An Update from GFC Global Partners Todd and Kristen Hoatson
Long-time GFC Global Partners, Todd and Kristen Hoatson are ending their partnership with GFC as they have decided step away from the field, after 22 years, to focus on their family. We are thankful for their commitment to sharing the Word all over the world and thank them for their service!
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word” – I stared at these words on a large banner hanging by the stage of the sanctuary at Grace Fellowship almost 24 years ago. I thought about where my faith would be if I didn’t have God’s Word. How would I know who God was? How could I know what Jesus did for me? How would I know about God’s purposes in my life and the world?
It turns out that Sunday – my first time at GFC after moving to Johnson City from California – was the start of a week-long mission conference. Any time I wasn’t at work that week, I was at the church attending various mission events. When I heard about Wycliffe Bible Translators, I was hooked. My vision of doing something, sometime, somewhere – with missions, became focused. I would be a Bible Translator! At the end of the week, I excitedly told the missions director, Ron Royce, how wonderful the missions conference had been and that I now knew what I wanted to do with my life. “Great… who are you?” he responded.
Over the next two years, Grace Fellowship became a home for me. I plugged in with the singles group and helped out with the high school ministry and college group. I got to know the other GFC missionaries who were serving with Wycliffe. They answered countless questions and gave me a clearer picture of what “life on the field” was like. GFC supported me on a short-term trip with Wycliffe to Guatemala which also helped confirm this was the direction God was leading.
In 1996, I became a member of Wycliffe and met my husband, Todd, there. After years of training, support raising, and short-term service opportunities, we headed to Indonesia, where we served for 13 years. My husband worked in translation-related positions and I did literacy work. The highlight for me was my years working with a literacy program for kindergarten kids in poorer communities.
From the start, GFC supported me and my family in prayer, and later on, financially. When we passed through Tennessee, GFC found us wonderful families to stay with and share with – even a car to borrow. Larry Nees came to visit us in Jakarta! Grace Fellowship encouraged us, listened and prayed for us, and loved on us during our Tennessee times.
In October 1996, our family returned suddenly and permanently from Indonesia after our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It doesn’t seem to be God’s plan for us to return overseas and we haven’t found any long-term options here in the States that seem like a good fit for us. So we have resigned from Wycliffe effective July 31.
Todd will spend the next 6-12 months working as a paid employee with Wycliffe’s sister organization to produce a software tool to help Bible translators and consultants work with Biblical languages more effectively. I will continue homeschooling our two kids.
As we leave, we want to thank GFC for the significant role you have played in our lives and our ministry. And to say, never underestimate the difference that you can make when you sew a banner for church, invite a missionary over for dinner, or send a missionary a short note to let them know you’ve prayed about something in one of their newsletters. We thank God for you.