Living The Trinity Western Dream
Michael Sprenger (‘87) was a big part of the Trinity Western community for nine years. He was a student, Freshmen President, Student Body President, Captain of the basketball team, and Assistant Coach to Tim Teer. After he married Carol Beth, his high-school sweetheart, they stayed on campus for the first five years of their marriage where he served as a Resident Director.
Both of them loved the community and atmosphere on campus, and learned many valuable lessons for their future. But this time couldn’t last forever. Eventually, they felt God calling them to overseas missions in Mongolia.
For Sprenger and his wife (and eventually their eight children) a new adventure was about to begin.
Twelve Years in Mongolia
Sprenger went on to work as the principal of an international school for missionary kids in Mongolia for twelve years. While there, he was presented with many opportunities to provide care and support.
People in other organizations started to notice their integrity, care, and leadership. Over time, more and more started going to them for counsel and advice.
“One day, I’m the principal of a school. Then all of a sudden, I’m like a pastor or shepherd to this community,” says Sprenger.
Despite the difficulties of living in Mongolia, things were going well. But in 2003, Sprenger developed a chronic cough. The severe pollution in the country was beginning to take a toll on his body. As time went on, the cough got worse and worse.
“It was getting to the point where I couldn’t even have a conversation,” says Sprenger. “I was coughing and hacking so much.”
Sprenger couldn’t imagine leaving this thriving ministry behind. But God gave him confirmation in the most unexpected way.
God’s Leading There and Away
While a student at Trinity Western, Sprenger recalls how a missionary came and preached on Isaiah 6:8. He felt it was this verse that ultimately led him and his wife to Mongolia in the first place. Then, twelve years later, God brought that verse back to him in his devotions.
Could God be using the same verse to now lead him away from Mongolia? This thought made Sprenger sad. But, after praying with his wife, they agreed it was the Lord speaking.
It wasn’t easy to leave, but the Sprengers have always tried to hold their lives and vocation loosely, trusting God every step of the journey.
“I love the thought—and we say this to everyone—can we just trust? Do we really believe what the Bible says about God leading and directing us?” says Sprenger. “I believe God can lead you into a place, and I believe He can lead you out again.”
As they were preparing to move, many families encouraged them to consider doing full-time member care. They prayed, and with the blessing of their church and sending organization, they decided to transition to caring for missionaries directly.
A New Life in Thailand
For the last five years, the Sprengers have lived fully-immersed in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They spend their time working with missionary families, many who don’t have a lot of support.
“Our goal is helping others do better what they were sent to do,” says Sprenger, who ministers to over 200 people from all across South East Asia, including Malaysia, Mongolia, Indonesia, and India. “It’s amazing what you can do through distance care.”
Ministering to so many takes a toll, though. Some days will be filled with heavy meetings. “Sometimes, it seems like there’s so much junk going on, I can’t personally handle it,” says Sprenger. “But then, I get home and the Lord intervenes and just lifts those burdens off.”
In addition to their member care, Sprenger also coaches an international school’s basketball team. Through this experience, he’s been able to speak into the lives of many young men and often receives letters of thanks from them and their parents.
Sprenger says he never would have guessed his life would have gone like this when he was a student at Trinity Western, but is so thankful for the opportunity to go out and to minister to those who minister to others.
“It’s a privilege to be working for the relief of God’s people,” says Sprenger, who hopes to be doing this for many more years.