Feature

Out of Their Comfort Zone

Two Simpson graduates leave the comforts of home to serve overseas

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Simpson University graduates David (’09) and Camille (Hankins ’08) Wendel have ministered to the people in Paris, France, since July 2014. The couple moved to the city for a two-year international apprenticeship through Envision, a ministry of The Alliance, and has stayed on for a third year as interim Envision site coordinators.

Out of Their Comfort Zone
David and Camille Wendel
Though they both felt called to the missions field at an early age, they didn’t start pursuing it until their mid-20s.

“We spent the first several years of our marriage running from that call and hoping for a simpler life,” Dave says. “Submitting to [God’s] will led us to the missions field. If it were up to us, we would live a comfortable, quiet, and uneventful life. But God doesn’t call us to live in comfort; God calls us to be faithful and trust Him—He calls us to follow.”

Outreach Events

During their first year of ministry in Paris, Dave and Camille took French classes and assisted with English conversation groups. Over the last year as their ministry has grown, they became the directors of the Genesis Center, a venue in Paris owned by The Alliance that is used for community and outreach events and other ministries.

“Ministry in Paris is relational, and it’s through events that we connect with the community, build relationships, show them God’s love, discuss our faith, and eventually introduce them to Jesus,” Dave says.

As the interim Envision site coordinators, Dave and Camille for the coming year will oversee everyone serving with Envision Paris, including short-term missions teams and interns.

“Our prayer is that through our lives, our home, our church, and our Genesis venue we can impact the city of Paris and the Millennial generation with the gospel and make the desire to spread the truth of Jesus a contagious excitement,” Camille says. Dave and Camille were in Paris during the November 2015 terrorist attacks that rocked the city. They described the days that followed as “surreal.”

“It was hard to be here at that time, because frankly, this is our home, too,” Dave says. “At the same time, though, we knew that it was important that we were here. God can work through anything, and several events that followed proved God was present through all of it.”

Prepared

Dave and Camille met at Simpson in 2006. Camille graduated in 2008 with a BA in Liberal Studies, and Dave graduated in 2009 with a BA in History and a minor in Bible and Theology.

While neither Dave nor Camille focused on cross-cultural studies or missions for his/her degree, an education at Simpson helped prepare each of them for life on the mission field.

“Our time at Simpson made us aware of the need for missions work, and it was always clear that it was a passion and priority both for the faculty and the administration,” Camille says. “The missional-minded community of Simpson instilled in us a desire to take part in the task.”

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