In March of 1989, Don and Gayle Sommerfeld organized a team of fourteen people from St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to rebuild a church in Cite Soliel, Haiti. The experience of seeing the needs of the Haitian people led Don and Gayle to refocus their lives and they were called to action.
God had put a desire in their heart to provide a way for lay people to see what could be accomplished by spending one or two weeks in the mission field assisting the national pastors and missionaries. Although both were fully employed and active in social and church ministries, they continued to organize and lead mission teams. Within three years, they had taken nine teams to Haiti. It soon became apparent that to continue to recruit, prepare and lead teams, Gayle would need to leave her employment and devote her time and energy to this ministry. In 1992, MOST Ministries (Mission Opportunities Short Term) was born.
A Note from Gayle Sommerfeld
Greetings ... It amazes me to look back at where I was in 1988 and realize what God has done and how far He has taken me, an ordinary person simply answering His undeniable call to reach out and make a difference. In 1988, I was a mom, a wife and self-employed. I perchance viewed the video series 'You Can Make a Difference' by Tony Compalo. It presented a compelling message, inviting me to enter into missions. The setting for the video was Haiti. I accepted the challenge and made a commitment to God right then and there to go to Haiti. I expected it to somehow simply happen and so I waited.
A year had passed and I realized I needed to show initiative to fulfill that commitment. About that time, my husband Don, heard a speaker talk about short term missions. Our response to his invitation was all the initiative we needed to begin the sequence of events that led to the formation of a team of 14 people. While reconstructing a church in Cite Soliel, I heard that still small voice encouraging me to come back, this time with doctors and nurses who could provide medical assistance. Six months later, I returned with a medical/dental team and it was then I realized that this was just the beginning of a long relationship with developing nations around the world.
What do I do when not out and about in the world? I cherish time with my family. We have four married children, so holiday vacations, special family events, celebrations and grandchildrens' activities are a priority. Reading is a great diversion from responsibilities at the mission center, as is gardening and photography.
I'd like to leave you with a final thought... If you feel God calling YOU, if He has put an interest or passion in YOUR heart to do short term missions... Don't be afraid to respond with a loud and joyful "Yes Lord, here I am!"