Sandy’s parents, Missionaries Dale and Nelda West, served in
Guadalajara, Saltillo, and San Luis Potosí, Mexico, from 1958 to 1998.
For thirteen years they had an orphanage. The orphans were part of the family and serving the Lord was a family affair. Definitely a people
person, Sandy thrived in this atmosphere of work and fun. She still
plays her accordion, sings, and cooks for a crowd!
Melvin was saved when he was in third grade. Melvin is serious about serving his Lord. And Melvin is a man of action who knows both what he needs and how to go about getting it. He was a forty-eight year-old widower when he decided he needed a wife to help him serve God on the mission field—and the most efficient way to find her was the internet. Theirs was a most unusual meeting! They simultaneously discovered each other’s bios and essays on a Christian website, and Sandy (also forty-eight and widowed), after a lot of prodding from her father, prayerfully responded. God has forged a strong marriage, filled with humor and mutual respect.
Melvin had previously done short terms of missionary helps service in various countries, but now he wanted to serve full time. He knew he needed help in language learning and Melvin-like, researched his
options. He chose BBTI as the school best suiting his needs and
enrolled in 2003. Sandy studied alongside, encouraging him as he
determinedly forged ahead.
The focus of the Morris’ ministry in Venezuela is preparing men and
women for the spread of the Gospel and establishment of new churches.
It is an especially important strategy in view of the country’s political instability. Sandy builds lives on a day-by-day basis as she teaches kid’s clubs, prepares materials and trains teachers, helps cook for the men’s retreats and family camps, and contributes to the music program. Melvin excels in many skills and has been able to build Bible school facilities, develop their campgrounds, and procure the equipment for and set up a printing ministry. He teaches alongside Pastor José in the church and Bible institute.
Pray for Melvin’s and Sandy’s ongoing health needs; they are far from their doctors. Pray for their protection; they have been robbed at gunpoint and their home has been repeatedly burglarized. The one-year renewable visas they recently received are an answer to over seven years of prayer, proving the door is still open. The Morris’ choose to stay in spite of the risks involved, saying, “The future of the Venezuelan church is at stake; as long as the government allows us to come and go we should be able to continue preaching, teaching, and training the nationals; if we have to leave at some point in the future, they will be better prepared to lead the churches and establish new ones.”