Having met through the ROTC program at North Carolina State University and married in 2002, Neal and Myra Manning launched out together in the Raleigh area. Both had stimulating careers – Neal in information technology and information systems and Myra as a mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry. Kids eventually entered the picture, and the couple also enjoyed ministering through their local church in the nearby community of Fuquay-Varina.
Smooth sailing ahead. But in late 2016, the couple unexpectedly hit stormy weather. They found themselves needing to trust the Lord through a journey over choppy waters – and navigating through the unknown.
“As a family we always wanted to do what is pleasing to God according to the gifts and circumstances he gave us,” Neal explained. “I had been serving in our church, first as a deacon, then as an elder and home-group leader. Just as I was growing comfortable in that role, things upended.”
Neal’s job at a farm credit bank was eliminated. Since Myra could work remotely, the two decided to move to Hawaii for a few years. They sold everything by February 2017, and two days after the house closing, Neal was on a plane. The family joined him two weeks later.
But their plans quickly and painfully changed.
“Just as we arrived, the projects dried up, so neither of us had income,” Neal said. “Our two-year plan turned into a four-month family sabbatical.”
Neal and Myra returned home to Fuquay wondering what to do. As they prayed and sought counsel, God’s direction burst through the fog. They discovered he was rerouting them.
“Through a series of further job losses, I wanted to find something that could meld my technical IT skills with my desire to minister to the church,” Neal said. “I wanted to do something that mattered and not simply look for the next career move.”
Neal and Myra remembered a talk by Tyler and Amy Mullis, missionaries with TWR. Tyler serves in TWR’s IT/IS department – an immediate connection for Neal. And Amy, appropriately enough, serves on the ministry’s Human Resources team.
“We checked into it and loved the technical opportunity and the discipleship and church aspect of ministry,” Neal said. “One attractive aspect about TWR for me is how I could use my 12-plus years of professional skills and apply them to kingdom work.”
He added: “All legitimate work is sacred regardless of your setting, but being able to use those years of training for a direct impact on our call to make disciples is wonderful. Working as a professional and desiring to teach others has allowed me to relate and communicate to others in a way that honors God and equips them for ministry.”
God has opened a door for Neal to work and minister through TWR at its international office in Cary, North Carolina. His role is crystalizing, and he can’t wait to dive headlong into his work. “It’s neat to think that the dry, technical monotony of computer work can have a lasting and direct impact on fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples,” he said.
Myra affirms Neal’s mission. “The IT department in the Cary office supports all the transmitting sites around the world,” she said. “Without IT, there would be no broadcasts.”
Their four children also support Dad’s new direction. “They think it’s neat to be missionaries,” Neal said.
Neal is now developing a team of ministry support partners. If you would like to pray for and financially contribute to Neal – and get him on the field – you can connect with him at his TWR home page!