The USCWM as a Shopping Mall
Bob Silva and Diana Shea came to the U.S. Center for World Mission from the Boston area for a few weeks in order to prepare for overseas service. They found the USCWM to be a "missions shopping mall"! ME Managing Editor Jim Stewart recently talked with Bob and Diana on campus.
ME: How long have the two of you been planning for overseas service?
Bob: We have known each other and been working toward full-time Christian service together for two and ahalf years. Diana brings two young girls to our upcoming marriage, one six and the other nine years old.
ME: How did you make your way to the USCWM?
Bob: People from two different churches encouraged us to come. So we said 'Lord, if you really want us to go to this place, you've got to provide the way,' and lie did! The South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham, Massachusetts provided travel money for us, white members from the Bedford Christian Church many of whom did not even know us provided our other expenses.
ME: What do the girls think about Mommy making the trip down here?
Diana: This is the first time I've ever been away from them like this. My older girl has known since she was little that she wanted to be a missionary, and she came to that conclusion entirely on her own. She was a little surprised, though, to team that she may become a missionary as a child. They are going to be with us wherever we go.
ME: What are your vocational backgrounds?
Bob: I have a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management, and Ne worked for the Montana Forestry. Fish and Wildlife Department for years. I have also done commercial refrigeration unit maintenance and repair, and during those years I was salaried and made good money. But for the last seven years now, so as to have more time for Christian service, I went on a commission basis in sales.
Diana: For over ten years I've owned and operated what was first a leather shop but which has since become more involved with quality jewelry. We are in the process of closing out the business.
MF: What do you think so far now that you're here?
Bob: We are truly amazed at the enthusiasm and energy demonstrated by the different denominations here working together rather than fighting over doctrinal differences. They are all here together to get the Gospel out to the whole world,
MF: Do you have any focus on an overseas area, or type of mission ministry, that you would like to pursue?
Bob: We had thought of unmasking. But Diana is concemed that I may become too involved in my vocation and not enough in ministry. That is the way it now is at home, where I spend too much time just working to make a living. We want to share our lives with people.
ME: Do you have any deadlines toward which you're working?
Diana: A year ago we thought it was maybe five years down the line before we left home. Now we feel it could be sometime this summer!
Bob: The wedding is in March. We will be back out depending on how finances ran. We came and said, "Lord, here we are!' We see the need. We have found a place (at the USCWM) that is really great. We are overwhelmed by the opportunities for knowledge here to meet our needs. We are right in the center of a place that knows what's going on in the world, and here we can learn about any part of the world to which we might decide to go.
ME: What are the agencies that have helped you in the short time you've been here?
Diana: Well, there has been Frontiers, the Zwemer Institute, and the Institute of Chinese Studies so far, with agencies like Overseas Counseling Service and YWAM to come.
Bob: Whatever agency we end up going with, we would like to coordinate it with the USCWM. Sure, Diana and I could both go to Bible college to pick up our 30 credits. But what good does that do if we are not in the hub of things — hearing what's going on in the rest of the world? Here we can pick up the Bible credits that we need and also take the other courses that are offered. That's what think is so important getting exposure to the world and maybe even getting overseas for six months out of each year as part of an internship program. So if we can pick up everything here both Bible credits and keeping upon what's happening in the world we are going to be well trained for whatever the Lord calls us to do.