Tracy & Shonna - Their Story
Tracy & Shonna knew before they met that they were both called to be full-time missionaries. So, after about seven months of marriage and with a lot of prayer and anticipation, they made the walk down to the front one Sunday morning at Second Baptist Church, Hot Springs, AR, to “Surrender” their lives “to Missions.” They should have known then that it was going to be a long and difficult road because the very next week they both got the flu. That was January of 2000.
It’s April 2002, and Shonna is just about to graduate from college with her teaching degree. A gospel revival is happening in China, and she told Tracy that she wanted to be a part of it. He said “Sure!” So, Shonna called the International Mission Board and asked them if they had any trips planned going to China. The lady said, “Yes, as a matter of fact there is a team of teachers going, and I have one spot available on that team… But…” And, Shonna said “But what,” and she said, “Well, where I really need you is in Bangkok, Thailand.” Shonna said, “Bangkok, Thailand! Where is Bangkok, Thailand?” She said, “There is a great need for the Gospel there. You would be going to teach English to youth, college students and civil servants. Why don’t you go pray about it and then call me back with your answer.” When she said, “go pray about it,” Shonna knew then that she wasn’t going to China, she was going to Thailand. But, first she had to figure out where it was.
Well, when Shonna got off the plane after being in Thailand for one month, Tracy knew something had happened to her there. She had left her heart there, but he was NOT going to go with her to get it back. Fast-forward five years to January of 2007. Shonna says “Honey, I want to go back to Thailand this summer.” They hadn’t really discussed Thailand and her previous trip there. But, Tracy knew that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. So, he said ok and even said that he would go over at the end of her 6-week teaching term so that she could show him around.
So, Tracy arrives in Thailand and says, “Do NOT ask me how I like it here until we get home. We will discuss it after we get back and after I have had time to process everything I have seen.” Shonna said ok. But what he didn’t know was that she had every one of my over 100 students praying, whether they were Buddhists, Hindu, or Christian, that he would love it there. So, they're on the plane getting ready to head home and Shonna notices that Tracy is extremely quiet. When she reached for his arm, he turned around and with BIG boy tears he said “Honey, if we don’t come and tell them, who will?” Shonna secretly did the happy dance in her heart, but on the outside she held him and they both just wept for all of their amazing newfound yet completely lost friends.
Romans 10:14-15 NLT - "But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
As it goes, life happens and things get busy while time flies. So, five years later Tracy and Shonna find themselves in a sermon series at their home church, Crossgate Church, Hot Springs, AR, called Depraved Indifferences. Their pastor was talking about Human Trafficking and Tracy & Shonna's spark for Thailand was reignited.
The pastor comes to Shonna and says would you and Tracy be interested in leading a team to Bangkok to work with some anti-human trafficking organizations. She said YES! So, that summer they took their first team to Thailand to work with three different amazing organizations that were helping victims of the sex trade industry. But after only working with one of them for a day, they quickly realized that their whole team had fallen in love with The Well. It was then, that Tracy and Shonna looked at each other and asked, “Have we finally found our home here?”
Over the next three years, Tracy & Shonna would take two more teams from Crossgate, as well as two personal trips back. Shonna even got to take her Mom, Gwen, to a Thai wedding in July of 2014. That is when she got to see firsthand what had captured her daughter’s heart there. Then, after spending almost 4 weeks in Thailand in October 2015, Tracy & Shonna felt the time had come to put their house on the market. They consulted with an agent in May of 2016, and she told us it might take up to a year to sell it. They were not happy with that news, but placed their trust in God for His plan. Then, what God did next, still amazes everyone today. He chose to sell their home in 7 days. Sensing that God’s timing was now, they begin to pray and ask God to reveal His exact plan and purpose for them going to Thailand. As He revealed that to them, they sat down with their pastor at the end of July 2016, and told him their story, and that they felt that God was calling them to go to Thailand as full-time missionaries. After a time of prayer, and discussion with the Crossgate leadership, Tracy & Shonna, along with Shonna's mom, Gwen, announced to their Church family that on January 18, 2017, they would be moving to Bangkok, Thailand, as full time missionaries.
Tracy and Shonna are happy to now call Thailand their home. They consider themselves permanent residents. Often, when asked about when they will return to the US, their response is, “แผนของเราคือการอยู่ในประเทศไทยตลอดชีวิต!” (Translation: “Our plan is to live in Thailand for the rest of our lives.”) Or, at least until God calls us to another place or to our eternal home with Him.
"Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!” Matthew 5:6