Mary Pearson knew her dream and purpose as a child. Her husband, Brandon Pearson, didn’t have the same luxury. He figured out life as it came.
As Crown College alumni, they found a calling that started in biology class.
Mary transferred to Crown in 2012 and came to the college for one reason: she wanted to be a missionary because she had a desire to expand the Kingdom of God and help others. She had a very clear-cut plan.
Brandon couldn’t decide on a college any more than he could decide what to wear for the day. A friend suggested Crown, and one day he found himself sitting in a class with Dr. Dean Erickson, Department Chair of Biblical, Theological, and Ministry Studies and Professor of Old Testament Studies.
For the next four years, Mary played on the women’s soccer team and created long lasting friendships. While living a studious life, a professor mentored her and helped her persevere through the nursing program. Everything seemed perfect.
Meanwhile, her future husband Brandon played drums for the worship team and found his calling in biology classes. He was attending a senior seminar class taught by Dr. Don Hardy, Professor of Biology. He felt a tug on his heart to go into teaching.
In Brandon’s senior year of biology classes, he noticed a couple of new nursing students who joined the class. One of them stood out. Her name was Mary Vose, now Pearson. They entered Crown in the same freshman class and he had known of her for two years but something had changed in that time. To this day, Brandon can’t explain what changed because Mary still looked and acted the same way.
As the semester continued, Brandon found himself arriving at biology earlier and earlier. He didn’t want to miss any opportunity to see Mary. They were assigned to a group project and everything clicked so naturally. They became friends and one thing led to another. They went on their first date and, in May of 2015, Mary walked down the aisle to find her Prince Charming waiting for her.
Eventually, Brandon graduated from Crown in 2014 and Mary graduated a year later. Fresh out of college and newly married, the couple turned to God and began to pray for guidance on what would come next. Mary still felt the desire to go into missions.
Brandon, though? Not so much.
“I wanted nothing to do with missions when I came to Crown,” he recalls. “I was convinced I was suppose to stay here and missions was something other people do.”
Still, the Lord had big plans in store for them.
The happy newlyweds received a phone call asking them to lead a mission trip to Africa. Mary was on board but Brandon knew he needed to pray about the decision. After receiving guidance from his parents, mentors, and wife, he realized he could be missing out on an incredible opportunity if he didn’t go. The team spent two weeks sharing the Gospel, teaching children, and encouraging other missionaries. As the team started to pack up to leave for home, Brandon turned to his wife.
“I don’t want to leave,” he said. He was ready to become a missionary.
Starting the mission as a couple
After a couple months of prayer, the couple found themselves forsaking the lifestyles they had known for 22 years and packing all their belongings to go to Senegal, Africa. This city speaks mostly French and is the last continent to see the sunrise and sunset. There they started working at International Dakar Academy, which is a growing school that represents 20 countries and it contains ready-trained and certified teachers to expand students’ learning process.
From the support of her husband and the academy’s funding, Mary created the school’s medical program and became the first school nurse. She also coaches varsity soccer for the girls and some intermediate programs. Brandon found his calling as a teacher at the Academy. He now instructs students in chemistry, earth science, physical science, and life science.
One of their greatest joys has been learning how to work together and become unified in their mission in Africa, by trusting in both each other and God. They love mentoring high school students together; participating in intramural activities with students, staff, and parents; and hosting students for afternoon hangouts and evening meals.
“Working together has been a blessing and growing experience,” says Brandon. “Without the support of my wife, this mission may have never happened.”
How God has used them on the mission field
Together, the couple has seen how God has moved in their lives. For example, this year the Pearsons met a fifth grade boy. His father is a high-ranking officer for one of the Middle East embassies located in Dakar. At the beginning of the year, the boy’s Muslim parents were very opposed to him taking Bible classes and attending chapel. The Pearsons felt this one boy heavy on their heart and began to pray for him.
As the year went on, they noticed a positive change in the boy’s behavior and attitude. The mom even started calling his teachers asking for prayers. By the end of the year, the parents gave their son permission to become a Christian and he accepted Christ!
The Pearsons found that Dakar Academy provides a gateway for loving others and sharing the Gospel of Christ with students. It also provides a way for them to be unified as a couple. God hasn’t just been involved by surrounding the Pearsons relationship; He has also used their relationship to grow His Kingdom.
“In my time at Crown to now, I have learned God is always faithful,” says Mary. “It doesn’t matter if it is money, growing us deeper to Him, or providing for us — God is always here.”