Seth and Rochelle Callahan

connecting you to tribal missions

Unto The Nations

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Apr 17th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

Prepare yourself; this isn’t going to be a regular blog post. It’s going to be short and to-the-point, and, more significantly, it’s going to ask you to do something.  And that something is going to involve a portion of your time. (Aaaa! Nooo!)

Now, I realize that your time is valuable. In fact, in the great scheme of things, it’s probably the most valuable thing you have. So, I wouldn’t ask you to give up a chunk of your most precious commodity all willy-nilly (and, I can assure you, we Callahans don’t use the term “willy-nilly” willy-nillyly).

Here is what I’m asking: Please set aside ½ hour of your day and watch this video. I know, a ½ hour in internet time is like asking for an eternity + 2 years, but seriously, this video is worth it. You will be better off having heard its story, and it will really help you understand what we are going over to Papua New Guinea to be a part of. And it’s really cool.

So, if you’re up for doing me (and yourself) a favor, go ahead and DVR “Duck Dynasty” (or whatever other show you might have been planning on watching tonight), and watch this video instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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Home is where the Heart is…er, House is…er, Family Is…

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Apr 7th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

When people ask me, “Where is home for you?” my answer is easy. My home is in Upstate New York. More specifically, it’s a log home on a ten-acre field, overlooking Lake Champlain, in the Adirondack Foothills. Throughout my whole growing up, it’s been the place where my family lived, the place that I always went back to after I travelled away, and the place that I used as a reference from which to view the rest of the world (as in, “When I’m in Papua New Guinea, I’ll be 9,000 miles from home.”).

As it turns out though, “home” is kind of a difficult concept when your family is semi-nomadic like ours is. I’ve noticed this more and more since Manny has started talking. In his 2 ½ years of life he has lived in four different houses, and we were just on the road for all of March sharing our ministry plans down South. Between our moves, and all the friends’ houses we’ve stayed in, the poor kid is having trouble finding a consistent reference point. Is home where we sleep? Is the hotel home? What about Mr. Rick’s house? We stayed there for a whole week. Is that home?

I tried to explain to him that our apartment is our home: the house where we keep most of our stuff. And then I realized that even that definition was pretty inaccurate, since we’re planning on moving out of that apartment and heading overseas in just a few months, leaving most of our stuff behind. And when we get overseas, we’ll be spending our first year in temporary housing. Then we’ll be living in a house in the tribe that we’ll be leaving every four years to come live back in the States.

Since I was having trouble defining Manny’s home for him, I looked the word up. Here’s the definition I got: “The place in which one’s domesticaffections are centered (or) one’s usual residence.” I guess that explains why I was finding it difficult to tell Manny where his home is: He doesn’t have one (and, most likely, won’t get one).

Does that sound like an overly harsh conclusion? It kind of does to a typical American like me, but to Rochelle, whose parents were missionaries, it sounds spot on. When asked where her “home” is, she struggles to find an answer. Her family moved over 20 times before she was 18 years old. (I’m talking “real” moves, like, “pack up all your belongings, we’re going to live in a different place” moves.)

It’s hard to “center one’s domestic affections” when one is constantly moving to new locations. And the idea of a “usual residence?” Yeah, right. “I usually lived in a house at the mission center, except when we lived in the city, until we spent a year in New Hampshire, following which, we moved to the village, but then I moved to the dorm at the mission center, until we went back to the States and traveled cross-country for three months visiting supporting churches….etc.”

So, yeah, my wife doesn’t have a place she can call home, and it looks like my boys won’t either. At first, it was kind of a sad realization. The more I thought about it though, the more I saw that their perspective on things was probably healthier than mine. My wife and kids are still waiting for a home, whereas I’ve settled into finding contentment and security in a temporal piece of earth.

In Hebrews 11, where the author is talking about men and women who followed God, he says,

“They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

My home isn’t in Upstate New York. Even though I sometimes think it is. My home is where God is. And someday I’m going to go see it, and then I’ll experience REAL “domestic affections.” Until then though, there’s not a whole lot of point in trying to get too comfortable with anything down here.

Sometimes, there’s a lot that can be learned from a confused 2 ½ year old.

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The Reason Why

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Feb 17th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Here’s something you may not have known about me: I didn’t grow up wanting to be a missionary. It wasn’t something I was interested in, or, frankly, something that I cared about.

I remember my parents telling me once that if I ever chose to become a missionary they would support the decision 100%. At the time, it seemed like the equivalent of them giving me their blessing to become a dentist. “Gee… thanks… I’ll keep that in mind in case I ever run out of any good things to do with my life.”

