By Kate Kirby
My first encounter with Andy Rosson was in his dental chair about three years ago. I was new to town, new to publishing the newspaper and on a tight deadline for my first Fall Sports Preview when my cheek swelled up and I suffered an abscessed tooth, infection and all. Dr. Rosson was kind, efficient and positive. He fixed me up, treated the infection, pulled the tooth and just like that, I had a dentist again.
By my next visit, he had treated my husband Andrew and they became fast friends. During my visit, all Dr. Rosson could talk about was how ‘cool’ my husband was and how he really enjoyed getting to know him. I kept thinking, “Yeah, I know he’s cool. That’s why I married him – now how about focusing on me.” I didn’t realize that Dr. Rosson was focused on me. Just as he was with all his patients, He was focused on more than the health of my teeth, he was concerned about the health of my soul.
We had casual positive conversations about God and The Church and he knew our congregation at Holly Lake Church of Christ pretty well. Not only was he dentist to a great number of us, he grew up in a similar congregation. It was through that same seemingly casual conversation while treating his patients that he ministered to the greater Hawkins community.
We often said, “We should get together and BBQ or go to dinner sometime.” But as with most potential friendships, we never did. Not until last week when we were invited over to the Rosson’s home for ice cream and to “talk about some stuff.”
Andrew (Kirby) and I didn’t know what to expect. Earlier that week, we received a call from Dr. Rosson’s office telling us that Rosson had sold his practice and the new dentist was having a baby, but they would get back to us with changes on their ads in the newspaper and monthly mailer.
So, as we drove the short distance from our home to theirs, we contemplated what they wanted to share with us. We knew we liked them. We knew Andy was great dentist and a pilot, and that Meg was an accomplished violinist and children’s’ Pastor. We knew Andy sold his practice and that’s all we knew.
We speculated what we might discuss over ice cream. Maybe Meg wanted to play a concert at the Big Sandy Music Hall (our latest business venture). Maybe they wanted us to invest in some new airplane club. Whatever it was, we knew Andy was not going to be our dentist anymore, and it was a long time coming for us to ‘hang out’ as friends. We were glad to be invited over.
When we arrived, there were eight kids playing in the living room and another couple was there. We loved meeting them and chatting about the kids, music, careers, the stuff you talk about when you get to know somebody. For about an hour, no one said anything about the sale of the dental practice. The other couple left with their five children and the three Rosson kids retired to a different room to read or play games.
That’s when we found out. Andy and Meg are going back to the mission fields. But not just any mission fields, the ones no car can drive to – the ones you have to fly into. They were going to the most remote places on earth, where they don’t have dentists and most have not heard the Gospel.
The Rossons were going where very few, if any, Christians had gone before. Who were these mild-mannered, patient, kind people? They were both really nice and really cool, but quiet. They were the Star Trek of Missionaries. Who knew they were Spock and Uhura (but with three kids), going out to help civilizations that would otherwise perish – ready to go out there and do extremely hard work for The Lord. They were going out there, where they is no safety net – and in a plane, no less. WOW!
This idea of aviation missionaries is not new. Shortly after the second world, pilots started taking missionaries and cargo into areas virtually inaccessible on foot. Today, mission aviation is a valuable tool that can replace a 3-day trek on foot through dangerous jungle with a half-hour flight. Andy’s aviation abilities combined with his dentistry skills and Meg’s nursing skills make a huge opportunity for the Rosson family to serve in many parts of the world.
We talked about their journey. It starts with a year in Michigan where Andy will learn how to fix his plane. Because, you know, if his plane breaks in the middle of wherever they are, they can’t just call a guy. He has to be mechanic and pilot. After that, they don’t know. They hope for Papua New Guinea, maybe into Africa or Central America. When they tell you about it, their eyes light up. They are excited to go where no one goes. They are exited to be a vehicle to do good works and give all the glory to God – no matter where they go.
No strangers to mission work, Andy and Meg met while serving with Mercy Ships in 2004. They moved to Texas and married in 2005. Andy grew his dental practice from the ground up and Meg worked as a nurse. They added three children (James, Rachel and Cate) to their family while in Hawkins. Andy became a pilot and flight instructor while Meg studied at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Andy and Meg attended Summit Heights Fellowship with their three children. Summit Heights is a non-denominational congregation near Holly Lake with lots of kids. Meg served as Preschool Pastor at the congregation and before they knew it, ten years had passed.
“We got really comfortable.” said Andy. “We got too comfortable, and that’s when God steps in.” “We’ve wanted to return to the mission fields for a while, but the circumstances were just not right until now.” said Andy.
The Dentist that purchased Dr. Rosson’s Practice is a young man with a family that is excited to build on what Andy started (we’ll introduce you to Dr. Ryan Allison later, but for now, back to the Rosson family).
Andy and Meg were honored for their service at Summit Heights Sunday, August 14th as the congregation offered prayers and blessings for their journey. The Rosson Family has set up a website with a blog in order to keep in contact. You can also contribute to their ministry financially and/or with prayers on the website – rossonfamily.com
We finished our cake and ice cream, and prayed together. We prayed for their health and success. They prayed for us. We laughed together about all the happenings of the past few years. We cried for the friendship that we didn’t take the time to develop while living in the same town. But through Christ, we are not strangers, but brothers and sisters who feel the connection that God wants us to have. Through Him, we have hope that we will see each other again, not just here on earth as we try to help them in their mission, but in our heavenly home, when the time comes.
Andy shared this thought right before we left that night, “We do not know where the Lord will take us from there (Michigan), but we’re ready for whatever He has in store for us.” We know they are ready. We thank them for their years of service to our community and wish them health, happiness and prosperity on their Journey.