Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Josh Dyer played for the golf team and majored in business management at Lipscomb. He enjoyed his Bible classes, but never considered the possibility of being a missionary. But one day God called and Dyer listened. By the time you read this week’s “Where Are They Now” Dyer, his wife, Brittany; and daughter, Sharles; will be in their new home in Haiti. Despite the time crunch of preparing for such a major life change, Dyer spoke with Lipscombsports.com about his past and future.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some would call packing up and moving your family to arguably one of the poorest areas of the world a true test of faith.
A person with less reserve might call it drastic or maybe even dangerous.
Josh Dyer, a former member of the Lipscomb golf team and a PGA professional, isn't one of those people. He doesn't understand what all of the fuss is about.
Wednesday he and his wife, Brittany; and seven-month-old daughter, Sharles; will be in Haiti where they will be based for the next two years serving as missionaries. Dyer thinks it is a small sacrifice compared to what the apostles of Jesus endured for the Kingdom.
“I know some people think it is a bold step, but I guess I don’t see it as that big of a deal,” Dyer said. “I look at the 12 apostles that left everything to follow Christ and 11 of the 12 died for their faith in Christ.
“The least I can do is move my family to Haiti. We want to be as close as the apostles were to Christ. The apostle Paul gave up his whole life to preach the Gospel. That is how we want to be.”
Dyer first visited Haiti on a mission trip in January of 2012, a week-long visit as part of a nine-person team. He and his wife made a return visit in August of 2012 for five days. Like most people who spend time working with the people of the island country Dyer and his wife felt the need to be part of the lives of the Haitian people.
“It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 85 percent unemployment,” Dyer said. “It has a really high illiteracy rate. You may think you have seen poverty in America, but it is nothing like this.
“It breaks your heart to see kids starving and parents trying to survive. The people of Haiti attract you. You see the poverty and how terrible it is there, but the people are just so full of joy. What grips you is the way they tug at your heart. They really want to learn about the Bible. It is tough to leave them behind.”
Like the apostles, Dyer is following God’s guidance in making the two-year commitment to serve. The more he studied, the more convinced he was that it was the right decision.
“It was definitely a God thing,” Dyer said. “The more I read scriptures, the more I felt like Jesus really wanted us to go out and tell people about him.
“My wife and I went through three days of fasting to draw closer to God. God revealed to me and my wife individually that He wanted us to serve in Haiti. We went back again a second time to make sure that was what He wanted us to do and we felt like He did.”
Working through his congregation, the Lifepoint Church in Smyrna, Tenn., Dyer and his family will also be associated with the Chadasha Foundation in Haiti.
“When we went back the second time it was just me and my wife,” Dyer said. “We wanted to see what it would be like to actually be a missionary and not be a member of a mission team. We felt a real peace. Chadasha was looking for a young couple with kids that would like to serve and be an example to some of their employees so it actually worked out perfect.
“God provided the funds for us. Every chance I have given Him to turn us around he has not done it. Every single step he has provided something we need.”
For the past year-and-a-half Dyer has been working as a teaching pro at The Johnny Warren Golf Academy in Gallatin, Tenn. Warren is the father of the late Paul Warren, a former LU golfer who died tragically in an automobile accident in Dec. 1, 2011. The elder Warren’s influence also contributed to Dyer’s decision.
“Johnny is a great Christian man,” Dyer said. “He has been a good role model for me.”
Dyer played golf at Lipscomb from 2003 through 2007, first for Dr. Ralph Samples and then for Buddy Harston. He never considered at the time that mission work would one day be part of his future.
Dyer didn’t major in Bible but the professors in the department made an impact on him.
“My belief in Christ didn’t really increase until I was a junior in high school,” Dyer said. “I wanted to come to Lipscomb because of the Christian education.
“While I was at Lipscomb the Bible classes really played a big role in adding fire to my faith. It made me almost a nerd for the Bible. All I have done is learn everything I can about the Bible.”
The class on the book of Revelations, taught by Dr. Jim Morgan, had the biggest impact on Dyer.
“It was the best class I had at Lipscomb…period,” Dyer said. “It was an amazing class. His passion for teaching was amazing.”
The Dyers will be working with the community in Port-au-Prince as well as spending time teaching Chadasha employees at the house where they will be living.
“Chadasha runs a children’s home that provides meals and health care for orphans,” Dyer said. “They do open heart surgeries on children that need it. They employee Haitians as a way to help them provide for their families. But ultimately we are there to try to teach the Gospel, the story of Christ and his redemptive word.”
The Dyers will be sharing a home with another missionary, John Fitts, from the Washington, D.C. area. Approximately eight Haitian employees work and live at the house as well.
“We will work in a tent city and preach their twice a week,” Dyer said. “We will teach them how to speak English, but we will also teach them the Bible if they want to learn.
“We do everything through a pastor there named Patrick Jude at Pernier Baptist Church. He knows the culture so we will run everything through him.”
One thing Dyer will not be doing is playing golf during his time in Haiti. He plans to keep his PGA card up-to-date, but the Petionville Club, the only golf course on the island is covered with plywood shacks housing those left homeless by the 2010 earthquake. Approximately 14,000 still remain on the course, down from the 60,000 originally housed there. Actor Sean Penn’s relief group plans to have all of those living on the course moved by 2014.
“There will be no golf,” Dyer said. “I am kind of stepping away from my golf career. I am going from teaching golf to teaching the Bible.”
Dyer’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Their blog is thedyershaiti.blogspot.com.