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Missionary couple travels the globe fulfilling ministry

October 26, 2009|By JANET HEIM

MAUGANSVILLE -- Their home address might be Maugansville, but home to John and Melissa Miller is wherever they are needed. As personnel directors for Churches in Missions (CIM), that could be as close as Paw Paw, W.Va., or as far as Costa Rica.

The Millers have run a satellite office from their home for almost three years. Their job is to assist local churches and Christian schools/colleges planning mission trips in North America and abroad.

They are helping members of a Greencastle, Pa., church prepare for a mission trip to Peru in January. A May trip to Costa Rica is in the works for high school seniors at Grace Academy.

The Millers have traveled to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Lithuania, Mexico and Haiti, as well as to New Mexico and Ohio.

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As full-time missionaries with CIM, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Millers facilitate arrangements for groups' short-term mission trips by helping select a mission site; finding the best airfares; securing lodging, food and water, transportation and local guides/translators; ensuring ministry opportunities; and creating itineraries.

They help organizations raise money for the trips, then travel with them. Every trip is "tailor-made" to fulfill the ministry goals of the group while honoring requests from the mission field, according to a CIM fact sheet.

Twelve of the 24 staff members of CIM, which has its main office in Sanford, N.C., have served in full-time pastorates, as have the Millers. Before their work with CIM, the Millers ministered at Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport, including five years in teen ministry and 10 years as senior pastors.

Both agreed it was a tough decision to leave the ministry at Faith Christian Fellowship, but said they couldn't resist the tug they felt to do mission work.

"We thought we would do that the rest of our lives, but saw the need to help others," said Melissa Miller, 41.

"We felt like God was leading us to be missionaries," said John Miller, 40.

The Millers were high school sweethearts and teenage parents, marrying before they graduated from high school in 1986 in Martinsburg, W.Va. They have been married for 23 years, have two grown children and are grandparents.

"His influence on our life was amazing," John Miller said of their faith.

They've also seen the power of mission work on the lives of local people. John Miller said a Hagerstown business owner sold his business and now is a full-time missionary in Nicaragua after going on a CIM mission trip there.

The Millers will travel to Brazil in November to lead pastors' conferences for clergy who wouldn't have the financial resources or opportunity to attend conferences otherwise.

"Whether it's North America or anywhere, we'll go there and are happy to do it. We want to make a difference and be a blessing," Melissa Miller said.

More information on Churches in Missions can be found at www.churchesinmissions.org.

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