By Fred Comella
So who are these missionaries I’ve written so much about and why do they do what they do? Is it because they are compelled by some unique and divine driving force to spread the Gospel to all corners of the planet as is prophesized? Or maybe their service “comes to them” in the form of a vision. Or is it simply because He knows all of our hearts, and He understands and has plans that suit His desires and which are in line with how He has made everyone of us. I think the latter is most accurate, and I would only add that if we are truly listening to and reading God’s word, then we are that much more inclined to reach out to our fellow man, and with whatever special talents and abilities He’s blessed us with. Now while this may be the simple analogy of a “Christian writer” who never would have imagined being a “Christian writer”, I can tell you from that very personal experience, that God does in fact work in mysterious ways not always comprehendible to us. He does know our souls, and moreover, that we’re all part of a much grander plan than this.
Over the years I’ve spoken to many missionaries who’ve touched the lives of God’s people around the globe, often putting their own futures, and in many cases the futures of their families on hold in order to help bring Jesus to all. My time with them tells me they have done this while literally using their own body’s and soul’s as living vessels for God’s word to flow, unto them who would hear it. And as we watch events unfolding all over the world gasping, it isn’t hard to imagine the level of commitment and faith which must be necessary to face down even the threat of self-sacrifice to accomplish these lofty goals in His name. So once again I go in search of the motivation, drive, or special something these “operators” possess which serves our Lord’s purposes.
I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get the answers I sought, but rather only place another piece in the puzzle that is my faith’s journey. At the recent Good News Annual Gathering, local Charis Bible School Directors George and Judi Appleton were inspired to bring along their friends and fellow kingdom workers, the Michaud family. I later had the good fortune to catch up with Sean Michaud, a missionary who has literally come face to face with the beast that is Communism without blinking. For all intent and purposes, what better place for the Word of God could there be but in a land where God had been shunned for the sake of human vanity and the unfettered aggression of the state.
Sean Michaud grew up in a Christian home but wasn’t necessarily pre-disposed to a life of service to Christ. Born in New Orleans, the son of an oil industry executive, he would travel with his family and live in places like Japan and Rio de Janeiro while his oil industry dad did the business of supporting his family, until the age of seven when the family returned to the United States. As a teenager and young adult Sean was admittedly living his life for himself and would spin a good education into a successful venture in the restaurant business in Houston Texas when he was just 24-years-old. But as is often the case in the lives of these special people, Sean could sense that something just wasn’t quite right. He kept coming back to what his mother had said to him many years earlier, that being he would become a missionary someday and serve the Lord. On March 12, 1995, Sean felt the spirit move over him at work, and he knew that his mother had been right all along. He realized at that pivotal moment in his life, that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and that the rest of his time on planet earth would be something that he could never have imagined. He just wasn’t actually sure how yet.
By that time, Sean’s restaurant ambitions had brought him to Mobile Alabama where he met his wife to be at church. Her name was Lisa and Sean knew instantly that his questions about how he would serve the Lord were about to be answered. Lisa began their very first conversation by asking Sean, “So what has God called you to do”? Well if that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. They would soon become missionaries together, Sean from New Orleans, and Lisa from Trinidad and Tobago.
Sean shared a dream he’d had with Lisa in which he was in a dark room and went through a door into the light. He saw his pastor there who explained, I knew you were coming so I turned on the light for you. Lisa told Sean that this must be a sign for them to seek guidance from their pastor, and they did just that. With a plan starting to take shape, and with help and direction from a pastor who knew their hearts, Sean and Lisa would eventually attend the Charis Bible College (CBC) in Colorado, graduating in 1997. They were ordained by Andrew Wommack and the leadership of CBC in 1998. Now married and beginning to focus more on how exactly they would serve, the notion of training those in foreign lands to plant the seeds of the Gospel grew stronger in their souls every day. Sean and Lisa could think of no better way but to train up folks for the work of ministry, more as disciples rather than simply messengers.
