(Photos courtesy of Jonathan Doub)
Missionary Q&A: Jonathan Doub
By Selma Komisky
Some people wonder, what do missionaries do? We never really get to just sit with a missionary and ask how they knew God was moving their hearts to go abroad. Well, we at Marked Ministry had the amazing opportunity to interview missionary Jonathan Doub, who is hard at work with his family in Cyprus. Read our interview and get to know Jonathan and how you can maybe help his ministry, find encouragement if you’re praying to be a missionary, or just interested in what God is doing across the globe. Enjoy!
Would you share with me your testimony?
Jonathan: I was born in North Carolina into a Christian family where I was taught the Bible and gospel from an early age by my parents. I remember repenting from my sin and asking Jesus to be Lord of my life around the age of seven. It wasn’t until church youth camp, as a 15 year old sophomore in high school, that I realized I didn’t have a growing relationship with Jesus. I began to read the Word and spent time praying consistently for the first time. As my relationship with Christ grew, I began to ask and seek more what He would want for my life to look like for Him. As High school ended, I took the opportunity God gave me to play basketball for my college; it was there that God began to answer my prayers concerning His will for my life.
My roommate and basketball teammate was a missionary kid named David. Over our first year living together, I encouraged him to come back to the Lord and to make amends with his parents. He often responded by telling me I should go to Ukraine to see what [his parents] did because I would love it. After my Sophomore year, I decided to go with him to meet his family and spend several weeks in Ukraine during the summer break. When I arrived, David’s mom and dad encouraged me to spend the summer in a city called Chernigov where there were about 10 young people my age planting a Calvary Chapel. I joined the team in Chernigov that summer and during the weeks there, I spent each week shadowing the missionary team. Our days were spent visiting and working with orphans, playing basketball on the street, and meeting for prayer, worship and Bible study with the church. God stirred my heart over that summer to the point I felt burdened to change the direction in my life and began seeking how I might be involved in missions full time.
That Fall I decided to walk away from college in the US and move over to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe to be better prepared for the mission field.
During my time at Bible College, God equipped and prepared me in ways that have been invaluable in the last 15 years. Additionally, He confirmed He would have me join a new Calvary Church plant that was just beginning in the Muslim nation of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.
Over the 4 years in Kyrgyzstan, I met my wife Katie, who was a missionary and team member. We were married in 2007 and served in Kyrgyzstan until the church there was well established and our roles of ministry were [handed off to] local believers. We desired to continue to be involved in church planting, but with the explosive growth of the church plant and the newness of our marriage, we felt we needed a season off the front lines before launching out again to church plant.
We would spend 3 years serving on staff at Calvary Chapel Bible College York before the Lord burdened our hearts for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
How many years have you been a missionary/and or pastor?
Jonathan: I have served as a missionary pastor in two Calvary Church plants and on staff at CCBC York. A total of 13 years.
What are some relevant issues in your opinion that missionaries struggle with that aren’t being talked about in the church today that you would like MM to shine the light on?
Jonathan: As Calvary Chapel begins pushing into the Middle East, the importance of missionaries having more access to counseling, fellowship, and encouragement from the church is an essential. The challenges of this region of the world are unique in the regards to their spiritual darkness, oppression, and isolation.
As a new church and missionaries to the region, the sending churches need to take great care to ensure missionaries are not left isolated and depressed without opportunity to get out and experience times of frequent rest, refreshment, and encouragement from their home fellowship.
What’s a piece of encouragement would you like to pass on to our young adult guy audience?
Jonathan: For young men with a heart to serve God in missions, I would say there is nothing more challenging, yet so rewarding and joyful.
Focus on the Church as the primary instrument and plan of God for advancing His kingdom and reaching people! For me, Bible College on the mission field was the most valuable part of pre-mission field preparation I received. The time and opportunity to be discipled by those who had done church planting, knew the Word, and had a heart for missions gave me a foundation that I use in ministry each day.
Gaining experience supporting a church planting pastor before launching out to lead something yourself is a great idea if you’ve never had ministry experience before. Keeping the Church the focus, especially in areas of high persecution such as the Middle East, is even more important than other areas. Without the support and family that the new believer gains from the church, they will not survive. For ourselves, as missionaries, it has proved to be a simple principle, but a necessity for the life giving nature of gathering with other believers weekly!
Finally, don’t be fearful of places or things in the world that have never been done in missions. God’s heart is for all people and places, and you could be the one He wants to use to go and reach them! Go for it and see if He opens a door!
Tell me about the ministries your involved in? What is God doing there in Cyprus?
Jonathan: We moved to Cyprus in 2014 with a vision to see a local Bible teaching church established in the city of Girne. After a difficult start filled with government opposition and division among the missionary community, we are now seeing the Lord beautifully piece together a body of believers that is a family for one another in this dark place. The church is young and excited about the open opportunities we have to reach out together to the Muslim community around us! We have free access to every middle eastern nation here in Cyprus! We have Afghans, Iranians, Syrians Quatari, Turkish, Turkmen, and many others who attend the church! Their countries are among the most closed in the world, but here they are away from their families, friends and oppressive Islamic culture, and have a sense of freedom to think about spiritual issues.
We meet publicly in a rented hall for church on Saturdays, run a free English club during the week in order to connect with unbelievers. Many of the believers from the church help with running the English club and are getting a heart to reach out to the city with the gospel. There is a mid week Womens’ Bible study attended by 15-20 women; they are growing in their knowledge of the word, love for the Lord, and each other.
We have only a couple believing men who come to church gatherings periodically, and we are praying for God to save and raise up men, as this is a noticeably absent aspect to the church body. The church is an amazing and precious group of people that we are so privileged to know and share life with. It is difficult to think of leaving them one day in the future, as they have become a family to us and to each other here! A necessity to survival for the believer in this part of the world! We are truly grateful for what God is doing and is yet to complete in His time!
Share with me about your family and spouse? How are they involved in your church/ministry?
Jonathan: My wife Katie and I have been married for 13 years. We have 2 boys, Jackson and Kobe who are ten and eight years old. They are all very much a part of our ministry here in Cyprus, and we see it as a family calling! Katie is in every sense my chief supporter and partner in ministry. I would not be here without her.
It has been encouraging to see our boys also beginning to gain a heart to reach out to their friends and our neighbors for the purpose of bringing Jesus to them.
How can we at MM tell others to pray for/support you and your ministry?
Jonathan: Pray for a team of co-laborers to join and assist the work until it is established, a church building to call our own, a church van, continued open doors for the gospel, and for men to be saved and raised up to lead in the church.
This holiday season, we are adopting the Doubs! So, if you would like to make a financial gift please visit the link here for more. Prayers are always appreciated as well – another incredible gift! Also, visit Facebook for more on New Life Church.