The Stewarts are: Arthur, Melissa, Arthur Paul, Iain, and Mairin. We currently live in Pretoria, South Africa, and are working with a ministry called NieuCommunities (see the What we Do page for more info on that).
Arthur and Melissa both grew up in Fresno, CA. We started dating at the end of high school (1991), did a semester of community college, then a study abroad semester in England. After, we traveled on the European continent for six weeks with a friend – a life changing experience. When we came back to CA, we transferred to Fresno Pacific University. Melissa earned a BS in Child Development. Arthur graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies. We were married between our junior and senior years of college (1994).
So, we graduated and spent three months in Rwanda, central Africa, in 1995. Our hearts were shaped in the process, and a love for Africa was deepened. We then moved to Pasadena, CA, to help plant Foothills Community Church and for Arthur to go to graduate school. We learned a lot through this experience, and it was a stretching time in many areas. Our oldest son, Arthur Paul, was born in 1998. Arthur also graduated with an M.Div. from Azusa Pacific University that year. Iain was born in 2001.
Over time, it became clear that we needed a change. So, in 2002, we became a part of a new ministry called NieuCommunities in Oxnard, CA, as apprentices. God did some amazing things in our life that year (relationally, spiritually, in ministry), and after eleven months we came on staff. We joined the new team in South Africa in 2003, and we have been here ever since. Mairin was born in SA in 2004.
We love our life. We live in a fascinating, diverse place. We get to do life and ministry in a missional community alongside local people as well as a team of others dedicated to seeing God’s Kingdom realities explored and lived out. And, we get to train groups of apprentices each year in deepening their communion with God in the context of a community on mission.