Ecuador (MNN) ― Following God's call is not often easy. Graham and Sharon Nichols will testify to that.
But they would also point out that following God's will regardless of its discomfort is well worth it--no matter what stage of life you may be in.
The Nichols are grandparents from Georgia. Their life in the States included comforts, but they were by no means selfish church-goers. Missions played a big role in their lives. The couple led short-term trips to Peru and other Latin American nations for years.
But in the early 2000's, Sharon Nichols felt God calling them to something more long-term.
"At one point I was on a team to Monterey, Mexico, and God just said, ‘This is what I want you to do the rest of your life,'" remembers Sharon. "That was a big change for us because we're very structured, very organized people, very family-oriented. The thought of leaving all that we know and love was very difficult."
And yet as the peace of the Lord fell over the Nichols family, the duo found themselves being pulled away from their family ties toward Ecuador. So without any Spanish training or connection really to Ecuador, the couple starting raising support in 2006 to go into full-time field work with The Mission Society.
Nearly six years later, the Nichols reached their goal and were able to head to Quito, Ecuador in December 2011 for language training.
Over the last six months, Sharon says she and her husband have already begun to build a ministry. On their 2.5 mile walk to and from language classes every day, the Nichols stop in shop after shop, purchasing little items here and there, just trying to build up relationships with people in Quito. They're also just trying to get to know people in their local church.
For now, they're focused on learning the language and culture, and building relationships. But when their classes end in November, Sharon says they could end up moving anywhere in the country--that's up to God. What the Nichols are sure of is what their focus will be: discipleship.
"In this country, Jesus' name has been known. People know who Jesus is," says Sharon. "But they don't know Jesus Christ as a personal Lord and Savior in their life, in their heart."
Once they get a better grasp on the language, the Nichols will begin small groups with men and women, they'll do music ministry and other discipleship programs as the Lord leads.
"We really don't know the full extent, we're just open to what God wants us to do," says Sharon. "God could change every bit of that. The call may change, but the Caller does not. He has called us to this country for a purpose."
Sharon adds, "We were very comfortable serving in our home church. We were very comfortable living the life of North Americans who God has blessed wonderfully. But it is a great privilege to give it all up and let it go for the sake of the Gospel."
The Nichols have their own site page with The Mission Society. Read more about ways to pray for them and even support them here.