Matthew Wright was adopted at the age of six months by a couple who were new Christians, but that God would soon call into ministry. As God worked, Matt’s dad first pastored, then became a church planter in Australia. Matt worked alongside him, doing what most ministry families do: taking part in the “family business”. He was saved at age five, and as a teenager, plugged in to the comfortable roles of bus captain, Awana leader and camp counselor. As a 15-year-old, Matt surrendered his life for missions during a camp-fire service. It wasn’t always a clear-cut path. In college, Matt struggled with things he considered to be hypocritical around him and he became bitter. It took a couple more years before his faith and his call to service became more solid and he yielded his will and his plans to God.
Cindy grew up in a minister’s home as well, also playing an active role in the ministries of the churches her father pastored. She accepted Christ at age five, and over time, her child-faith grew her into a young woman seeking to truly serve Him. She chose to study Christian Ministries (as well as Dramatic Production) in college, believing that she would continue serving God in the role of a pastor’s wife. She fell in love with Matt, who assured her he would NEVER be a pastor, and they got married anyway! Her preparation has not gone to waste, however, as God found pleasure in calling them into ministry together as missionaries.
Just how typical is their missionary story? They were a young couple with a burden for the world, eager to get started, with no clue as to where God would have them serve. Making a long story short (and they would love to have a chance to tell you the longer version when you visit them!) God said to them, “Walk with me. We’re going to Albania.” He led them each step of the way, through missionary training with a broken ankle and three small children, through two years of travel and support-raising, and eventually to the field, where they fell in love with their new life.
They were excited to be there, finally living their dream, and feeling like they were really doing what God would have them do! But all was not as great as it seemed. There were undercurrents of stress within the young team made up of several couples. Only they didn’t remain undercurrents. They became irreconcilable differences, and Matt and Cindy and their 3 youngsters, who also loved being in Albania, abruptly found themselves back in the United States. Thus began a very dark and stormy part of their story. Relationships were broken, their home church and sending agency lost confidence in them, and their faith was stretched to its very limit as they made the painful journey over the next almost-five years, stepping cautiously and sometimes stumbling, but praying every day that God would restore them to ministry in Albania.
God remains faithful. He did answer their prayers to return them to Albania. In 2005 they returned to Albania and served another 7 years. What they have found is that their story is not unique. The details vary, but no matter where one goes, there are missionaries who are hurt, disappointed, lonely, stressed, having differences with their co-workers, struggling in their faith, questioning their calling. But having been through the depths of despair themselves, and coming out the other side and seeing God bring healing has given them a heart for others in similar circumstances. Through The 631 Solution, they are seeking to reach out to those working with the unique challenges of cross-cultural ministry.
P.S. The children who eagerly returned with their parents to Albania as tweens and young teens are now young adults, and seem to have made a healthy transition to college life and beyond in the United States. They are all seeking to serve God, and have a positive outlook on their current lives in America as well as on their past missionary experiences and the future possibilities of where God may take them. Just don’t ask them where home is!