A couple of years ago God was on a mission to bring Kevin and I together with two very special people, Matt and Nikki Newbauer. We met, and have been family ever since. Now, Matt and Nikki moved away *insert sad tears here*, but we are still family. A few months back, Nikki began sharing with me the desire God had placed in her heart. My friend Nikki has a heart for women, she is probably one of the strongest women-of-faith that I have ever met. So when she told me that God was moving she and Matt to do something about the child trafficking in India, it really came as no surprise. We spent close to an hour on the phone that day as she told me the history of this call, and all the events leading up to she and Matt just KNOWING this is what they were going to do. So, they stepped out on faith alone and will be taking a trip to India in September, knowing that God will provide for their needs, and guide them in the ways to go in doing His work in India.
I knew I had to do something to help, so a few weeks ago I asked her if I could interview her here. She responded in her best southern belle voice (because she is from the south, not because we just like to talk like that to each other… I mean, we do and all… but that is just really how she speaks… because, you know, that’s where she grew up.) anyways… she said “I’d love to y’all” (Ok, maybe she didn’t say the y’all part, but I just love the word, and I am writing this story, so there).
So… without further ado – here is Nikki:
Hey Nik, please introduce yourself to the Marcaritaville Readers… What are 5 things we should know about you?
We are Matt and Nikki Newbauer!
Matt and Nikki
1) We met in Birmingham, England on August 30th, 2006 while beginning a Bachelor of Theology Degree…and got married exactly three years later on August 29th, 2009!
2) We met the beautiful Marcy and her husband Kevin in 2009 while attending a small Bible study group. We were honest one week when we told the group that we needed friends, and Marcy and Kevin agreed to hand out with us!
3) We currently live the greater Washington DC area. Matt is a Police Officer and Nikki is currently a full-time student with Regent University
4) Matt enjoys all things outdoors and adventurous, as well as playing the piano
5) Nikki has a passion for creative writing, drinking hot cups of tea and loves to explore places she’s never been to before.
Marcy: When did you first feel the pull to India, and why?
Nikki: Our calling to India is something that has been years in the making. Starting in 2004 when Matt was working with YWAM in Seattle and preparing for a missions trip to Tibet, he felt like God showed him that he would go to India one day, following God’s calling on his life to fulfill his life verse of Isaiah 61, “To preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to release those in captivity…”. Matt kept this calling to himself for years. He eventually went to England where he met Nikki in 2006. About a month after he met Nikki, they were praying about something unrelated and Matt felt like God spoke to him again about India. He took a piece of paper, wrote down a note and passed it to Nikki. “You are supposed to go to India with me. Think and pray about it; and look at this note often”. He dated it and gave it to her. Imagine Nikki’s surprise when this boy she hardly even knew passed her a note like that! Luckily for both of us, we began dating about a year later and got married. After this, it was not mentioned again until recently.
It is no secret that the past three years of our lives have been very difficult. Shortly before we got married, Nikki began to feel ill. At first she thought she had a cold that wouldn’t go away. Then she thought she had bad allergies. Eventually, she became so exhausted and ill that it was difficult to work. Nikki and Matt got married in August 2009 and she moved to New Hampshire with him. Eventually, Nikki’s health worsened and she could not work regularly anymore. She began to have cognitive impairments, muscle weakness and dizziness almost all of the time. This continues to this day. In November 2009, Nikki unexpectedly lost her father at 43 years old. This brought immense pain as her relationship with her father was not conventional and they had just only reinstated their relationship about 5 years prior. Due to finances, Nikki had to attend the funeral without Matt.
Over the next two years, Nikki’s health became the focus of her and Matt’s lives. They visited over a dozen specialists and none of them could give her a diagnosis. She actually was hospitalized several times. Matt was excelling in his job as a police officer and actually was given a position within domestic and family violence investigations. This meant that Matt worked A LOT and Nikki, who eventually could not work anymore, was home alone much of the time. One time when Matt was at work, Nikki was in need of immediate medical assistance so she called Marcy who brought her to the hospital and stayed by her side the whole time. Marcy and her family were a rock for Matt and Nikki.
In April 2011, Matt found out that his mother, whom he had just reconciled with after a long period of no contact, ended her life. Matt and his sister had to go to Charleston, SC and deal with all of the arrangements, actually having to pay for the funeral. Clearly, both Matt and Nikki were exhausted mentally and spiritually after all of this. Matt eventually found a job in the Washington DC area and he took it to be closer to both Nikki and Matt’s family. We moved in June 2011 and ironically Matt’s family moved away to Georgia the same week they moved to Virginia!
We felt like being here in this area, with a new job and new place, was almost like rest for us. Matt began working for a reputable police department and Nikki was able to FINALLY receive a diagnosis for her illness- Primary Sjogren’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder. Nikki’s health improved slightly, but both she and Matt were still at a point of physical exhaustion and need help. We began attending a church in the area, The Life Church DC, and were able to be connected to good influences that lifted us up. In February 2012, we visited some friends in the Virginia Beach area. While there, Nikki was approached by Matt’s friend Jonathan who began to pray with her and tell her things that Nikki hadn’t told anyone. Nikki had an awesome experience with God where she felt like God came in and healed many of her spiritual wounds regarding her father, her health and her future. Matt was so happy for her, but did not share in the healing. We returned home, and over a period of two weeks felt like he was wrestling with God- wrestling to give up hurt and disappointment, and to accept God’s direction over his life. Eventually Matt gave in to God’s persistent and patient call for healing, and Matt was able to experience the healing that had eluded him for years. In this healing, God reminded him of the time He spoke to Matt about India. Matt immediately felt like God was saying, “ Push the doors. See what opens.” Matt shared this with Nikki, who confirmed this with what she was feeling in her spirit and they decided to e-mail a friend in India who runs an awesome ministry called Crosspoint of India.
Me: What will your trip in September look like?
Nik: Through our contact with Crosspoint of India, we were invited to come visit the ministry, assist with their efforts and learn more about the culture and people we feel called to. Nikki has been having dreams of people and places that she has never been to. Nikki specifically will be using her gift of creative writing to interview the women being assisted by the ministry and tell their stories. Matt will assist with the Bible college and both Matt and Nikki will help with the orphanage. Matt and Nikki’s calling to India is guided by Isaiah 61. Both Matt and Nikki feel specifically called to fight injustice and specifically human sex trafficking. Through our trip to India and in addition to assisting this Crosspoint of India, we are in contact with ministries and organizations who specifically combat human trafficking and have an opportunity to meet them. This trip, in addition to doing missions work, is to explore the avenues for a specific long-term commitment. This is what we feel God calling us to and many contacts need to done in person. We hope to come home with a clear direction for our goal of being missionaries to India with the mission of combating human trafficking and caring for those rescued from that lifestyle. We are still believing for Nikki’s full physical healing and for doors to ministries to be open. We feel God’s call get stronger and louder every day. We are so excited to visit India and see where we feel will be our future “home”.
Thanks Matt and Nikki!
Matt and Nikki have a fabulous Blog, Rebuild the Ruins, detailing their preparations for the trip, giving information on India, sharing their hearts, and they will blog from India once they ar there.
If you feel led to donate to Matt and Nikki to help with their costs, follow the instructions in this post , all donations are tax deductible and appreciated.
Stay tuned for Part II of the interview next week.