In 1999, the Michauds committed themselves to full time mission work and took their two small children to a place where there was not a single church, and where government was God. In some of those remote and tiny villages to which they would travel, human sacrifice and witchcraft had been practiced just a century earlier. A daunting task lie ahead of them to be sure, in Russia…
Undeterred, Sean and Lisa battled the mountainous bureaucracies and travel restrictions to land in Ufa, some 1500 miles southeast of Moscow. To be clear, the dissolution of the old Soviet Union was not the end of the Soviet ways. To the contrary, many of the independent “republics” born of the break-up, were little changed in their mindsets and ways of doing business. This was true of Ufa as well, where Sean and Lisa faced zero churches and a people desperately in need of their Savior. Using the skill set learned at Charis, they began the heavy lifting that would become the hallmark of their mission. Their first Bible school drew 150 students, and in just three years those very same students had ventured out and planted eight churches in a place where none had existed before. Preaching the simple truth of God’s word, absent the frills of the modern Western application, Sean and Lisa had laid down a solid foundation that would support so much more than they could have ever dreamed.
The Michauds had also mastered the use of modern media and transposed their lessons onto DVD’s which could readily be used in other schools. Translation into the native tongue would remove even more barriers to His Word. Unfortunately, the Russian crack down on travel which came as a result of mounting violence between the Russian government and the Chechen Rebels, severely hampered the family’s ability to stay in any one place past the limits of their restricted visa’s. So they traveled to be with Lisa’s parents in Trinidad to preach and minister for three years.
During that time they also ministered in Venezuela and planned a return trip there, but the restrictions resulting from the attacks of 9/11/2001 once again hampered their plans. But God had other plans for them. All the while the Michauds knew in their hearts they would go back to Russia. In May of 2005, they founded Kingdom Equippers Ministries International and returned to the region of Mari to find the seeds they had planted years earlier had blossomed into more churches. They realized that their mission to train laborers throughout the world to carry out the “Great Commission”, was helping to spread God’s word into more and more villages previously thought beyond faiths reach. More and more books were being translated and turned into videos for the new Bible schools, and Sean and Lisa could now see with their own eyes, the tangible “fruit which had remained”. John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you”.
Three more years of service in Russia would pass, and now with three children, Sean and Lisa went to South Africa in 2010 for four more years and preached to the Zulu people in villages, under trees and wherever they could bring together His people to hear the Word.
Sean told me during our interview that despite what some might think of as barriers to the Gospel, so long as you are preaching “The Good News” as Jesus preached it, no manner of education, political or societal status, or lack of financial position could ever blunt the Word of God. It’s just not that complicated he told me. I agreed with Sean when he said that we often over-complicate that which is as plain and simple as the air we breathe. When I asked him about the differences between a church here in the U.S. and one abroad, he chuckled and said, “all the same issues, love, hate, jealousy etc”. “People are people” he told me, “and they all need the healing Blood of Christ to work through that humanity. Sin is still sin, the devil is still the devil, and God is still God”.
Wow… But I wanted to know more. I wanted to know how he measured the worth of his efforts, how he measured the results. He told me that we might be lucky enough to see some of those results, but that in many cases “we may never know the worth of our efforts this side of eternity, as we are just one small part of a plan beyond our human comprehension.” Sean reminded me of Paul in jail, and how could he ever have realized the scope and 2000 year reach of the letters he wrote. Ah, the measure of a true missionary…
As quickly as it began though, my conversation with Sean was at an end. It seemed like it lasted just a minute or two, when it was actually more than an hour of this mans very busy schedule. You see, now 45 year-old Sean has not slowed but rather switched gears and chosen to home-base in Lexington Kentucky, along with wife Lisa and daughters Rachel now 18, Abigail 17 and young son Jerimiah 13. Sean was in India last year and will be preaching at the Charis Bible School in Saint Petersburg Russia this weekend. It was as he spoke of his upcoming efforts that I was sadly unsure if I would ever have the good fortune to speak with this man again, and so I was compelled to tell him that I would pray for his efforts and the safety of he and his family as continued to do His work. I explained my political writing to him briefly and told him that when I “look around these days, I see a dangerous place for Christians”, and that he should take care. I sensed a tone of faith based confidence in Sean’s voice when he replied, “I see what you see Fred, but I try and look up instead of around”. Well said Sean. I’ll try that. God bless…
If you would like to play your role in God’s plan but don’t know quite how, you could start by supporting the invaluable work of Sean and the Kingdom Equippers Ministries International. You can reach them on the web at kemi-inc.org/index.html, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact them directly to donate at: Kingdom Equippers Ministries International, 18723 Cherrytree Grove Dr. Houston, TX 77084
If you’d like to learn more about Charis Bible College or its local affiliate please visit cbcplymouthma.blogspot.com