Chris and Terri Payk, from Rice Road Community Church (RRCC) in Welland are completing their 5th year in a pastoral internship; on July 25th they and their 2 children, Kent and Anna, will fly to Taipei, Taiwan for three years, sent by this local church as our very first missionaries!
How did this all happen? Well, the steps of their story have been observed by the RRCC family over the last 14 years; how God prepared them for each other. Chris and Terri actually attended the same high school at the same time but never met. Chris is a native of Welland; Terri Hart moved to Welland in 1994 with her family where they joined the ministry team at RRCC . Chris and Terri met at a church youth group after high school but each were moving in opposite directions: Terri to Bethany Bible College in New Brunswick and Chris to Guelph University. However the chemistry was strong and Chris spent a lot of time being mentored by his future father-in-law, until he received the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. Terri moved on to Indiana Wesleyan University where she was awarded her BA in English Education, and where she said “yes” to her future Mrs Chris Payk title. They were married in Niagara in May 2000, and became regular attenders and active members at RRCC. Both enrolled at Brock University where Chris was awarded his BA in History, Philosophy and Environmental Policy, and Terri, her M. Ed in Curriculum Studies. God was calling them to overseas ministry somewhere and they began dialoguing with Dan Sheffield at FMCiC.
Around that time, Dan Sheffield, Director of Global and Intercultural Missions for the FMCiC, had a conversation with Shih Chun Lo, pastor of Mucha Free Methodist Church in Taipei, Taiwan, who with his congregation had been praying for a couple who could come to their church to minister in theological and English ministry. Dan later told Chris and Terri Payk, “Pastor Lo had been describing you two exactly.”
A partnership was birthed in 2006, between the RRCC in Welland, Ontario and the Mucha Free Methodist Church in Taipei. Chris and Terri spent the summer of 2006 in Taipei ministering with the Mucha Church. A pastor and a church board member also visited during this time to build a partnering relationship. In November of that year Kent was born.
In August 2007, Chris returned to the Mucha Free Methodist Church alone for 4 weeks: preaching, teaching, and visiting FM missionaries.
Upon his return Chris continued his studies at Tyndale University and Seminary in Toronto where in May 2009 he was awarded the Master of Theology degree after successfully defending his thesis on John Wesley’s doctrine of prevenient grace.
Terri worked part-time as a research assistant for Brock University, also serving at RRCC on the Global Missions committee and as Director of Children’ s Ministries, until October 2008 when little Anna was born.
Chris has worked part-time for several years at Christian Horizons in Niagara, and has served the local church through internship in preaching, (which is a gift of his), and as chair of Global Missions: Taiwan Project Committee.
This committee has encouraged RRCC membership and friends to support the Payk’s financially and prayerfully: has initiated several fund raisers, information evenings, and announcements to keep the RRCC family in touch with all the Payks’ plans. With the church board this committee has been involved in establishing their salary for the next 3 years while they are in Taiwan. We have been blessed by several other Free Methodist churches who have joined with RRCC supporting the Payk family financially and with prayer.
On April 19, 2009 Chris was ordained as a Free Methodist minister by Bishop Elford of the FMCiC and Terri became a commissioned minister of the FMCiC.
What an amazing path of grace we as a church have witnessed as this couple and their two children whom we love very much, have said “yes”, to God’s call beyond our familiar borders. We have an awesome privilege to share in their lives and support them as they fly to minister and work with our brothers and sisters in Taipei, Taiwan!
Esther Teal is a board member of Rice Road Community Church and member of the Global Missions:Taiwan Project committee.