By Kelly Young

countybeat@jacksonvilleprogress.com

Jason and Cindy Pointer have learned first-hand when God calls, you answer. Despite successful careers in broadcasting and teaching, when the Pointers heard the call to be missionaries in Africa, they allowed God to uproot their East Texas lives and transplant them in Jos, Nigeria.

“I never planned on being a missionary. Actually, I never planned on being a pastor in the first place,” Jason Pointer said.

Jason worked in broadcasting for 15 years when God called him into the ministry. Living in Lindale and shopping for seminaries, Pointer stopped in at the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary while in Jacksonville one day, and he knew he found the right place. Graduating in 2002, Pointer accepted an associate pastor position with Fellowship Bible Church in Jacksonville. It was during a FBC missions trip to Nigeria, two years ago, that Pointer felt he had found his place in the ministry.

“I had no expectations for the trip, but from the first or second day that I was there, there was this unusual level of comfort surrounding me,” he said. “I spent much of that trip intentionally getting introduced to the right people.”

While in Jos, Pointer learned a local private school, the Hillcrest school, was in need of both teachers and a head pastor/chaplain. Hillcrest is mainly populated by missionaries’ kids and upper-class Nigerian children, and most members of Hillcrest’s congregation are, themselves, missionaries to the area.

Pointer came back to Texas convinced God wanted him and his wife to serve the missionaries in Jos by working at Hillcrest. His wife, who did not accompany him on the trip, took a little more convincing. But after a three-week seminar during the summer of 2006, Cindy was as convicted to move to Nigeria as Jason had been.

“If we are really serious about following God’s leading in our lives, and if we really look at our lives as not our own, then we really need to let God move the pieces around the board as He sees fit,” Pointer said.

After a rigorous application process with both Hillcrest and Serving in Mission (SIM), a non-denominational international missions organization with more than 1,600 active missionaries in more than 40 countries, the Pointers found out in November 2006, they had been appointed to serve in Nigeria.

Now the Pointers face the daunting task of raising the necessary funds for their July trip. The Pointers need to raise nearly $54,000 to pay for upfront costs, as well as, an additional $4,505 for each month they stay in Africa.

“We are asking our friends, our families and anyone who has an interest or sensitivity to this type of work to contribute,” Pointer said. “We are just the tip of the spear, we want them to be part of the effort, with their prayers, their encouragement and with their financial support. We want people to take ownership, as part of the team that is sending us over there.”

Jason Pointer will be working as the school’s chaplain and head of the Bible department, as well as, serving as the head pastor of the Hillcrest Church. Cindy Pointer will teach and handle administration, curriculum writing and staff development. Hillcrest has approximately 400 students and includes all grades — kindergarten through twelfth grade.

FBC Associate Pastor Richard Spencer said Pointer has several skills which will help him succeed in Nigeria.

“Jason’s biggest assets are his enthusiasm, his commitment to excellence and his care and passion for families and children. A big part of what he will be doing there will be dealing with the families and children of the other missionaries,” Spencer said. “There are a lot of issues of living cross-culturally that impact families and kids, and Jason has a great skill and passion to handle them.”

Spencer underscored the importance of missions by explaining a large majority of all church money stays in America.

“Something like 97 percent, 97 cents of every dollar, is spent within the United States on the already-reached. The overwhelming percentage of human and financial resources are spent here at home,” he said. “Jesus says we are to make disciples of the nations. The need to send missionaries and people to support the missionaries is tremendous.”

Anyone interested in contributing financially to the Pointer’s ministry may do so by contacting Jason Pointer at Jason.Pointer@sim.org or by calling 1-903-625-0328.

SIM missionaries minister to approximately 15,250 congregations and 9 million members worldwide. SIM long-term members are required to serve for a minimum of two years, but the Pointers are very open to remaining in Jos, indefinitely.

“If we are able to be there, whether it is two years or 20 years, and help keep these front-line missionaries’ children educated and safe and well ministered to, there is no higher calling for us. There is no greater expression of who Jason and Cindy Pointer are than being able to do that. Our mission is to minister to the missionaries,” Pointer said.

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