Galatians 2:20 – Christ Lives
The Sinklers would like to share their story, to tell you of the many ways that Christ has shown Himself faithful in their lives, and to finally write the whole story. As they have chosen to follow Christ, they have seen their life in the flesh fade away while life in the spirit has deepened. They hope this story will edify you, and motivate you to choose Christ daily.
It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20
Sanctification through Obedience
Staci grew up in a Christian home, trusting her life to Christ at just 4 years old. Staci’s late grandfather was a pastor in the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) for 50 years, and Staci had the privilege of growing up in the church building that her own grandfather had pastored in Belgrade, Montana. Staci’s mother was active in the AWANA ministry of the church and sang on the worship team. Her father served on church boards in various capacities. In spite of all the advantages afforded her, Staci would have to be sanctified in her personal relationship with Christ, and this called for obedience.
Jarid grew up differently, being educated through catechism classes of the Catholic church. While a personal relationship wasn’t being forged, the foundational principles of Christianity were taught through these classes. During his sophomore year of high school, a group of friends invited Jarid to a Bible study in the basement of the same CMA church in Belgrade, MT. In that first night, Christ lifted the veil and allowed Jarid to see the truth of Christ that was woven into the Catholic teaching. Jarid broke down and gave his life to Christ that very night. In spite of coming to Christ at a young age, and having close friends that were of a similar mind, Jarid would have to be sanctified in his relationship, and he, too would have to choose obedience.
Although graduating from the same high school, Jarid and Staci wouldn’t actually meet until later. Jarid had found employment in Colorado Springs, and Staci was attending classes at Montana State University. After meeting for the first time, a relationship quickly sprang up. After a short engagement the two were married in that same CMA church in Belgrade, MT, and the couple faithfully attended Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel of Colorado Springs. They would still have to be sanctified in their walk with the Lord, and sanctification would require obedience.
By 2008, the young Sinkler family had spent all of their married years as believers, but had not yet been baptized. Jarid and Staci had each felt called to baptism, but both had been stubborn and refused to yield to this calling. Finally, through conviction of the Holy Spirit, Jarid and Staci took the plunge together at Calvary Chapel in Queen Creek, AZ. This was the first true act of submission and obedience in their marriage, and looking back, it would change the trajectory of their lives.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in new-ness of life. Romans 6:3-4
Foster Care, Adoption, and Orphan Ministry
After that first step of obedience in baptism, Jarid and Staci would start to take their faith more seriously and examine themselves against scripture. This impacted the way that they tithed, leading them to truly offer God first fruits instead of leftovers. Faith and scripture would also lead them to obedience in other areas of their life. One such form of obedience came in orphan care.
A series of fleshly decisions (they still don’t get it right all the time!) had moved the Sinklers to North Dakota where they immediately got involved in the Evangelical Bible Church. God’s sovereignty was evident as the couple was absorbed by this loving church body. During her attendance of a study with a fledgling orphan care ministry, Staci’s heart was being pulled in the direction of adoption. In truth, her heart had been considering adoption for some time, and the calling was getting louder. It was with much hesitation that Jarid attended a book study on “The Fields of the Fatherless”. During this time and study the Holy Spirit was speaking through the teaching of the saints and the book’s insistence on referencing scripture.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into property; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalm 68:5-6
As Jarid and Staci started down the difficult path of adoption, they were faced with all of the questions regarding what kind of children they would consider to adopt. How old, what race, what sort of medical history, what diseases, what parental history, and what other problems would they be willing to accept? The answers to those questions would require foster care training as a prerequisite, and open another door for ministry. These decisions were not easy, and the path continued to call for obedience to Jesus Christ as He ministered to them through His Word.
Over the course of a few years, the Sinklers had several placements of foster children in their home, and also adopted their son, Isaac. The family size stretched from their two biological children (Benjamin and Kaiya), to as many as six children. Through all of this, God was leading and refining this family to mature them in faith and prepare them for what would be required of them in the future. Jarid and Staci had nothing to offer. Their fleshly preference would have been to stick with their plan of raising their two kids to enjoy the life of an empty nest in their mid forties. God had a different plan, and all the Sinklers could possibly contribute was obedience to His will.
Calling and Confirmation – New Hope Uganda
This path of obedience that had all started in baptism had led the Sinklers to participation in Embrace Ministries, an orphan care ministry of Evangelical Bible Church (EBC) in Dickinson, ND. While aspects of this ministry included foster care and adoption, the group desired to increase the church’s awareness of international orphan care. In a meeting with church leadership, the Missions Committee asked if Embrace had considered New Hope Uganda. The committee spoke of previous missionaries from EBC who had played an integral role in starting this Ugandan based ministry, and how the church was still supporting this ministry that aimed to bring the Fatherhood of God to the fatherless. The leadership of Embrace found that a new generation of saints had come into the church in Dickinson without an awareness of this ministry, and purposed to familiarize the church with this rich history. The first step to accomplish this was a short term mission trip to see what they were supporting. Jarid participated in the group that departed for Uganda in February of 2014.
