PETE was in year 12 when he made the commitment to serve God whenever and where he calls, even if that's overseas. It was a growing conviction that God planted in his heart since high school through the faithful examples of missionaries who shared at church over many years. I (Pete) still remember the moment in the backyard of my parent's house those many years ago when pondering on life after Year 12 and what it means to trust Him that I made this promise. I remember feeling scared because trusting Him may mean serving Him in positions and places where I would be out of my comfort zone. But at the end of it all, it was the realisation that my life was in His hands that enabled me to make that promise. I'm also thankful that God did not leave me to work out this 'calling' on my own, but that he placed me in 'communities of faith' and with mentors to work this calling out.
later made the same commitment during Uni, when the Doulos ship came to visit. At the end of one of the talks, the speaker asked anyone to stand who was willing to let God use them whenever and wherever. I (Jo) stood, though with much apprehension. When God calls, he calls. I knew it was God speaking, cos I felt this strong compulsion to stand and commit myself, though I was scared at the same time and didn't want to stand. I still remember clearly the shivers going up my spine as I stood there wondering what I was getting myself into.
Pete was keen to explore going to Asia. Jo was keen to go to Africa. Pete didn't mind Africa, Jo didn't want to go to Asia at all... so we settled on Africa :o) Now we're both equally passionate about using our gifts to serve God in Africa.
We went on a 7 week short term mission to Ethiopia before we were engaged. Pete was stationed at rural Makki, and Jo at the capital of Addis Ababa. The trip opened our eyes to the 'real world' of missions and we came back to Oz, keen to return to Africa in the future. In 2005, we took a group of teens to Kenya for a 3 week mission trip as part of the mission program offered by Pacific Hills Christian School - the school at which Jo was teaching kindergarten at the time.
AFTER TEN YEARS of planning and praying, we finally arrived in Malawi in July 2012 with our three kids - Teaghan (5 at the time), Lucas (3 at the time), and Caya (1 at the time).
We spent our first year getting sick, navigating a new culture, and learning the local language of Chichewa .
While Jo concentrated on settling the Onglets into their new life in Malawi, Pete began his work as Youth Coordinator working alongside the Youth Coordinator of the Africa Evangelical Church, SIM Malawi's partner church.
God then called us to run a Kids Bible Club at our place for the neighbourhood kids, which attracted up to 500 kids at one point. Yes it was chaos, but Heavenly chaos! KBC is now led faithfully by our gardener and fellow brother-in-Christ Dickson.
In 2014, God put a burden on Jo's heart to begin a sewing ministry to teach and empower underprivileged women and girls with sewing and tailoring skills, and thus Tiyamike Sewing was born.
Pete continues to work with the youth, empowering AEC church leaders to faithfully teach the Bible to the youth and disciple them to know Christ in a deep and personal way.