Sent out but not alone
By Robin Talley*, Photos by Nancy Patton | Dec 15, 2022
For Caleb and Tricianne Spacht, the process of preparing to serve with the International Mission Board as church planting hub leaders in France didn’t happen overnight nor in isolation. When Arizona Southern Baptists are sent out as missionaries, they don’t go alone.
Drawn by the Spirit
When Caleb and Tricianne first sensed the Holy Spirit was drawing them to overseas service, it was not in a specific moment, but rather a series of moments that were cultivated by their experiences with Arizona Southern Baptists.
Caleb has been a part of Arizona Southern Baptist life for 16 years — since he started as a college intern at Happy Valley Baptist Church in Glendale. Now, Caleb is Happy Valley’s family pastor.
Within the last four years, both Caleb and Tricianne began to feel called to something else but couldn’t tell what. They both thought missions would be in their future, but maybe after their kids were grown.
“As Caleb and I began to talk about missions, we found we couldn’t stop talking about it,” Tricianne said. “We decided why not now. We will step out in faith, and let God close the door.”
So far, God hasn’t closed that door for the Spachts.
Supported by the church
Once they began contact with IMB, the Spachts included their pastor, Chris Boggus, and his wife, Becky. Part of the IMB process includes obtaining an assessment by the church to confirm a missionary candidate’s calling, but this wasn’t the sole reason why the Spachts consulted their pastor. They knew their pastor and church had a heart for missions.
“[Happy Valley] has a mission-sending culture,” Caleb said. “Over the past few years, [our church] has supported at least two members as they followed their calling to serve overseas with the IMB.”
In addition to individuals responding to the call to go, financial support for missions has steadily increased, including Happy Valley’s largest-ever Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in 2021.
Their church also supported the Spachts in practical ways. One step in the missionary candidate process is to attend a conference in Virginia where the candidate can learn more about the job needs around the world and where the candidate’s gifting and calling would be the best fit. Childcare is not provided at this conference.
“Our church family stepped up and cared for our children while we were away,” Tricianne said. “We were blessed and at peace to know people we knew and loved were providing loving care for our kids.”
Sent out by the network
Arizona Southern Baptists’ responsibility for support and care for IMB missionaries doesn’t stop once they have been sent overseas. The Spachts are hoping that the Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network will not only send them out but join them in the work in their new location.
“We hope the relationships we have developed with people over the years as we have served with Arizona Southern Baptists through local churches, associations and Zona Camps will become short-term teams who come with us to help in planting churches,” Caleb said.
*Name changed for security
- Start locally. Whether helping Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries in a ministry like New Life Pregnancy Center or an ABCS Community Resource Center, start by ministering to the people in the local community.
- Develop a mission-sending culture. Being a part of the Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network means there are resources available from the larger network to help you get started.
- Offer practical help. Helping missionary candidates, or those currently serving, with childcare, meals, transportation and, most of all, consistent prayer are small steps that mean a great deal.
- Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering when your church receives this offering in December or give at imb.org/generosity/give-now/. 100% of your gift goes directly to missionaries on the field.
- Share with your church or small group a video interview with Caleb and Tricianne Spacht. The video can be streamed or downloaded at vimeo.com/738063022.
Robin Talley, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.
Nancy Patton, a freelance photographer living in Peoria, is a member of Mountain Ridge Baptist Church, Glendale.