…The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14
That first mission trip was difficult for the Sinklers. As Jarid departed for two weeks away, Staci was left to manage a home with her two biological kids, a one year old adopted son, a pair of brothers from foster care, and a five-month old baby girl from foster care. Jarid had a great trip, but wasn’t at all enamored with the missionary life. Meanwhile Staci struggled for survival with all of the complications presented by this blended family. Jarid came home to drastic changes in his job, and a home that was being tried by the circumstances of foster care and adoption.
One year later, in the spring of 2015, the topic of Uganda would surface again in the Sinkler home. EBC sent another missionary team, one that Jarid did not participate in. Upon the return of the team, the Sinklers were brought up to date on a discipleship program at another Ugandan location for New Hope Uganda. Jarid was moved by the concept of raising up Christian pastors from surrounding villages and training them to pastor their own churches, eventually training additional pastors from the villages outside of them. This objective of spreading the gospel through pastoral training to reach a radius from each church was something that resonated, and had Jarid searching for more information.
As God would have it, the Sparks Family (full time missionaries at Musana Camps of New Hope Uganda) were on furlough and visiting North Dakota during this same time. As Syd Sparks and Jarid had opportunity to share in conversation, this idea of discipleship came up for the church at Musana Camps. As it turned out, Syd was looking for a missionary family who would champion this same cause at Musana, as well as provide some administrative leadership at the camp. The job had been posted on the New Hope Uganda website, and the Sinklers were urged to apply.
At this time, Jarid’s job with his family company was again in a state of change. It appeared that his role within the company could be significantly reduced by the summer of 2015, so the timeline seemed to fit that the Sinklers could consider full time ministry in Uganda. The only thing that might stand in the way was that little girl in foster care, who was now 17 months old and would likely be adopted into the Sinkler family. The Sinklers prayed for this little girl, that God would work out the details and timing of both Uganda and this particular little girl’s destiny. The hearts and desires of the Sinklers were turning toward Uganda at the stirring of the Holy Spirit.
By the summer of 2015, things had changed quickly. The Sinklers had booked tickets for Jarid, Staci, Benjamin, and Kaiya to visit Uganda to explore living conditions and life in Uganda. While the Sinklers felt strongly that they were to go,
communication had run dry in the application process at New Hope. Shortly after booking tickets, the Sinklers would find that Social Services had made mistakes in the handling of their foster daughter’s case. What was looking like adoption turned into placement with family from Colorado, and the Sinklers were given just a few days to say good-bye. God worked out the details for this little girl, but not in the way the Sinklers had hoped. Then, just one month prior to their trip to Uganda, Jarid’s job changed again. What had looked like a potential exit from the family company turned into a promotion to the president of the company, and a great deal of responsibility to turn around a family company in the midst of a down-turning oil economy in North Dakota. Finally, during their trip to Uganda, the Sinklers found a ministry at New Hope that was struggling with growth and showed signs of troubled relationships as a result.
As the Sinklers came home from Uganda in September of 2015 they carried a feeling that the calling to Uganda was “not yet”. Jarid’s job was reason enough to put off any consideration of moving to Uganda. For the remainder of 2015, the Sinklers dove into work and life as if Uganda was off the table for consideration. God would have to show up in a big way to change their minds.
In the cold of winter in 2015-2016, Uganda would again come to the surface through prayer and unlikely sources. Old friends, acquaintances, New Hope staff, previous missionaries, and others would begin to ask what had ever happened to the plans for Uganda, and what had derailed those plans. The Sinklers contended that the ministry in Uganda was struggling through growth, to which the leadership responded, “If we weren’t struggling, why would we need you to come?” Jarid and Staci argued that Ugandans should lead the ministry, to which the previous missionaries answered, “Who will train and establish them?” Jarid fought with the thought of leaving his job and family company, to which he was challenged in how to lead a successful transition. Jarid also faced a challenge to walk away from his pride in the way that he was able to provide for his family, his stature in the community, and the title that proceeded his name.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Hebrews came to life and proved true as scripture reinforced every answered prayer and conversation with the saints regarding our potential calling. More important than anything spoken, any issue of timing, or any pressure applied, the Word of God repeatedly spoke as Jarid and Staci searched for answers. The humility of Christ in the second chapter of Philippians, Jonah’s story of reluctant service, Elijah’s hearing of the still small voice in the mids
t of chaos, and other scripture passages spoke plainly and effectively during this time of confirmation.
Once again, the Sinklers found themselves being washed by the word of God, and presented with a choice to obey. Under the over-whelming weight of scripture that supported the decision, the Sinklers chose to submit to the authority of God. The peace that accompanies the decision is comforting, and scripture continues to speak life into this step of faith. Glory to God!