It’s not that I didn’t love God, or anything. I just had zero interest in missions. The thought of missions didn’t excite anything within me, and it certainly didn’t fit into my plans. My dreams were built on things like erecting a home on some of my family’s land, spending my life putting down roots and creating a beautiful and wonderful homestead for my family, and providing an environment of stability and constancy for my children. Being a missionary wouldn’t allow for any of that. Missionary work was for other people.

But then I learned something.* And the something I learned challenged me. And it nagged me. And it convicted me. And, eventually, it changed me. Here’s a sample of what I learned:

Those are real letters. They were written by the heads of real tribal groups in Papua New Guinea. They were brought to a real missionary that I know… And they’re not the only ones. New Tribes Mission currently has 106 people groups requesting missionaries (begging for missionaries, really). But NTM doesn’t have enough people to meet the need. Neither does Wycliffe, or Pioneers.

What I realized was that missionary work might be for other people, but other people weren’t going. And I just didn’t figure I’d be able to continue on with my homesteader dreams here in the States knowing that there was an entire people group that would  not receive their missionary because of it.

*[To be honest, I learned several things, but this is the one I’m going to talk about right now. A few more motivating factors can be found here.]

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We’re Engaged! (Well, we were…)

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Feb 11th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

[I thought that with Valentine's Day coming up and whatnot, maybe it would be an appropriate time to share another one of my old newsletters. This is the one that I wrote after I asked Rochelle to marry me. (circa. March, 2009)]

Every once in a while I like to make a logical decision, and when I do I usually end up pretty happy with the resulting outcome. Like, the last time I went to McDonald’s, I saw that a normal cheeseburger was the same price as a “McDouble”. Thinking logically, I was able to order a sandwich that contained TWICE as many steroid-filled, preservative-laced, beef-byproduct patties than I otherwise might have. Logic, I’ve decided, is a handy-dandy little tool.

Sometimes I’ll even use logic for more important things than food choices. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is, “Yes. Seth does believe there are things more important in life than food.” One’s drink choice is also not something to take lightly. Another example would be a decision I made recently that looked something like this:

“Boy, do I love Rochelle Dore. In fact, I’d like to spend the rest of my life with her. Well, that settles it: I’m going to get a double cheeseburger.” (JUST KIDDING!)

What I REALLY decided was, “I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

So, during my visit out to New Tribes this last week, that’s just what I did.

On the second night of my visit we went out on a date. We went out for a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in which we were able to stare into each others’ eyes and have one of those quiet, romantic talks that young, courting couples often do:

“Mmmm……fettuccine alfredo. This stuff always reminds me of a book I was reading once about how to get rid of tapeworms when you’re on the mission field.. It had pictures and step by step instructions and everything. It turns out it’s quite the procedure.” (Yes, this is a real quote and if you want to tell me that I need to work on my table conversation then you can get in line.)

It was a beautiful evening and the sun would be setting soon, so after we finished dinner we went for a walk in one of Jackson’s city parks. Jackson, though often negatively stereotyped by visitors, DOES live up to its city’s motto in the realm of recreational parks: “Jackson – We may be the pit stain of the world, but our parks are very nice if you avoid the drug dealers.”

As we strolled casually, hand in hand, down a wooded trail, the increasing narrowness of it was subtly brought to our attention by the aggressive briars that were grabbing at our pants and shirts. Continuing on, we passed a grocery bag on the ground filled with bones and fur, a shirt lying under a bush, and an entire trash bag emptied out over a ten-foot area on the trail. The path stopped abruptly at the edge of a swamp.

“This isn’t quite the atmosphere I was picturing,” I thought. “Let’s try this again.”

We doubled back and walked up to the side of a slightly wooded knoll. The light was starting to fade, but there was still a warm breeze. As we meandered aimlessly I gave her a little side-hug.

“You know, Rochelle, I’ve really enjoyed being able to love you as a sister-in-Christ, but I would really like to be able to love you as a wife.” (Cue kneeling position) “Rochelle Dore, will you marry me?”

I don’t have a memory of her actual response (I was a little nervous), but she’s been wearing the ring, so I’m pretty sure she said Yes. This is, of course, good news, because it means I am currently one of the most blessed individuals the world has ever seen. We’ve been talking mid-August for the wedding. I’m kind of excited about the whole thing.

[Epilogue: The mid-August wedding went very well. Rochelle was a beautiful bride. And in the 4 1/2 years since our wedding, she has also shown herself to be an amazing wife, a wonderful mother, and the best of friends. Happy Valentines Day, honey!]

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One, Two…One

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Feb 7th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

Manny has been counting lately. Or, rather, Manny has been “counting” lately. He loves to show off this new-found skill whenever we play hide-and-seek:

Seth: “OK, Manny, I’ll go hide and you count and then come find me.”

