Ordinary Lay-Mobilizer – Remarkable Impact
By Bill MacLeod
Jeff Reed works as a Security Architect for Cambria Health Solutions. He came on my radar around 2012 after he and his wife, Lori, had formed a mission mobilization fellowship called the “GO Group” aimed at raising up and sending out college students from the Portland-Vancouver area. Their journey into missions was not typical, or easy. I recently caught up to interview him after not being in touch for several years. This is his story…
Bill: When did you first sense a call to missions, and what did you do about it?
Jeff: My wife Lori and I began pursuing service on the mission field in 1980, shortly after we were married. We went to the leaders of our church at the time, and our pastor said that we must plant 2-3 churches in the U.S. before we could go to the mission field. We submitted to leadership and when it was our turn to be launched, we were sent, but there were no funds. We were diligent. We saw one young woman give her heart to Christ, before our church closed it down. We eventually were led to move to Portland, Ore.
B: What life setbacks did you face even as you continued to pursue the Lord in missions?
J: Yes, I was unemployed Jan 2003 to June 2004. We were a single income home throughout these events. From June 2004 until October 2005 I lived 2 hours away by car from my family to make ends meet. I was able to afford to come home every 2-4 weeks depending on finances. Then these events took place:
- My Dad passed away in February 2009 and dementia symptoms set in for my Mom by 2011.
- My wife Lori became ill in Oct 2014 and by May 2015, she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- In August 2015, Lori’s parents are both killed in a car accident.
- After chemo, radiation, and other treatments, on August 18, 2016, my wife Lori passes away.
- The very next day, my own brother suddenly passes away from a blood clot to his lungs.
- May 2018 – my mother passes away
B: Have you experienced friends pulling away as you went through these hard things?
J: Those whom we knew were close, have stayed close. Some who were closer to my wife, have withdrawn a little which seems right and normal, though it was still somewhat painful in its own way.
B: How did these major life events impact your kid’s lives?
J: My daughter Megan and son Tim grew through these events to more clearly know the way of the Cross. It has clearly been a struggle, but neither of them have waivered in pursuing what God has called them to. Today, our daughter Megan has been serving as a Wycliffe missionary nurse in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea since January of 2015. In June 2018 our son, Tim, left to begin his work and training at JAARS (Wycliffe) in North Carolina. He returns in July before going to Papua New Guinea to begin work as a missionary pilot/mechanic in a couple of weeks. They are fulfilling the dreams for missionary service Lori and I had when we first began our married life together.
B: What has been the “fruit that remains” (John 15:16) results from the “GO Group” through all of this?
J: Besides our own 2 kids; from 2012 to the present, the GO Group has sent out between 17-20 individuals to the following countries: Brazil, Kenya, Thailand, Scotland, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, China, Afghanistan.
B: Is this typical in your experience?
J: While 2-3 people per year having been sent to 13 countries over a 7-year period does not sound like many; when you consider this is a ‘random’, unpublicized group that people only hear about through “word of mouth” that meets in different homes on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 6:30pm, led by those who are, in some cases, laboring cross-culturally here locally, we are amazed at what the LORD has done! God is always faithful!
B: Finally, what would you say to those who may have felt a strong “calling” to missions but, do not have a supportive network with whom they can share and pray with over these longings?
J: Please join us on the 2nd Saturday of the month (ie., July 13th, August 10th, Sept. 14th etc.) and Email us at: GoGroupPDX@gmail.com to find out the location! Please let others know of this opportunity to meet and pray together! Finally, please understand that God has not changed because He cannot change. Trust what He has told you, no matter what you see and feel. God will take care of your circumstances!