Sending Beyond the Walls

Sending Beyond the Walls

Starting the new year has looked different for all of us. Many of our missionaries learned and participated in cultural traditions to ring in the new year on their field, deepening relationships with sweet friends. For Collette Nybakken, one of the newest Global Partners missionaries, this year began with a long-anticipated transition. 

Like many of us, Collette didn’t find God’s path for her overnight. Instead, she got there one “yes” at a time. Collette was raised in a Wesleyan minister’s family and was faithfully involved in the Northwest district. And while studying at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, God laid global missions on her heart. 

This burden brought her to eSwatini for one summer before graduating and retuning to Oregon. Shortly after returning home, Lead Pastor David Pfnister called and asked if she’d consider moving to Clarkston, Washington to serve as their Children’s Pastor at Harvest Church. This next “yes” allowed Collette to find roots in a loving congregation. 

Before Collette joined David on staff at Harvest Church, a burden to encourage missionary support and sending missionaries was placed on David’s heart. 

“Something that God told me to do before she arrived was to teach the church to ‘go beyond the walls.’” Later, he added, “I just thought that meant supporting the Cheneys (Global Partners missionaries) and the ones we know from the Northwest. I didn’t know that meant sending one of our own.” 

After arriving at Harvest in 2018, Collette and David wore many hats to provide opportunities for God to work through their church’s ministries. Though the work never ends, they were seeing great growth in the lives of Harvest’s congregation. 

In times of growth like they were experiencing, the natural tendency can be to tighten your grip and resist any change for fear of losing the momentum, stability and progress you work so hard to maintain. 

But they both knew the time was coming for Collette, and the church, to step out in faith. Though Collette’s call to global service was always a part of the conversation when she started at the church, choosing to trust God still always comes with a cost. 

In 2023, Collette became appointed to serve as a Global Partners missionary in Cambodia, alongside a growing team. Harvest prepared for her transition, which officially took place early this year. 

Amid saying goodbye to their friend and children’s pastor, Pastor David and the church remained supportive and encouraging, carrying on the sending legacy that their church has had since sending the Cheney family 20 years ago. 

“Throughout this whole process in this past year, my faith has continued to be strengthened,” Collette said. “We had no idea what was going to happen and how it would all fall into place. God continued to show us that He knew what He was doing and that He was going before us.” 

David shared that open and honest communication have been key elements in helping the transition go well. He emphasized that it is God’s church and that He will bless acts of obedience. Because of Collette, David and Harvest Church’s willingness to send and be sent, their relationship and work will continue in new ways to expand the kingdom of God – in the city of Clarkston and now in Cambodia, too.