“God is more concerned about who I become rather than what I do. ‘Be’ comes before ‘Do’.”
Josiah and Lydia Stout are newly weds who graduated this spring with degrees in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. Josiah grew up with his family in Omaha, Nebraska for most his life, where he says “Life was good ‘on the prairie.’” Lydia grew up in Missouri and Michigan with her eight siblings and two godly parents who she says exemplified following the Lord in a powerful way throughout her life. Josiah and Lydia met each other at Calvary University through the Nikao Leadership Institute, and married in the summer of 2021. Today, they are eager to embark on their missionary calling through receiving training with Ethnos 360 to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Josiah reflects that his time at Calvary has been “instrumental” in choosing the ministry and career he is now pursuing, and Lydia adds that her education at Calvary has trained and equipped her for her ministry and career through studying Intercultural Studies and teaching English as a second language. She states: “My intercultural classes have encouraged me to fully consider others’ perspectives and the influences that have shaped who they are. This will be important to consider as I try to learn the culture of the people I will work with someday in order to effectively share the Gospel with them.” Josiah adds, “Being in an environment with people to cultivate your passion, opportunities to wet your feet, and an atmosphere that elevates God’s Word have been three of the most instrumental ways my time at Calvary has prepared me for the future.”
The pull towards missions started for Josiah and Lydia when they were both just children. Josiah reveals that, “I was the kid who used my free time to read a book.” He states that God used both the Word and missionary biographies to grow an early excitement in him to serve in missions, potentially overseas: “I never felt a specific call from God, although I enjoyed volunteering with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) during the summer and thought it could be fun to pursue a teaching ministry, possibly for children. God really used circumstances at Calvary to draw me to His Word and see His love and passion for those who have never heard the gospel.” Lydia recalls a time when she was in elementary school that specifically burdened her soul for the unreached. One day, a missionary speaker came to her school and pulled out a piece of paper that stretched down the audience’s aisle: “On this paper was a list of all the languages which did not have the Bible. It made me so sad, because I knew this meant they did not know the saving message of salvation.” Since this experience, Lydia says God has increased her burden for the unreached and that Calvary has enabled her to pursue a vision of reaching them successfully. Together, Josiah and Lydia are determined to reach the unreached as a unified force.
During Josiah and Lydia’s four years at Calvary, they volunteered with Global FC: “Because of the four year commitment to tutor these refugees,” Josiah says, “We have developed deeper connections with them. A couple weeks ago Lydia and I were able to spend some time with a family that Lydia began tutoring her freshman year. Even though it had been months since we had seen them, there was a close bond that we sensed in the room.” Lydia adds, “Global FC has provided me with opportunities to build relationships for Christ with refugee kids and their families. Working with this organization has allowed me to view people of other cultures in a more personal light than I would have otherwise.”
Both Josiah and Lydia have learned powerful lessons through their classes at Calvary. One of the key lessons that Josiah learned was the concept of “Know, Be, Do” which Dr. Joshua Paxton helped “drill” into his head: “What stood out to me is that God is more concerned about who I become rather than what I do. ‘Be’ comes before ‘Do’. All three areas (knowledge, character, actions) are a continual work in progress that God matures as we seek Him.” When reflecting on Lydia’s educational journey, she touches on a lesson that deeply impacted her life: “One of the professors at Calvary, Dr. Bonine, continually reminded me to think of the ‘people or things’ concept. This has reminded me to have the right perspective in life. I try to invest my time and energy into people, which will last forever, instead of things, which are only temporary.”
Presently, Josiah and Lydia are “anticipating what the future holds” as they enter Ethnos 360’s missionary training center this August: “We have been talking and praying about this decision for a few years,” Josiah says, “And so it feels hard to hold our plans loosely. We are excited to begin this next phase of what may lead us overseas in just a few years.”
At Calvary, Josiah and Lydia were active students, participating in Nikao events, helping lead Haystack meetings, speaking in chapel, and graduating with special honors.