How This Couple Went From Works-Based Religion to Cross-Cultural Evangelism

Caleb and Mary Ellen both had to overcome their misconceptions of Christianity before pursuing missions.

From Message magazine issue "2020 Candidate Issue"

Caleb grew up in a divorced family from east Georgia.

His parents were members of a Pentecostal cult and separated when he was seven years old, at which point Caleb went to live with his father and older brother, Josh.

The way Josh so personably talked about God confused Caleb. Josh encouraged Caleb to pray and read the Bible regularly, and to know God as a gracious and loving father. This intimate view conflicted with the God of Caleb’s past, who needed to be appeased and won over by good deeds.

Despite his brother’s influence, Caleb couldn’t shake off his perception of Christianity as a works-based faith, so his pursuit of perfection made him weary. He turned to drugs and alcohol for fulfillment. It wasn’t until he was 17 that Caleb finally understood that his own wickedness could never be redeemed by any amount of self-reform.

Nine years after his rededication to the Lord, a young missionary woman caught Caleb’s eye when she spoke at the church he was attending.

While her parents served as church planters in rural America, Mary Ellen became bitter toward the people. Her parents seemed to constantly receive undue criticism for their efforts, and as an MK, she felt burdened by unrealistic expectations to be a perfect child.

“We couldn’t even wiggle too much in the pew without someone complaining to my parents later,” Mary Ellen recalled. “I didn’t want my future husband or children to have to endure this.”

From the age 10 to 17, Mary Ellen wrestled with assurance in her own salvation. Finally, she gave it up to the Lord, repented of her sin, and stepped forward to be baptized. Although disenfranchised by ministry, she couldn’t shake off God’s purpose for her life.

Mary Ellen spent the next two and a half years serving in the Philippines as a medical missionary and midwife. Upon her return to the US, she started speaking about her experiences at different churches, including Caleb’s.

Caleb was eager to give missions a chance while dating Mary Ellen. Now married, they are headed to Togo next summer. Caleb will be helping plant churches while Mary Ellen serves as a midwife and discipler to other women.

Learn more about the Currys’ ministry here.

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