How It All Began
In summer 2005, the Brennan’s, (Randy, Karen, Kay and Shelly), embarked on a family mission trip to Swaziland, Africa. Little did we know that this experience would change our lives forever. This experience is what has led us to become full time missionaries to the country of Swaziland. It is our love for the Lord, our heart of compassion for the lost, oppressed and dying, and grace from God our Father, that has enabled us to sell everything we have and go. It is answering the call of the Lord in Isaiah 6:8, “…Whom shall I send? And who will go for me?” And he answered, “Here am I, Lord, send me!”
Hearing God’s Voice
Hearing God’s voice happens in different ways; through the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, through people and circumstances. For us, it began with our daughter Shelly, who at the time was in 5th grade. She would say, “Mom and Dad, when I grow up, I’m going to be a missionary to Africa.” We would always encourage her and say, “Yes, Shelly, someday you will be a missionary to Africa.” The desire to share the gospel with the people in Africa was birthed by the Lord in Shelly’s heart at a very early age.
Our oldest daughter, Kay, was the next to hear from the Lord. She had graduated from high school a semester early (January 2004) and attended Youth with a Mission, YWAM, a missionary training school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was returning home from a trip to Mexico and saw a movie by Compassion International discussing the number of children being orphaned as a result of AIDS in Africa. Her heart broke for these children. The Lord began stirring in Kay’s heart. She said, “Lord, if this is where you want me to serve, then confirm it in the next 24 hours.”
Kay arrived in Chicago International Airport at 5:00p.m. that night and was home in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin by 7:30p.m. At the time, we had a Bible study meeting in our home for college/career aged people. She came in and joined the study. At the end of the night, Ryan the facilitator, ended the evening by asking if anyone in the group wanted to support a child in Africa that was orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic. The Lord confirmed to Kay her call to Africa.
During one of her classes the following semester, a missionary from Morocco, Africa spoke. That night Kay called home and said, “I think next summer we are to take a missions trip as a family to Africa.” The desire to serve the Lord in Africa was now firmly planted in the heart of Kay as well.
At this point, Karen and I were thoroughly convinced that our daughters, Kay and Shelly, were on their way to Africa!!!!! But what about us?? What were we to do? We began to pray and ask the Lord, what is it that you will have us do Lord? Through His word he made it very clear, “Go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19. We knew where we were to go, Africa, what we were to do, share the gospel, when to go, the summer of 2005, and why, because the Lord has commissioned His people to take the gospel to the nations.
As a Pastor at Teen Challenge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it seemed right to investigate where Teen Challenge had centers in Africa. My search took me to the website of Teen Challenge in Swaziland, Africa. Our hearts broke when we read about the struggles of the Swazi people as they faced the daily realities of AIDS, orphans, and poverty.
Map of Swaziland
And so began our adventure of a lifetime. As we sought the Lord in prayer for guidance and direction, he numbered our steps and directed our path. His divine hand of protection guarded us every step of the way.
While in Swaziland, we were able to share the Gospel with many people from all walks of life. Our ministry was to the sick and dying in the government hospital, to the orphans at the orphanage, we went door to door in “shanty” town and shared the hope of Jesus Christ with all who would listen. We were also able to visit a maximum security prison, minister at various churches and open air preaching in the market place.