Error message

  • Warning: file_put_contents(): Filename cannot be empty in file_unmanaged_save_data() (line 1938 of /var/www/clients/client1/web25/web/includes/
  • The file could not be created.
  • Warning: file_put_contents(): Filename cannot be empty in file_unmanaged_save_data() (line 1938 of /var/www/clients/client1/web25/web/includes/
  • The file could not be created.

Missionary Profile: Bev and Howie Shute

Monday, August 29, 2011

Howie and Bev Shute are missionaries serving at the Africa Regional Office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since they accepted their assignment in 2009, Howie has filled the role of assistant to the regional director, Filimao Chambo, specializing in church multiplication and development. Bev is the regional personnel coordinator. Previously, they had served for 12 years in the Horn of Africa Field.

Engage asked the Shutes to share about their ministry in Africa.

Engage: How did you first recognize God’s call to be involved in missions? 
Bev: Howie and I came on the mission field when we were 50 years old. The call came to us at this late time in life and we responded when the call came. Howie had the direct call from God, I feel. I accepted the call as being Howie's wife, but I can truthfully say that I have always had a heart for missions and always enjoyed missionary services in church. I was surprised at being called to go on the field at 50 years of age, but I would not change the joy or the experiences I have had on the mission field for anything else in the world.
Howie: First, the Lord called me out of the business world when I was 40 years of age. After seminary, I spent eight years serving as pastor in the U.S., but at the same time doing some regular short-term mission work, training pastors in personal evangelism. This I did throughout the Caribbean and then trips to Kenya and Tanzania. It was on these short-term training trips to Africa that I started to realize that this is where the Lord wanted me.

Engage: What is your favorite aspect of what you do in your present assignment?
Bev: The best thing I like about my present job is learning more about what our missionaries do in their ministry assignments and getting a glimpse of their hearts for their work. Our missionaries are very special people and each one serving in his/her assignment has hardships and troubles which they must overcome to accomplish their ministry assignment. What a blessing it is to me to see how these missionaries overcome these hard times with the help of the Lord and their desire to stay committed to their task.
Howie: I love being in the field, where the church is. I love being impacted by the faithful members of the Church of the Nazarene. There are some real heroes out there that are on the front lines of extending the boundaries of the Kingdom of God.  I also love the opportunity to impact the church in my preaching and teaching and sharing what God has done in my life and elsewhere around the continent, even if in some small way.
Engage: What are some of the challenges that you face in carrying out your work?

Bev: The work I do now is personnel work. I guess the challenge for me is to be able to help the missionary on the field in the best and fastest way possible. Our missionaries are busy people and they need for personnel to help them work through any personnel related issues they are facing on the field.

