Several life-transforming things happened to Brian Hackert as the result of a job he had selling furniture for 13 years at a large store in Grand Rapids, Mich.
First, Hackert says, he started taking Spanish classes in his free time in order to better serve the many Spanish-speaking customers who came in to buy furniture.
Then he met his future wife, Amy. A former volunteer tutor for Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), she came in to buy a couch. They chatted and learned that each had a solid faith that had grown over the years as they became adults and faced many of life’s challenges.
In 2002, they married. Both became deeply involved in their congregation, Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, and Brian eventually returned to college to earn a degree teaching Spanish.
But the story only starts there. With his new degree and some trepidation, Brian and Amy have moved from Grand Rapids to start training as teachers with CRWM in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
When he was selling furniture, serving as a missionary was not high on his list of priorities, says Brian. After their marriage, though, he and his wife began talking and she shared with him some of her experiences teaching in Liberia and Japan.
“Once we started talking about working overseas, the doors started opening. We found renters for our condo and people to buy our car,” he says. “Everything fell into place; God worked out all of the details.”
Before leaving for training in the United States and then traveling to the Dominican Republic, Brian and Amy Hackert joined more than 20 other missionaries for several days of in-depth orientation and training in the Grand Rapids office of the CRC.
These missionaries will serve with CRWM in many roles and capacities in varied locations, including Cambodia, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Uganda, in addition to the Dominican Republic.
“The orientation was great; it was beyond our expectations,” Amy Hackert says. “There were so many different topics such as personal security and how to handle a new culture.”
Previously she worked as a teacher in Platte, S.D., before teaching in Liberia and then in Japan at the Christian Academy in Japan. When Amy moved to Grand Rapids, she took a job teaching at a local Christian school.
Brian will teach Spanish at Santiago Christian School. Amy will work as a resource person in the library. They are set to teach in the Dominican Republic for at least two years.
Among other things, the Hackerts say they hope they can serve as role models for the students and others. “As older adults, we would like to show them that the future is so full of possibility,” Brian says. “God works in mysterious ways.”