Manny: “Yeah! Wuh, too, wuh, too, wuh, too, wuh, too, wuh, too, WUH!”

Despite the fact that his repertoire only consists of two numbers, he still makes a point of trying to communicate his understanding of larger figures to us as well. By his reckoning, this can easily be accomplished using the term “a lot.”

“A lot” can mean “hundreds”, or it can mean “three.” (Apparently, it’s a very versatile term.)

Seth: “Manny, would you like two tortillas chips?”

Manny: “No! A lot!”

Seth: “How about three?”

Manny: “Yeah!”

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A Blast From The Past

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Jan 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment »

[I found a few of my old newsletters the other day from when I was a student at New Tribes Bible Institute. We've been enjoying reading through them, so I thought I'd share one here. To set the stage, this is from my first year as a student (6 yrs ago). My RA was from Germany, my dorm was called "The Bat Cave," and Rochelle and I had yet to meet.]

As you know, the Bat Cave has an aquarium. As of yesterday, the occupants of the aquarium consisted of two piranhas and a crayfish (pronounced: “crawdad”).

   My friend TJ caught the crayfish when we went camping over Spring Break. (By “caught” I mean “found washed up on the beach”) He named him “Jamoyacoy” (“Jammy” for short). I have no clue why he named him this. When he got back to his dorm, he was suddenly hit with the realization that the only thing he had to put “Jammy” into was his water bottle. Since he wanted to use his water bottle for other things (Like drinking water from), he decided to leave Jammy in the trustworthy care of the Bat Cave. (Somehow, we have managed to maintain a good reputation as “fish-keepers”, despite the fact that we have had upwards of 46 gold-fish die premature deaths under our watch.)

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A very merry missionary christmas

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Jan 16th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

I (Seth) have married into a missionary family. It’s great and I love it. Seriously, my in-laws rock. But sometimes I just sit back and consider the family dynamic and think, “Wow, by most people’s standards this is pretty weird.”

One of the times that I find myself thinking like that is during the holiday season. For my family, it’s standard fare for just about every immediate relation to be present on Christmas day. Both of my Grandmothers, my mom’s sister, my dad’s uncle, my older brother, my younger brother and his wife, and my parents all live in the same township, within 8 miles of each other. And for Christmas, my cousin and my dad’s brother come back to the area. So, on Christmas day, nearly EVERYONE is together.

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The best laid plans…

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Dec 19th, 2013 | Discuss This Post

We’ve spread the word to most people about our new departure dates and whatnot, but I just realized that we’ve never updated our blog with any of the details. Here’s a quick recap to get us all on the same page again:

After crunching our numbers this last fall, we realized that our proposed January departure date, as cool as it would have been, was not going to be possible. The funds just weren’t there yet. The end of November saw us at 60% of what we needed to leave for Papua New Guinea. (To clarify: NTM USA requires its missionaries to raise at least 75% of their recommended support before leaving for the field, so when we say “60%” we mean “60% of 75%.”)

With that said, we’ve set our sights on a NEW departure date. It is our new hope to be on a plane and flying over to Papua New Guinea in July 2014! That gives us roughly six months to build up our ministry team and raise our monthly support to 100%. It’s kind of a big goal, but hey, we have a big God, right?

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Your (Hypothetical) Questions Answered [Part 3]

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Nov 16th, 2013 | Discuss This Post

Q: Why are cross-cultural missionaries always asking for so much money? I mean, your projected monthly income is more than I make at my job here in the States! Shouldn’t you be willing to be content with less?

Again, like the other questions we’ve posted answers to recently, this one is rarely, if ever, actually asked. But it is often alluded to. We can see it flash across people’s faces when they hear how much support we’re seeking to raise. And, invariably, our monthly ministry budget will end up being contrasted with an individual’s annual income: “You need $6,000 per month? That’s $72,000 per year!”

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Your (Hypothetical) Questions Answered [Part 2]

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Nov 5th, 2013 | Discuss This Post

[This is a continuation of a short series of posts that we’re doing. If you’d like to put it in context then you can go to our previous post.]

Q: So, I get that the two of you have chosen to be missionaries, but isn’t it dangerous to be bringing your kids into the jungle with you? Aren’t you kind of a negligent parent to knowingly put them at such risk?

This has got to be one of THE most common questions that we have people allude to when they find out what we’re doing and where we’re going. Apparently, it’s one thing for adults to live out in the bush, but to bring their KIDS with them? That part often doesn’t compute for the average American. On more than a few occasions, we’ve actually had people ask us where our kids will be living while we’re in Papua New Guinea. (“Ummm….with us? Remember when we said that this will probably take us 20+ years?”)

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