Howie: I love to travel, but too much travel takes its toll upon my body. It’s a challenge to stay physically fit when you are eating in restaurants as a way of life and sleeping on airplanes.
Engage: Please share a story of a significant event or moment that has happened in your current assignment.
Howie: I was visiting a country that was 99-percent [of another religion], looking for clues as to how to begin work with these very Gospel-resistant people. One day, while walking on the unbelievably crowded streets of the capital city, the Lord spoke to my heart: "Look around you!  All of these people that you are bumping into are lost and on their way to hell." I was greatly impacted by this thought and began to sincerely pray for them. I am reminded today that people everywhere are without the Lord, and He is still calling me to reach out to the lost, wherever I am, even as we are soon heading into retirement. In fact, I believe that He may use us more in retirement than He has as missionaries under contract with the Church of the Nazarene (if we are continuously open to hear his direction in our lives and obedient to His call).
Engage: How do you maintain a close relationship with God and your family in the midst of the demands of missionary service? 
Bev: As with any ministry, one has to discipline oneself to make time for God and for the family. Sometimes Howie can be away from me for many days. When he returns we make time for each other. It is all a matter of doing what is needed to maintain the relationship with God and with family.
Howie: I have found that there is no substitute for disciplining one's life for meaningful daily devotions. Prayer and time in the Word of God is the essential element in maintaining a healthy and intimate relationship with the Lord. Of course, it goes without saying that one must be obedient to everything that God says to you. If I am slow to obey, it affects my relationship with Him in profound ways. I also find that corporate worship in the Church keeps the spiritual fire burning. When my relationship with the Lord is at its best, then so is my relationship with my wife and family.
Engage: What are the rewards of what you do?
Bev: Being a missionary has more rewards than can be stated. I get to meet people of different cultures and eat new and wonderful foods. I see people come to Jesus and begin to serve Him with their whole heart. I receive welcome and love and respect from these people as they seek to give me the best that they have in their homes and receive more hugs than you can imagine. I see so many wonderful parts of the world and see all the creativity of God's creation. I have seen wild animals in their natural habitat.
Howie: Bev has stated it well!  The blessings of being a missionary far outweigh any sacrifices along the way.  I cannot even begin to tell you how blessed we have been, serving as missionaries in the Church of the Nazarene.
Engage: What are some aspects of the culture where you live that you have come to love or embrace?
Bev: I love Ethiopian food. I love that it is eaten with the hands and I easily can join in that way of eating. Although it can be frustrating at times, I love that people are more important in the African culture than being someplace on time.  I love the way Africans in the Horn of Africa worship. They have a joy and a freedom of expression that I love to see. I love to see the joy on the faces of people who have so little of the world's goods but so much of God's joy!
Howie: Again, Bev has also spoken for me in each of her loves for the African cultures. I would just add that I appreciate so much the intensive emphasis on relationships over task that African people everywhere live out.  Africa has impacted me greatly in this regard, although my Western bent to accomplishments still affects the way I think and behave. But Africa has changed me.
Engage: What do you like to do for fun? 
Bev: I like to hike and see the beauty of the outdoors. I love to read Christian literature.
Howie: I like to walk, especially with Bev.  That's one of the times that we talk about the issues in our lives, more than any other time. I also like to travel and meet people I've never met before and encounter places where I have never been. I especially love moving through remote areas finding people that no one else has seen or talked with. I will never forget the time that Bev and I were on a river, moving up and down the border between Ethiopia and Sudan, living for three weeks on little to eat and drink, hearing comments like, "No white man has ever been here before." I will never forget these times. I love that kind of adventure, especially when the theme of our conversation with these remote but wonderful people is "the love and grace of Jesus."
Engage: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? 
Bev: I love to eat foods with my hands. It feels natural to me!
Howie: They might be surprised that I should be dead. I cannot count the times where the Lord has spared my life.  My [military] base where I was stationed in Viet Nam was overrun by Vietcong one week after my return to the USA, three months before my scheduled departure that the Lord miraculously changed. Most all of my friends were killed at that time. While in seminary, I was blindsided by a vehicle that drove me through the side window, shattering the glass with my head, just before smashing the driver's side mirror, implanting much of the mirror into my head. I've gone over a steep ravine in a truck, rolling over and over for the distance of two football fields. I've been chased with machetes by animists that wanted to kill me. The list goes on and on! The Lord has spared my life many, many times.
Engage: What advice would you have for others exploring a possible call to missions, or embarking on their first missionary assignment? 
Bev: Open your hearts to God's calling for your life. Whatever He has in mind for you will be a wonderful adventure for you and fill your heart with contentment -- even if you do have to go through many hard times. God's ways are so far above our ways and He knows just what we need to make us more fit for the kingdom.
Howie: 1) Keep God absolutely first, ahead of your work as a missionary.  2) Stay focused on people, not the office. 3) Preach and live holiness until Jesus returns. 
Engage: Other comments?
Howie: Pray for Bev and me as we return to the USA and our new home in Surprise, Arizona.  Pray that the Lord would use us to reach our family and our community, and that through us (even if in some small way) revival can begin in America!