When 24-year-old Steven Kunkel became a volunteer missionary to Japan, his mother gave him a jigsaw puzzle piece. “God’s still putting the puzzle of your life together,” she said.
For Tim and Iracema Kunkel, the “puzzle” surrounding their son, Steven, began almost 20 years ago when doctors diagnosed him with autism, a developmental brain disorder. The Kunkels were new missionaries to Uruguay.
“Let’s just pack up and go home,” Tim recalls thinking.
But the Kunkels stayed, serving God with their three children. Because Uruguay offered few services for autistic people, Iracema studied special education so she could teach Steven herself. Soon, God opened doors for sharing the Gospel with Uruguayan families affected by autism.
Meanwhile, Steven made amazing progress. He accepted Christ and, at age 15, felt called to Japan. Later, the Kunkels transferred to Paraguay, where many Japanese immigrants live.
“A lot of what God’s had us doing on the missions field ... [wasn’t] so much about us as missionaries,” says Iracema, a native Brazilian. “It was about Steven. God was [putting the] puzzle pieces in place ... so this autistic child could grow up to be a missionary.”
Pray many lost people in Japan will accept Christ through Steven’s testimony.
Ask God to lead Tim and Iracema to key Paraguayan believers to train and mobilize for missions.
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Posted on Thu, April 10, 2014
by Shannon Baker filed under