Thirteen months. Thirteen long months of waiting, hoping, and praying. Michael and Katy F. knew that the Lord was calling them to share the gospel with unreached peoples. They were willing to go. They were ready. But then they met an obstacle they hadn’t bargained for, which resulted in an inexplicable delay in going where they believed God was leading. What did it mean? Was this a red flag or God teaching them something through the wait?
When Michael and Katy first met, they both knew they wanted to follow Christ by serving in an unreached context. Michael had gone to school to be an airline pilot, and after God transformed his heart in college, he believed God was leading him to missionary aviation.
Shortly after they got married, they quickly realized that in order to pursue their dream, Michael would need to go back to school. They spent their first two years of marriage getting Michael qualified as an aircraft mechanic, but student loans prevented them from being able to go into full-time, supported ministry overseas.
Then their perspective shifted. Michael expounds: "When Brook Hills introduced Global Cities Initiative and demonstrated how believers could serve overseas vocationally without needing financial support from the church, we started praying about how we could do what we’re doing now and still witness to the unreached.”
They came to a crossroads with Michael’s job and felt God telling them to act. As they explored different avenues for their family to serve, several developments seemed to solidify their calling to a specific place at a specific time. An opportunity in Detroit working with unreached Muslims began to look like that place.
“To begin with,” Katy says, “I didn’t have a huge heart for Muslims, but I started praying for it. The more I prayed for it and learned about the people, the more I had a heart for them. They know of Jesus, but they don’t know who He truly is.”
Michael applied and interviewed for the only airline job in Detroit and, within a week, was awarded the position. “I think the timing shows that God orchestrated the whole thing. He led us to this decision at just the right time. With the way airline positions work, if I’d come a couple of weeks later, I wouldn’t have been able to see that Detroit position at all.”
The Lord works in ways we often cannot comprehend, but sometimes He shows us glimpses of the astonishing goodness in His plan. Michael witnessed this in how God led him to this position.
“I went to college to be an airline pilot, but it wasn’t until this particular position that I was actually able to try it out. I went to every other aviation job possible, but it took God leading us here for me to see what He had intended all along. Where I was trying to maybe divert His plans to do what I thought was right, in His sovereignty, He said, ‘No. You can do what you love, because this is where I have you serving.’”
Doors continued to open for Michael and Katy. Everything seemed to be falling into place – until they put their house on the market.
They waited. Months turned into a year, and still they waited for their house to sell. Michael describes their struggle: “We asked ourselves, is a house really something that God is using to tell us not to go? Or is it just a reminder to learn persistence, patience, and continued focus on Him?”
One day, when Michael was training for his new job in Detroit, something happened to remind Katy that the Lord put them on that particular path for a reason.
“For a long time, I felt like the Lord was telling me: ‘It’s not your time to serve in this context yet. I’m still preparing you.’ And yet, I was impatient to be in the middle of it, active in serving. I felt stuck at home in the thick of it. We decided I would try my hand at flying standby for the first time with the kids – which is definitely challenging by yourself.”
Katy brought the kids to the airport and waited as one flight after another took off. After eight hours of hoping to hear their name called, four-year-old Mikayla and three-year-old Maverick were struggling. They heard another family of three called over the speaker, and Katy sat there, waiting anxiously.
“Then, as I was listening intently,” Katy says, “they called, ‘Ferris party of 3,’ and I reacted, ‘Oh my goodness!’ Mikayla jumped up, and she threw her fist in the air and yelled with delight, ‘They called our name!!’
“At that moment, I just looked at her and thought, ‘Wow, God.’”
That day at the airport, Katy saw a picture of God telling them to wait on Him. Through her tears, she continues,
“I thought, this is God telling us, ‘It’s not your time yet. I haven’t called you for your flight. Just wait. It will come.’ And then, finally, when they called our name, Mikayla’s reaction was the same one I had in my heart when we first read about Detroit and knew this was God calling our name.”
Michael and Katy received wise counsel not to move before their house sold. It was difficult for them not to feel discouraged, but Katy and the kids were able to fly to Detroit every month that year, splitting their time between Birmingham and Detroit. This gave them the opportunity to serve together and bond with the team there.
Thirteen months after Michael got the job in Detroit, their house sold.
“Going is that first step. It’s reckless obedience. Sometimes I think we weren’t reckless enough – but as a family, I think we needed that transition as we were waiting on our house to to sell. And as for me, I learned that I could adapt to be able to reach those people. Sharing the gospel is SUCH an important thing. It’s saving lives. And once I felt like I had the tools to share effectively, my heart was so much more in it. Everything else means nothing. The gospel is bigger than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”
Through every hurdle they encountered, God was growing in them a deeply rooted faith and trust in Him.
Michael shares openly,
“During the waiting process this past year, I kinda lost sight of that, and Katy reminded me of a particular time shortly after we were married. We flat out left our jobs for me to attend school and moved to a different state before we had jobs lined up, all because that’s where we believed God was calling us. She reminded me of how we stepped out in faith, and He provided. This time has renewed my faith in God.”
They learned something else through this challenge.
“You have to be obedient,” Michael explains, “but you have to be obedient biblically, not just your definition of obedience. Though it’s challenging and scary, I believe through our continued prayer and continued reliance on the Spirit, it’s something God can teach us.”
Ways to Pray for the Family
- Pray for the children as they settle into a new school, specifically for Mikayla as she adjusts to a new grade, new school, and new culture.
- Pray for Michael and Katy as they balance work and adjust to their new lives and full-time ministry.
- Pray for the family to find a new house in Detroit quickly and that they would to continue to rely on God to show them the right location.
Michael and Katy F. met at Brook Hills in 2007 through College Ministry, and they were married in 2009. They have two children, Mikayla (4) and Maverick (3). They served for several years in Student Ministry before beginning the process of serving full-time with the unreached. When working in Detroit, Katy will teach ESL and Michael will continue to be a First Officer for a regional airline.