Local News

November 22, 2012

‘Our last Thanksgiving together for awhile’

Local family prepares for mission in Spain

In the fall of 2009, Chris and Daniela Jones had two plane tickets to Russia where they would meet their now adopted 6-year-old daughter, Sasha. The morning of the flight, they had no way to pay for the trip until they found a $3,000 check from a stranger in their mailbox.

It’s surprises like that that encourage Daniela as she prepares her family — Chris, Sasha, 13-year-old son Duane, and 9-year-old son Ryan — for the mission field in Madrid, Spain. They will be there at least four years and will be sent through SEND International, an evangelical missions and church planting organization based in Farmington, Mich.

“We know we can depend on God and we can go on faith,” she said. “I think our experience with Sasha has really prepared us for what we’re about to do — just to know God will provide even when we don’t know how.”

To prepare, the Jones family sold their home and Chris is trying to sell his bread business, Luke 4:4 Distributing in Dalton. All they will take with them to Spain is a pallet of clothes, family items and board games the family plays regularly such as Monopoly and chess.

“I knew this would be happening for awhile,” Chris said about his belief he would be called to Spain. “We all knew we would be leaving soon, but it’s becoming real now.”

Real because this will probably be the last Thanksgiving the Jones family will spend home in the United States.

“Our goal and our prayers is to leave by next August, but since we’re still raising support we can’t say it’s definitely going to happen,” Daniela said. “It probably will. There’s a strong possibility this is our last Thanksgiving together for awhile. The same with Christmas. For our children, these next few weeks are very special. This will be the last time in a long time we will spend time together in our home with our family.”

Chris said their family has shown support.

“My mom will miss us,” he said. “But she’d rather us be 1,000 miles away and in God’s will, as opposed to being here and not in God’s will.”

For the children, the reality of moving hasn’t sunk in, Daniela said.

“We’ve been raising our support for two years now,” she said. “At first, the kids were excited, but now it’s kind of at the point of, ‘OK is this really going to happen? Are you sure we’re leaving next year?’ They have friends here now, so it will be different. It will be a change.”

It’s a change that started from a “strong desire” Daniela felt in 2007.

“It constantly felt like we were coming in contact with missionaries,” she said. “It was like ‘OK, this is what God has for us.’ I remember sharing that with Chris. He told me, ‘I’ve already known this for awhile, I just didn’t want to say anything.’ When we both came to that realization we knew we had to do this. We also knew it was overseas, we just didn’t know where. Spain feels right.”

It hasn’t always felt right with Chris.

“How do you go to your wife and say, ‘I know we own a house and we own our own business, but we’re going to sell all that and move somewhere and I don’t know even know where that is,’” he said. “It kind of sounds crazy from a human perspective.”

But the Jones family is not basing their decision on a human perspective.

“We’ve basically been called and appointed by God to be church planters,” Chris said. “We just felt the call. Spain never popped up on our radar, but we worked with the mission board and said, ‘Hey where would we be a good fit?’ And they agreed Spain and we feel like God has confirmed that over and over again.”

Chris believes the mission to Spain is not the first time he’s been called by God.

“Adopting Sasha was the first real calling,” he said. “I felt the call when I was on my bread route on a Saturday and (after listening to a Focus on the Family radio program) I asked God to tell my wife for me if it was real. She came up to me one night and said, ‘There’s something I have to get off my chest.’ And as a husband I was thinking ‘What did I do now?’ She told me, ‘I think God wants us to adopt.’ I was floored.”

Daniela agrees adopting Sasha has “given the family confidence to see when God is working.”

The Jones family says they have 30 to 40 percent of monthly financial pledges needed for the trip and expect to have 100 percent by the summer.

For more information on the Jones family, call (706) 980-1036, email chrisanddaniela@gmail.com or visit www.send.org/jones.

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