Monday, July 16, 2012


If you haven't heard:

Dear friends and family,

     We are sending out this letter to joyfully inform you about some exciting happenings in our lives and to let you know how you can be praying for us throughout these next two years (think of it "in lieu of a Christmas Card").  A few months ago, we accepted an invitation to serve a term of international volunteer service through the United States Peace Corps.  Our assigned country is The Kingdom of Tonga, a small group of islands located in the South Pacific.  We ship off in September for three months of language and vocational training and will serve for two full years as Elementary English Teaches in a now unknown village.

Why the Peace Corps?
     The full answer to this question really begins before we even met each other.  Starting as small seeds in high school and developing throughout college, both of us affirm a very distinct calling on our lives—a call to spread the Gospel and build God's Kingdom overseas, among the poorest of the poor.  It was this same heart that ultimately led us to be married and has guided every one of our life decisions thus far.  A year and a half ago, we felt drawn to apply for the Peace Corps and kept receiving similar affirmations along the way.  While it is a nonreligious organization, so much of its mission and vision are, in our opinion, quite "Christ-like”—an intentional "lowering of self" to live in the same way of the people we are serving, and the expected character qualities of self-sacrifice, loving service, and humility. 

    The Peace Corps allows people to apply with location preferences, but ultimately sends volunteers into open positions with the greatest needs.  Neither of us had even heard of Tonga or even knew where it was on the map before we received our assignment.  But, after doing a lot of research, some initial language learning, and reading loads of stories over these past few months, we are extremely excited to be immersed in this new culture and this entirely new way of life.  As we look at the big picture and God's calling on our lives, we hope and pray that these two years will stretch and grow us spiritually and relationally and will develop us as language learners, teachers, cross-cultural communicators, and as service-minded Christ followers. 

How can we support you during this time?
     Other than staying in touch, we simply ask you to pray for us during these years that will surely be full of lessons and challenges.  Pray that we will stay humble and obedient to God during times of hardship and for attitudes of flexibility, respect, and "hearts of learners."  Pray that we will honor and cherish each other and our marriage—that we would actively seek to grow and pour into our relationship as well as our relationships with others.  And, even though we may not see ourselves putting roots down in Tonga after our term, pray that we would be fully present there and that God would grant us true, Christ-like love for Tongan People.

Please do keep in touch(on our blog, facebook, or our email)—if you are receiving this letter, it means that you hold a very dear place in our hearts.           

                Thanks, prayers, and blessings,

                                    Mark and Alissa


  1. Interesting mission Coop Family; thank you for blessing or world and joining up with a non religious organization... a lining your selves with the peace corps can help the world see Christians more like Jesus intended; more loving and less brainwashing manipulators. God Bless you on your journey.

  2. This is amazing! I will definitely be praying for you both and I can't wait thread about all you see and do!


  3. you two are wonderful... we can't wait to hear about your adventures! It is amazing to see the heart of Christ so central to your marriage and "you-ness..." we love you guys and believe in the vision that you serve.

    -Mac and Dani =]