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One Family's Faith Journey

0607 Pic 7Sharing the Gospel Around the World


Nicole Doran, a 1991 Rhema USA graduate, had always dreamed of taking her family on a trip around the world. When her husband, Joe, overheard her sharing her dream with their friends, his ears perked up. Curious, they all began to discuss how it could be done. The idea soon progressed from taking a short-term missions trip to putting a bunch of short trips together. "We came up with this idea that sounded crazy," said Joe, also a 1991 Rhema USA grad and a traveling missionary. "We would leave my business for a year and take the whole family. We'd homeschool the kids and go on a one-year missions trip."

Before deciding to take his wife and three children—Megan, Lindsay, and Luke—around the world to spread the Gospel, Joe met with some trusted friends and got sound counsel. But ultimately Joe knew he needed the green light from God to go ahead. He prayed about the year for his family. "I got direction," he said. "I needed to pursue it." The Dorans would later need that confirmation from God to keep going.


God Opens Doors

Joe reached out to Rhema Bible Training College campuses and Rhema churches around the world, and God opened doors. They were invited to come serve in churches, help with outreach projects, minister, and teach the Gospel. God kept the Dorans busy. In one year they traveled to 24 countries, taught 622 class sessions, and ministered in 48 church services.

"Our purpose was to be a blessing, to be a help. That's what we had in mind," said Joe. "We wanted to make a difference. We didn't want to get in the way. When we left, we wanted them to be blessed and helped and encouraged."

The Dorans' first stop was Samoa, where they served for seven weeks at Rhema South Pacific. Next, the family flew to Rhema Australia and ministered there three weeks. From there they traveled to Thailand, where they served at an orphanage run by Life Impact International, a ministry founded by Rhema USA graduate Lana Vasquez.

While in Thailand, Joe, Nicole, and their children traveled with Lana's staff to the Burmese border. The Dorans were taken aback at the sight of children, many without parents, searching for food. This eye-opening, heart-wrenching experience showed the family a different side of ministry.

"There was this one little girl who had a little baby on her back. She couldn't have been any more than seven or eight, and she was in charge of that baby," Nicole shared. "They came and asked us for food. It was heartbreaking seeing that. My kids were totally silent. They just didn't have the words. When you see that, you just want to give them everything you have."

The Dorans spent two weeks sharing the love of God with the orphanage children. Then they traveled to Bangkok, where Joe and Nicole each taught three hours of classes a day for two weeks at Rhema Thailand. This was a stretch for Nicole. She'd always been the wife, mom, and organizer, and had left the teaching to Joe. But the school needed teaching help, so she pitched in. "Even though I didn't want to do this particular thing, I said yes, because it's not about me or what I'm comfortable with." She made it, though she admitted, "I was sweating bullets. There were definitely some panicky moments."

Then it was off to India, where the Dorans taught and served for a month at two Rhema campuses.
The Dorans were in Africa for nearly five months, three of those in Kenya. Joe traveled alone to Burundi to conduct a three-day conference for about 50 pastors. One pastor walked six hours round trip each day to hear Joe teach the Word. They had little to no training, and it had been five years since someone had come to teach them.

Walking Through the Valley

Even in God's perfect will, there are challenges. While serving at Rhema campuses in Kenya, the Dorans learned that the people leasing their home in the U.S. had broken the agreement. That added mortgage payments to their budget. Then Joe received a phone call about his 20-year-old business. It wasn't doing well.

Joe remembers that call. "They said, 'I don't know if the business will be here when you get back.' " On top of that, the family didn't have enough support for the rest of their trip. As the pressure mounted, Joe thought back to when he had asked God whether they should go at all.

Joe and Nicole talked it over. "We said, 'We are supposed to be here.' We made up our minds that we were not going to be moved. . . . We walked it out, and God provided," one breakthrough at a time. Their business picked up and the finances began coming.

The journey continued. Three weeks at Rhema Zambia teaching the Word and helping with projects. Nearly a month in Botswana helping Rhema missionaries with teaching, painting, shelf-building, and other missions complex maintenance. Three weekends at Rhema Nigeria teaching and helping. The Dorans were accomplishing what they set out to do: help where God needed them.

After a break in Italy, the family zigzagged across Europe, spending weeks helping Rhema schools and missionaries in Greece, Ukraine, Germany, France, Sweden, and Norway, and then heading for home via Amsterdam.

It Pays to Obey

Once the Doran family was back in the U.S., God honored their commitment to take a year and follow His plan. Their older daughter, Megan, 17, enjoyed playing volleyball and had a desire to play in college. The high school junior year is a key recruiting time for college athletic scholarships, but Megan sacrificed that opportunity to travel with her family. After the trip, Megan learned that one school would have been interested in her if she had stayed home.

While Megan was at a volleyball camp at another university, a recruiter saw her play and was impressed. That school offered her a full volleyball scholarship.

The Doran family stuck with God's plan, and He made it a successful journey for each one of them. And they were a blessing to many along the way. Joe commented, "It pays to follow Him. It pays to obey. God is faithful."



Wisdom for the next step

about Joe and Nicole Doran, visit their facebook page Doran Threesixfive