Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Next article
Time to read
3 minutes
Read so far

Couple gives up island life for local ministry

January 27, 2019 - 00:00
Posted in:
  • Article Image Alt Text
    WARM JACKETS definitely were not necessary apparel at Daniel and Miranda Mayfield’s last ministry post in the Cayman Islands but they and their son Judah needed them on a recent visit to Colorado Springs and are putting them to good use since their move

It’s hard to imagine a young family would give up full-time life in the Cayman Islands to move to Kingfisher, but new residents Daniel and Miranda Mayfield believe they are right where they belong.

In fact, Mayfield, the new pulpit minister at Kingfisher Church of Christ, his wife and their 19-month-old son Judah left their five-year life as missionaries just as cool “Christmas breezes” were wafting across their island home, bringing the year’s most glorious weather.

And still, it’s a decision they don’t regret.

“Kingfisher is everything we had missed about living in the states,” May-field said. “Plus, the people here have gone overboard to be so welcoming.”

“This is the kind of small town where we want to put down roots,” his wife added.

Neither of the Mayfields grew up on sunny beaches. Daniel is from Owatonna, Minn., a city of 25,000 about an hour south of Minneapolis, and Miranda is from Colorado Springs.

The son of a Church of Christ minister who has preached for 28 years at a church he founded, Mayfield grew up believing that’s what he wanted to do, also.

But his parents advised him to pursue a college degree in something else, to give himself a viable Plan B while he decided whether a full-time ministry was really his calling.

So he earned a business degree from Oklahoma Christian University in 2011 and then worked for a year as a consultant for an Oklahoma City software company.

“That’s how long it took before I knew I couldn’t do that for the rest of my life,” he said. “I knew ministry was my true calling.”

He moved to Colorado to earn another bachelor’s degree in theology at Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, Colo., and that’s where he met Miranda, an elementary school teacher.

Theology degree in hand, the Mayfields both were committed to the idea of a longterm post as international missionaries.

They started out in Malawi, where they spent two weeks traveling throughout that east African country.

“It was kind of a mission trip but also a survey trip to see if there was a place there for us to serve,” he said. “We helped with a mobile Bible school that went from village to village.”

Back in the U.S., the May-fields learned from friends living and working in the Cayman Islands that a church there was looking for a new minister.

Mayfield applied, flew to the island to interview . . . and then waited.

“Nothing happens fast on island time, but then when we found out I got the job, they wanted me there in two months,” he said.

As missionaries, the May-fields had to line up sponsors in the U.S. to support their ministry, but not only were they able to raise 100 percent of the funds they needed in that short two months, but Miranda also landed a job on the island as a public school teacher.

“We took both those things as evidence that we were meant to be there,” he said.

While full-time life in the Caribbean may sound idyllic, the Mayfields said that was not the reality.

“It was definitely not a five-year beach vacation,” Miranda said.

“We very rarely even went to the beach,” Mayfield said.

Instead, they lived in a remote community of about 2,000 on the opposite end of the 22-mile island from the popular tourist destinations.

Their tiny living quarters were part of the church building.

“In fact, the church met in our living room and some of our private space had to be used for classrooms,” he said.

Learning local customs the hard way also was a part of their learning curve – saying “good morning” when meeting anyone before noon is mandatory; pumpkins as fall decorations are mistaken as a pagan celebration of Halloween; “early,” “late,” or “on time” are concepts that have no meaning to Caribbean islanders.

And aside from those glorious days of cool ocean breezes around the holiday season, the island had only one constant temperature.

“Hot,” Mayfield said. “Really, really hot.”

But the Mayfields settled in and grew to love their tiny island community.

And three years later their family expanded to include son Judah and Miranda gave up her teaching job to be a stay-at-home mom.

From the very beginning, they planned to limit their overseas commitment to five years and at the end of that time, Mayfield learned of an opening at the Kingfisher church.

“I love Oklahoma and I already had family living here, a sister in Guthrie and another sister in Edmond,” he said. “When I came for an interview in July, I fell in love with Kingfisher, too.”

So far, the Mayfields have had only one hitch in their reintegration to stateside life – they are here, but most of their stuff is not.

All there household goods, furnishings and appliances were supposed to be shipped to Jamaica and then to Houston, where they had made arrangements to have their shipping container trucked to Kingfisher.

Instead, their belongings landed in Miami, and with no way to get the container overland from there, they had no choice but to let it go back onto a ship to be rerouted to Houston.

“It’s on its way to Houston – that’s really all we know for sure,” Miranda said. “But everyone here has been so nice to let us borrow things and giving us staples and supplies so that we have everything we need.”

In the meantime, the Mayfields are excited about becoming involved in the community. A former high school wrestler at 126 pounds, Mayfield said he’s interested in volunteering in the wrestling program, Miranda and Judah are exploring programs at Kingfisher Memorial Library, and both the Mayfields are enthusiastic about enrolling Judah in the local school system in a couple years.

As for the local church, Mayfield said he is working on plans with the elders to “build our base from within and then build from without through community service projects and outreach.”

“We feel so blessed to be here,” he said.