Dear friends and prayer partners,
We hope that as you read this you are well and growing in the grace so freely offered by God through Jesus Christ. For some of you, this may be the first time you’ve heard about our ministry, but many of you are rather familiar with our story and our ministry, so some of this blog’s contents may already be quite well-known to you.
We are the Mallay family, missionaries to Togo, West Africa. I, Seth, am a medical doctor who was called to medical missions as a child. My wife, Rebecca, was raised on the mission field and also felt called to missions as a child. We have six children under the age of thirteen, one of whom was born in Africa. A few years ago, we were commissioned by Samaritan’s Purse to work as missionaries at a hospital in Togo for two years. At the end of 2015, we began our missionary assignment by moving to France for language acquisition. After a year of study there, we relocated at the end of 2016 to the small village of Tsiko, Togo, where we lived and worked in medical ministry for over a year.
We certainly saw fruit from our labors, both physical and spiritual. As we were preparing to announce our decision to return to Togo as full-time missionaries after completing our two years, we discovered a tumor in the abdomen of our oldest child, our daughter Arwen. This required a hasty retreat to the U.S., where Arwen was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. Since January of 2018, we’ve been living in Michigan and going through various steps of treatment in hopes of curing her cancer.
Ultimately, Arwen’s cancer did not respond to any form of standard treatment. She is currently undergoing an experimental treatment, which has also failed to show any sign of effect so far. Despite this, we have continued to place our hope in Christ and to trust in God’s perfect plan. Trusting also in God’s timing, our ministry in Togo has been necessarily deferred. However, in March of 2019, Rebecca and I were officially appointed as missionaries to Togo with the mission ABWE.
Some have asked us why we changed missions from Samaritan’s Purse to ABWE. The answer, at its simplest, is that this change was always part of the plan. Samaritan’s Purse places doctors in various mission hospitals for two-year periods with the desire that those doctors will later continue working in those hospitals as missionaries for the various mission boards that run the hospitals. ABWE, Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, is the mission that owns and operates the hospital in Togo.
Others have asked why we would go with a Baptist organization even though we aren’t actually Baptists. Our sending church is the Hillsdale United Brethren Church, in Hillsdale Michigan. Many of the missionaries working with ABWE are Baptists, but many of them are not. The organization is made up of brothers and sisters in Christ who have the common desire to see Christ shared with every nation. Our own denomination has a strong tradition of unity between all those who are brethren in Christ. If you are interested in reading more about ABWE, you can visit their website.
We are excited to be working with ABWE and eager to return to the work in Togo. The passion for missions that God has given us hasn’t changed. There have been some major life detours, but that has not discouraged us from desiring to be obedient in carrying out the task that has been accorded to us.
There are several matters to be undertaken before we will be free to return to Togo. First, concerning Arwen’s health: We continue to pray for a miracle, but we do not know what God has in store for us. If treatments begin to show signs that they are working, we would likely remain in the U.S. until Arwen was in remission and not in need of frequent check-ups. If treatments continue to fail, any additional treatment decisions are left to Arwen because it’s all experimental at this point. Based on what Arwen has told us, this experimental treatment may be the last. This could change depending on what is presented to her in the future, but most recently she tends to lean toward no further treatment. She has indicated that if treatment is discontinued, her desire would be to return to Togo for whatever remaining time God gives her on this earth, and if she were to die, she would like to be buried in Togo. That last sentence was not easy to write.
The other barriers to returning include various classes and learning objectives given to us by ABWE, which shouldn’t be too difficult, and meeting our fundraising requirements. ABWE has given us two financial bars that we need to reach. First, in order to address all initial costs, they require that we raise enough to move overseas, so this goes towards things like initial airfare, a vehicle, and additional language study. The second goal is for us to have a consistent monthly support to cover costs of living, insurance, saving for future travel, supporting the hospital, and various ministry expenses.
While we begin our “pre-field” ministry here in the U.S., we will be interested in meeting with many of you to talk about whether you might partner with us in our ministry. If God has already laid it on your heart to give to our ministry, click the link below to give through the online portal.
We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we wish to walk in faith and obedience to God. We are excited to see disciples made in Togo and West Africa and to see new, healthy churches rise up and send missionaries of their own. It is thrilling to see how God is using the ministries in Togo, and we are ready to labor where “the laborers are few.” (Matt. 9:37)
Seth, Becca, Arwen, Caspian, Elora, Gwynevere, Irene, and (soon) Kalmar