Whether they are sitting in the park, shopping at a store, or working in a ministry outreach through Bridge Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, when people see missionaries Margot and Alicia Rea together, suddenly walls come down, conversations ensue, and connections are made — it seems it’s just part of the blessing of being identical twins.
“Identical twins are already fascinating to many people,” Alicia says, “but seeing adult twins together is really unusual. And for whatever reason, when people see us together, they don’t feel intimidated — I guess we seem approachable — and they just come up to us and start talking and asking questions.”
Of course, with their friendly dispositions and easy (not to mention, remarkably similar) laughter that brings reflective smiles and curiosity to strangers’ faces, it all adds up to open doors any missionary would appreciate!
“As Scripture talks about the ’Sons of Thunder,’ my wife, Angela, called Margo and Alicia Rea ‘the daughters of lightning,’” says Paul Trementozzi, AGWM Europe regional director. “Of course, we said it in jest, but the truth is the Rea sisters are bubbling with passion and Spirit-anointed joy that is infectious.”
Margot and Alicia, who are now 42, have a lifetime of serving Christ in their history. Their grandfathers were both ministers and their parents made sure the family faithfully attended AG churches wherever they lived, though the girls spent most of their teen years in Oregon.
It was no big surprise that the girls decided to attend Northwest University in relatively nearby Kirkland, Washington, when they graduated high school, as both had a heart for ministry.
Yet as siblings do, even identical twins, there comes a time when jobs, callings, and locations diverge . . . well, for Margot and Alicia, at least the locations diverged slightly. For a bit.
Upon graduating from college, Margot became an associate pastor at First Assembly in Casper, Wyoming, while Alicia started out as a youth pastor in Oregon, before accepting a position about 150 miles south of Casper in Laramie, Wyoming, also as an associate pastor. While serving in Casper, Margot was elected district youth director, where she served for seven years, while continuing to pastor. Then Alicia started working for the district superintendent at the Wyoming District Council office in (you guessed it) Casper.
But in 2014, thousands of miles of separation became a reality. Margot knew God was calling her to missions, but she wasn’t sure where.
“I had been on a lot of missions trips before,” Margot says, “but then I began going through available missionary associate (MA) assignments, where missionaries needed help. The Holy Spirit drew me to Dave and Julie Goldschmidt who were ministering in Scotland. We started communicating, and over a three- or four-month period, we got to know each other, and the Holy Spirit just kept opening things and leading me to Scotland.”
For those unfamiliar, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and roughly 4,300 miles and seven time zones from Casper, Wyoming. It was a new experience for Margot and Alicia. But for the next three years, as Alicia worked for the Wyoming district, Margot became accustomed to life as an MA in Edinburgh, Scotland, working with the Goldschmidts.
WELCOME TO SCOTLAND
When people think about Scotland, they may envision kilts, bagpipes, or even golf courses — as that’s where the modern game of golf was born. Of course, then there is always the Loch Ness monster.
However, what many may not realize is that Scotland is also made up of 790 to 900 (sources vary) islands, has only six officially recognized cities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, and Stirling), is home to more than 1,500 castles (from ruins to palatial residences), has a waterfall (Eas a’ Chual Aluinn) three times the height of Niagara Falls, and is about the size of South Carolina. But something anyone who has ever visited Scotland knows, it’s often overcast and it rains — a lot. Even the driest parts of the country have rain on average 130 days of the year (the wettest parts, over 250 days a year).
As Margot grew to fall in love with Scotland, Alicia continued her ministry in Casper. However, the Holy Spirit was definitely working on a reunion. During a missions trip to Ireland, Alicia invited Margot to meet her for coffee. As Ireland is only an hour’s flight from Edinburgh (for as little as $80 roundtrip), it didn’t take much convincing.
“Unlike Margot, I’ve had a specific calling to the United Kingdom for years,” Alicia explains. “However, I didn’t feel like it was God’s timing . . . up until that point.”
As they sat together, each with their own and, not surprisingly, the same thoughts, they looked at each other and simply said together, “Why not?”
“We decided to start the process of becoming missionaries,” Alicia says. “We decided that if we were ever told ‘no,’ that might be a sign for us to reconsider. But we filled out our applications and went through everything, and we were never told ‘no,’ so now we’re here!”
It took Margot and Alicia nearly twice as long to get to the field as many missionaries, as even though they were going together, they still needed to raise separate budgets. The pandemic also significantly added to the challenge.
However, in March the pair arrived in Edinburgh, ready to serve. Margot, of course, had a far easier transition; Alicia still had to learn the culture and how to interpret it.
“They speak English in Scotland, but when you add in the accent, dialect (such as Gaelic and Scots terms mixed into the vocabulary), and slang, people can sometimes be difficult to understand, especially if they’re wearing a mask,” Alicia says with a laugh.
Margot and Alicia are finding opportunities through their work with the church and volunteering outside of the church to build relationships with the people they serve as well as those they serve with in community events.
But ministry isn’t easy in Scotland as the society is highly secular, as most people look to themselves for the answers; God doesn’t figure into any part of most people’s lives or thoughts. Yet through the building of relationships over time, curiosity is being sparked and questions about faith are being raised.
“One of the biggest lessons God continues to teach us is His provision,” Margot says. “God has opened doors and given us a real love for this place. Just walking around and seeing the sadness people have makes me so thankful to have been given the opportunity to love on these people.”
“I’ve learned a lot about myself and how faithful God is, not just financially, but in relationships, including relationship with Him,” Alicia says. “God has just been so real, so faithful, and so true!”
“Scotland has new hope,” Trementozzi states, “because of Margot and Alicia’s willingness to go!”
Aside from ministry, Margot and Alicia have the dynamics of being identical twins. When asked about having similar thoughts, reactions, and even knowing how each other feels — they laugh.
“It’s true!” Alicia says as both women break out in duplicate laughter. “We’ve noticed it so much more as we’ve lived apart for these years, and now that we’re living together again, it’s so much more noticeable. I know when Margot is upset or not without even talking to her, even if she’s across town.”
“Well, we creep each out sometimes — we’re so the same — and we’re the ones living it,” Margot adds with infectious laughter.
Of course, the mistaken identity issue is common. Margot admits that she’s been called “Alicia” as many times as she’s been called by her own name.
“On a couple of occasions, I have had a whole conversation with someone calling me Alicia, and me not being able to politely correct them,” she says, laughing. “So, I just pretend to be her and then call Alicia and let her know who it was and what was said.”
From wearing the same colors and styles of clothing to having the same thoughts and reactions without consulting each other (not to mention sounding alike), Margot and Alicia also have another thing they share — the undeniable call of God upon their lives to reach the lost of Scotland for Christ!