As early as first grade, Hazel knew that she was called to be a missionary. She “read all the [missionary] books,” and wanted to join the long line of believers who had worked overseas. But her faith community did not nurture this desire, and she set it aside. In contrast, Jamie dreamt of moving west and becoming a rancher. By his own admission, his two greatest fears were airplanes and Muslim people—and he had no plans to encounter either.
“I couldn’t figure out why I had this strong burden—so I asked God to take it away.”
After the two were married, Hazel again felt the weight of God’s call. She discussed this call with Jamie, but he remained closed to the idea of going overseas. So once again, Hazel tried to set her calling aside. “I knew that God wanted us to be married. But I couldn’t figure out why I had this really strong burden—so I asked God to take it away. But he would not take it away.” Finally, she surrendered. “I remember saying, ‘okay God—I will be a missionary for you. But I don’t know what that means, because my husband’s not going to be.’ And I didn’t think Jamie would change his mind.”
As Hazel struggled over God’s plan for her, Jamie also began to wrestle with God. “In my heart, I kept saying, ‘No I won’t; I’m terrified.’ But day after day, it kept eating me up.” In the winter of 2014, God took Jamie through a season of depression and despair. “Looking back, I think it took that to bring me to the point where I was willing to say yes to God.”
In the spring of 2015, as the couple crossed the Susquehanna River on their way to a wedding, a sudden peace came over Jamie. “All of a sudden he said, ‘I’m going to say yes,'” Hazel remembers. “And I knew exactly what he meant. I knew our whole life would change.”
After Jamie said yes, the dominoes fell in rapid succession. Within 24 hours, they learned of an opportunity for missionaries in Spain. Within 48, they’d received a blessing and confirmation from their pastor. “He told us that [the day before] he had felt strongly that he should tell us to attend long-term orientation for mission work. It was just undeniable what direction we were going to go next.”
“It was just undeniable what direction we were going to go next.”
In 2016, Jamie, Hazel, and their children moved to the Mediterranean to study local language and culture. Two years later, they relocated to Spain to work with Mediterranean immigrants. Although they returned to the States in 2020 due to COVID-19 and visa complications, they continued to seek God’s direction and wait for his nudging.
Their journey is a beautiful story of God bringing two people with different desires, hopes, and fears into one mind and one calling. Because God doesn’t work in a vacuum, the story doesn’t end there. As Jamie and Hazel asked God to reveal their next steps, a small team of women in the Mediterranean began to gather. These women sought to respond to their country’s lack of care for—and exploitation of—vulnerable women with exceptionalities. Rosedale International (RI) worker Alice was part of this team. In a previous Beacon article, she shared, “In our government system, women with exceptionalities are especially susceptible to exploitation. We hope to begin a home where they can live safely, with purpose and dignity. We wait and pray in faith that the Lord would lay on someone’s heart to come here and make this their full-time work.”
Through Jamie and Hazel, God has answered this prayer. They recently committed to RI as their sending agency and plan to join RI’s team in the Mediterranean this fall. They will partner with Alice and her foundation to build and operate this safe home for vulnerable women.