Doug and Barb Miller

Doug and Barb Miller served in Mangochi, Malawi from 2000-2023. They were pioneers among the Yawo, a people group that was historically resistant to the Gospel. Slowly, surely, Bible fellowship groups formed as they sought out connections with Yawo people in their neighborhood and in surrounding villages. Through chronological Bible teaching, they laid out God’s heart for humanity, the story of redemption, and the transformative hope of Christ Jesus.

When they retired in 2023 and transitioned to the U.S., they left behind twenty-seven active Bible study groups. These groups are now led by Madalitso and Ethel Kaputa (ministers from BIC Malawi) and Estol and Kristen Bathurst (BIC U.S. missionaries from Kansas.) The number of Yawo believers continues to grow as the Kaputas and Bathursts carry on the work started by Doug and Barb.

Doug and Barb (center) a Bible fellowship group.

Passing the Torch

Looking back on more than two decades of missions work, the Millers can clearly see steps God prompted them to take, preparing them for longevity in the field. Now in retirement, they want to pass on some of that wisdom to individuals and families that are also sensing a call to cross-cultural service.

We asked them, “What are some of the first steps you would recommend to someone discerning a call to missions?” Here’s what they had to say.

  • Know that your first callings are to intimacy, character, and community. If you are fulfilling these, your vocation and ministry will develop naturally over time.
  • Commit to pray, give, and/or go. Some are called to be goers, others are called to be senders, but all are called to be part of the Great Commission.
  • Witness to friends and family.
  • Go to Bible College. The late Jake Shenk used to say that the best preparation for missionary service is a solid foundation in the Word of God.
  • Be discipled and make disciples. (Kris G.’s story dives into this idea.)
  • Make the most of opportunities to study, learn language, and serve abroad.
  • Assess your capacity for language while you are young. Generally, it is more difficult to achieve fluency when you are older.
  • Know your gifts and passion.
  • Be open to cross-cultural ministry as a second career when you are older. There are benefits to building life experience before you deploy.
  • Consider home-schooling your children. It can help your children grow closer to each other and enhance cultural adjustment as a family.
  • If you deploy as a single person, be prepared to recruit a house mate and be very intentional about cultivating close relationships with teammates and the broader missionary and expat community. This helps guard against loneliness.
  • Seek confirmation through the Body of Christ and submit to your authorities.
  • Get the blessing of your parents, saved or unsaved.
  • Surrender to the Lord to fulfill your vision and call in his time and in his way. Be prepared for the death of a vision one or more times, and trust the Lord to do the work. “Faithful is he who calls you and he will do it.” (1 Thess 5:24)
  • Commit yourself to becoming financially free, paying off as much debt as possible, to minimize the distraction of finances. Such financial burdens can keep you from hearing God’s call, and being debt free eases the stress of financial pressure once you have deployed.

More of Doug and Barb’s Story

Over the years, we have been able to capture parts of the Miller’s story on video. Watch below.



This is part three of a four-week series about the risky steps of faith global workers took in obedience to Jesus and the legacy of service that followed.

BIC U.S. Communications
Posted by the BIC U.S. Communications team.

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