Mark & Diane Shade first visited Nicaragua on a short term trip with BMDMI in July of 2012. On this trip, their team visited the village of La Fundadora. With their team, they ministered to the local villagers of the area, while God started to quietly call their hearts into His service in Nicaragua.
In July of 2013, they returned to Nicaragua with the same team, but to a different village. Again, they served with their teammates to minister to the local villagers. This time however, God spoke clearly and plainly to their hearts - "Come and help share my love with the people of Nicaragua".
Mark served on the team again in 2014. Diane was unable to travel that year. But, even as they were thousands of miles apart, God spoke to both of their hearts with the same message - "Come and help share my love with the people of Nicaragua".
By this time, they had already begun the application process with BMDMI, to become Career Missionaries. In February of 2015 BMDMI confirmed what Mark & Diane had heard in their hearts and appointed the Shades to serve with BMDMI in Nicaragua.
Mark is a Bartlesville, Oklahoma native. He also spent some time in Arizona and Arkansas growing up. Diane is a Tempe, Arizona native. She spent most of her life there until meeting Mark in Flagstaff. Mark was attending Northern Arizona University and Diane was living and working in Flagstaff.
In January of 1992 they were married, in the Greenlaw Baptist Church, of Flagstaff. The wedding was attended by so many great friends and family members, even though nearly a foot of snow fell.
Fast forward nearly 24 years to today! The Shades have no children - God just never gave them any. Mark & Diane have been known to borrow other people's kids occasionally. That is pretty fun - kind of like being grandparents, without having to wait so long! They get to spoil a few kids and give them back when they are sick, sleepy or ready for college or weddings!
During that 24 years the Shades have lived in Mesa, Arizona (suburb of Phoenix), Flagstaff of course, and Nowata and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Through the journey of 24 years God has gone to great lengths to build the Shades into the people He needed them to be - to be ready to go and serve in Nicaragua! While God is still growing and equipping them, He has already done much to have them ready to start a new journey!
Mark spent 12 years studying Spanish, including 6 years in college (completed a minor in Spanish). Diane began to study Spanish nearly 2 years ago through free classes at the local library. While Mark is re-learning and practicing his Spanish (knocking the rust off), Diane is learning with him.
Mark also worked with computers for nearly 15 years, learning a wide variety of skills. Diane learned to work with animals during the time that Mark & Diane lived on a small family farm near Nowata, Oklahoma. Both of these skill sets have been used to serve in Nicaragua already. Additionally, God allowed Mark & Diane to operate a food trailer/concessions/catering business. This enabled them to learn to share God through food service and helped to give them hearts that truly want to serve others.
Of course, they have attended church during the 24 years, hopefully learning much about the Bible, God's love for people and so much more. God is still equipping the Shades, especially in this area.
Please pray for Mark & Diane as they prepare for their move to Nicaragua. Please pray that they would hear God's leading each day and have the strength, courage and wisdom to follow it. Please pray also that they would continue to grow in their relationships with God each day.