Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Friday, July 20, 2007

Missionaries often have cool backstories

It's an important feature in a major character in fiction -- the story of how they got to be who and where they are now, whether it's all detailed in the book you're reading or not. It's true of real people, too. Just because they just entered our lives yesterday doesn't mean they popped into existence right before that. With fictional characters, the author's flights of fancy can produce dramatic backstories. With real people, the mundane is perhaps more normal. But I'm finding with our missionaries that mundane may not apply.

At least, that's been the case with our last two. Brother Karl Sapp, missionary to North Pole, Alaska, started college to study thermonuclear physics, and was apparently a standout student before changing gears and going into full-time ministry. He can still wax rhapsodic about subnuclear physics, though, and his sheer intellectual prowess shows quickly when he starts slinging around Japanese (which he learned swiftly as a missionary there before going to his current polar position).

This week, we had the Scott Cornoyer family at the church. To our surprise, both he and his wife over-lapped our time at Pensacola Christian College. He was in the community training at the naval air station there in Pensacola, while she was a student and on staff at the college for our first couple years there. He ended up spending some 14 years in the Navy, flying over 400 combat reconaissance missions and garnering some cool stories. After that, he worked for the Secretary of Defense and for a civilian contractor, also in the intel business. Meanwhile, he and his wife have been acruing six children, with the oldest having just turned nine. They are now on their way to start a much-needed church just a few miles from the Washington D.C. beltway. He expects that his high-flying background in the Navy, Department of Defense, and civilian contracting will open doors to him, as he goes to a place characterized by intellect, education, affluence, cynicism, and corruption.


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