Interview with Tim and Eliza Agenbroad
Ian: I am sitting in Seamill’s dining room with Tim, Eliza and Eva Agenbroad who have been visiting with us for the last couple of weeks. Tim and Eliza were on staff at Seamill for many years, this is the first time we have met Eva!
How long is it since you guys were on staff here?
3 ½ years.
Ian: What have you been up to in this time?
Tim: Plenty! We flew back to Idaho (where Tim is from), with the plan to apply a for community development school in Costa Rica. In the middle of applying and preparing for the school we took some time and visited Australia (where Eliza is from) for a month. A few days after we got home from Australia we found out that the school was cancelled and there was a RescueNet deployment in Oklahoma to work in disaster relief. Eliza is RescueNet trained and immediately started packing her bags.
Eliza: This was a brilliant welcome to America, not the disaster, but to see the American church respond incredibly well.
There were no more Community Development schools in the region we were looking at for about a year so we started looking into other courses to do in the meantime. In the process of this we stumbled upon the Community Transformation and Development School (CTDS) in Tijuana, Mexico, which totally lined up with what we wanted to do. This was totally the Lord as we would not have found it otherwise as it was not listed on any UofN websites, but only on the local base site.
This was an amazing school, led by Kent and Josie Truehl. The first two weeks confirmed that this was the place we were meant to be, so much of what we had learned and conclusions we had come to organically over our years in YWAM were emphasised and taken to another level. It was good to be hands on working in some of the poorer communities in Tijuana during the lecture phase. Our outreach was split into two, the first two weeks were Arizona with a Mexican indigenous community working in kid’s ministry.
Tim: For the second part we were in Heredia, Costa Rica for 6 weeks. They have a small base with a big chunk of land that they use as models for sustainable development. Everything from gardens, chickens and goats, water catchment and filtration systems, aquaponics systems all built from locally sourced cheaper materials. They used these to grow things for the base but also to teach others for them to take it to their local community. The lecture phase of the CTDS didn’t go into the technical details of how systems like this work, so the outreach really rounded out the experience for us.
Most of this time Eliza felt quite nauseous, and meant that we had to return home early, thankfully it was nothing too serious, we discovered she was pregnant!
Eliza: From Oct to Jan we stayed in Boise in USA, then we went to Melbourne, Australia to have Eva. Tim worked in maintenance while I did what I could with the DTS team.
Tim: I Tim also managed to complete my second level of training for RescueNet in Canberra. This was a challenge as Eva was only two weeks old but we managed it to the extent where I can now be deployed as well.
During our year in Australia we had many thoughts on our future, at one point we spent 6 weeks visiting friends in Tasmania where we also sought the Lord for the future. During this time, we felt led to go and visit good friends Jon and Michelle (former YWAM Seamill staff) in Cyprus. We contacted them and the details seemed to line up well. Also in this time frame my parents were very pleased to tell us that there was a new team in Boise (Idaho) that had a focus on refugees. We Skyped with Jon and Michelle and told them this and they responded saying that the Boise team were wanting to send a DTS team to them soon! Details were lining up! In talking to Matt and Heidi at YWAM Boise, it became clear that there were so many common values and ideas that we shared and we were pumped to join with them while we were in the US.
Their vision is to see people already working with refugees in the Boise area connecting with people and churches who have a heart to work with refugees. They are mobilising the church to do this kind of work. The work is still in its infancy as they have only been going since August last year, but they have plenty of open doors.
During our time back in the US (Jan to May 2016) we got involved with the YWAM Boise team, one of the things I (Tim) helped develop and lead a class that was targeting guys who wanted job training and equipping to get into the job market in the States, particularly the construction industry. The YWAM Boise team really embraced us and welcomed us to share and be a part of them. We really felt the respect of our YWAM experience so far.
Eliza: From this taste of YWAM Boise we travelled to YWAM Cyprus. We spent 2 ½ months working with YWAM Cyprus in Larnaca. The main ministry was with the Oasis Project, which provides English classes, social gathering, food and clothing for refugees and asylum seekers. We helped run their English classes and a ESL Bible study which sparked plenty of good conversations! We helped them gear up for World Refugee Week where Oasis were running a variety of activities like food stalls, kid’s activities, etc. This was a great way to celebrate the nations and cultures that are in Cyprus but are not always honoured, and raise funds for the project.
Another highlight was helping to lead a prayer night for refugees and the persecuted church. There was such a good turn out and fantastic engagement with people praying out and having different prayer stations. As part of the night we watched a Brother Andrew video from Open Doors on Syria, which was deeply moving and impactful.
The timing of us being there was great as there were no other teams there, and Jon and Michelle had their third baby at that time, World Refugee Week and Oasis was moving to a new premises! The month of July most of the projects closed down for the summer, so we focused on the relationships we had made already.
We were really able to get to know the refugees there and their stories. We prayed to see if we were to stay in Cyprus, but the Lord confirmed to us that we were to go back to Boise. Upon reflection, our time in Cyprus was fantastic to help us see the real stories of people and not just the headlines on the news. It was also great to see what others were doing and to see what works. Through this experience we feel God has prepared us for the work we will do in YWAM Boise.
We are now travelling through Scotland and Northern Ireland to visit friends and rest before heading back to Idaho. Going forward we feel that The Lord wants to provide a home for us, that is not just for us but to be for others. There will also be more time to invest in RescueNet, a ministry close to our heart. Tim would like to increase his training to be a part of the search and rescue side of things. Eliza would like to invest in the Boise DTS, using her training with disaster relief, especially if they pursue more Refugee DTS’s where they will encounter people who have suffered trauma, etc.
Ian: It is a joy to hear what Tim and Eliza are up to as they pursue the Lord and follow where He leads them. They are a part of our “Releasing Radical World Changers”!