two 39-year-olds — plans that removed the couple from their suburban lives. It was during his final semester at the Arizona Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary that Andrew went on a 14-day mission trip to South Asia. Two weeks later, Beth traveled to South Africa on a short mission trip.

Beth said the outings were “catalysts to both of us to [return to] international mission work. We both had an urgency to share the gospel.”

More confirmation came, Andrew said, as he sat in his last class at Golden Gate. The professor invited a missionary from Mozambique to speak to students. As the visitor spoke, so did God.

“I really felt God saying, ‘I want you to look back at IMB,'” he said. “All this happened within a matter of months.”

As soon as the decision was made, their outlook changed again: “It turned from intrigue to obedience,” Andrew said.

God also settled a question that had been troubling the young couple — How could they leave their family behind again?

“He helped us see our family and church were sending us, we weren’t leaving them,” Andrew said.

When the two began the lengthy applications and interviews, the process reminded them of the countless workers required to send people into service.

“Some people pray, some people give and some people go,” Beth explained. “We’re all part of a team. And each of us is just as important as the other. We’ve been floored at the number of people praying for us.”

“We’re just normal people,” Andrew continued. “You don’t have to be super-Christians … just be committed to sharing the gospel overseas. Be a pray-er or a giver if you can’t go.”

*Names changed