Carol and Mark Barner are teachers from Phoenix, Arizona. As they were nearing retirement—after working as a college computer teacher (Carol) and high school science teacher (Mark)—they yearned to continue glorifying the Lord. In particular, they were looking for a way to do this within their education professions. They prayed and looked at schools where they could possibly serve in this capacity.
Finding the right fit was a process. First, they volunteered at an English camp. Next, they attended the summer TeachBeyond Institute, where they prepared for this new chapter in their lives. While at the summer Institute they envisioned helping at a missional school, educating the children of missionaries. After praying about the decision, Carol and Mark retired in 2011 from their teaching positions in Arizona so they could teach at the high school level at Faith Academy, near Manila, Philippines.
Though Mark and Carol were happy to be teaching overseas, the adjustment from Arizona to the Philippines was anything but easy. A move of such proportions always involves a number of lifestyle changes. One substantial change was the weather: the dry deserts of Arizona are a far-cry from the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. They experienced a number of cultural changes and experiences as well—one of the more exciting being the way people drive in Manila. Despite this, they discovered that the Philippines is full of friendly, hospitable people. This encouraged them to press on through the challenges they faced.
In addition to teaching, the Barners have gotten involved in summer English Camps. Last summer they ran a TeachBeyond English Camp for 49 sixth grade disadvantaged and orphaned children from a local Christian school. Mark reported after the first day: “Excellent worship times, very awesome English classes, active games and sports, filling USA style spaghetti, great time in pool and thought provoking Bible lesson.” Two days of the camp had to be cancelled due to a typhoon, with loss of electricity and some damage, but thankfully everyone was fine. Mark summed it up: “We are very grateful that we could glorify Jesus with the camp days we did have and that fruit in Jesus is further developed.”
Carol and Mark are thankful for the chance to serve in the Philippines and for their generous pensions, which have allowed them to continue to do God’s work in a place they never would have thought to call home…until now.