Ministry with roots in SBTC church helps missionaries with a set of wheels while home on furlough

When missionaries come back to the states on furlough, they often find themselves with critical needs, such as transportation. Nate Sprinkle (pictured fourth from left), who now pastors Calvary Baptist Church in Rosenberg, and his family were among those who were assisted with this need by the Macedonian Call Foundation. SUBMITTED PHOTO

HOUSTON—Upon returning stateside on furlough from two different assignments while serving the International Mission Board as overseas missionaries, Nate and Barbi Sprinkle found themselves with several essential needs.

The first occasion was in 2006-2007, when the young family was returning from serving in Nepal. The second occurred after they served nearly seven years in Northern India. On both occasions, they needed a vehicle to help them get around while back in the states.

And on both occasions, they turned to the Macedonian Call Foundation (MCF) for help.

Founded in 1980 by Harvey and Charlene Kneisel, MCF is a Houston-based non-profit organization that provides vehicles to missionaries furloughed in the U.S. Missionaries pay $250 per month, which includes use of the vehicle and full insurance coverage. They are also responsible for fuel costs, oil changes, and minor repairs while they are driving an MCF vehicle, which can be loaned for up to a year.

“[The fact] we were able to borrow a car from MCF both times was a Godsend,” said Nate, who now serves as senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Rosenberg.

Doug Miller and his wife, Cathy—longtime members at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land—took the helm of MCF in 2013. They became aware of the ministry through an article printed in the Southern Baptist Texan, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s newspaper.

“Here, you like cars,” Cathy told Doug as she showed him the article. “You should do this.”

That was the beginning of a now decade-long relationship that has seen the Millers volunteer their time to minister to missionaries.

In the past year and a half, MCF has loaned vehicles to missionaries serving in 48 countries. Mr. Miller, MCF’s president, said the organization works hard to add a personal touch to those it serves. For example, MCF board members often assist with picking up missionaries at the airport so they are welcomed home by a smiling face. There’s a fringe benefit to such service, as those MCF servants often get firsthand accounts of the work God is doing around the globe.

MCF loans vehicles to missionaries and their families an average of 50-70 times per year. While sending agencies, including the IMB, frequently send referrals to MCF, Miller said it can still be a challenge letting missionaries around the world know the ministry exists.

“The challenge we have is to get the word to churches who sponsor missionaries and to the sending agencies so that they can spread the word to the people coming and going every year and every day,” Mr. Miller said. “There are so many missionaries who could use the service if they just knew about it.”

Another challenge? Keeping MCF’s fleet of donated vehicles on the road. The ministry owns 31 vehicles, 26 of which are currently operational (two are undergoing maintenance and three are scheduled to go out soon). The average age of an MCF vehicle is 13.5 years old and donations of vehicles have slowed since COVID began.

With stacks of cards and letters of support as reminders, the Millers say they are confident God will continue to provide and use the ministry for years to come.

“This ministry that we’re involved in is a huge blessing to many, many people who don’t have any other alternatives,” Mr. Miller said. “The foundation makes transportation one less thing [for missionaries] to worry about when they’re coming home.”

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Holly Carey
Southern Baptist Texan
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