Could you share your calling and personal testimony?
I was raised in church and a christian home. My family and I attended Landmark Baptist Temple in Cincinnatti, Ohio under Pastor John Rawlings. On one particular Sunday in 1980, I was in Sunday School and the teacher was talking about Heaven and how to get there. As a child, I wanted to know the way into Heaven, but more than just wanting to go to Heaven, I understood that day that I needed a Savior. On our way home I didn’t say much but thought about what was taught that day in Sunday School. When I got home I started to ask my dad the questions that were going through my mind. How do you get to Heaven? Why do I need to be saved? He explained to me what salvation was, that it was a gift from God and how we needed that gift in order to know Him more and live with Him for all eternity. I realized I was a sinner and I needed a Savior at that very moment. My father asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus into my life. I said yes. Right there in his bedroom I got down on my knees and confessed to Jesus that I was a sinner and needed Him to come into my life and be my Savior. I followed the Lord in obediance in baptism a few weeks later.
Call to Ministry:
As a teenager I attended First Baptist Church of Monroe, Ohio. It was at a winter camp in 1991 when on the final night I felt such a burden on my life to surrender my life to God to do whatever He wanted me to do. At the end of the service I went forward with my pastor and gave God my life to do whatever He wanted me to do. I knew at that moment He was calling me into full-time ministry. After I graduated High School I enrolled at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO and graduated with a B.S. in Pastoral Studies and Bible. While attending BBC, my heart grew for missions. I was willing to help with any mission but was unwilling to go myself. While on staff as a youth pastor, I was able to go on a missions trip to Merida, Mexico. It was there that the seed in my heart began to soften and start to bloom for missions. In 2002 at a BBFI national meeting, a video was played about the field of Ethiopia. God used many people and this video to capture my heart. The missionary in the video mentioned that at 61 he was the youngest missionary in Ethiopia. For the next few years I wrestled with God to know His will for my life in the area of missions. I knew what He wanted to do, but I was unwilling. In 2007, I gave my total life over to Him and surrendered to the people of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I have no regrets to what God has done with me and what He will do. I am confident in the call He has laid on my heart and I am willing to go.
I was also raised in a Christian family that attended church regularly in Lincoln, Nebraska. I made a profession of faith at home with my dad when I was five years old. However, as I grew up, it bothered me that I couldn’t really remember anything about that experience. But I was embarrassed to speak up about my doubts. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college at BaptistBibleCollege that I made sure that my salvation was secure and accepted Christ as my Savior. I was baptized shortly after and know for sure where my destiny lies.
Call to ministry:
I loved going to church. I loved everything about being at church. I was outspoken at my public school about my beliefs. I really felt that God wanted me to be involved in some way in ministry. I really loved when the missionaries came to church. Especially the missionaries from anywhere in Africa. I would cry every time I saw the slides of the children. My dream was to someday travel to Africa. At church camp while a teenager, I surrendered my life to full time service in any area God led me to. We have worked with teens, children and adults, but missions has always been in the back of our minds. I believe preparing us for our ministry in Ethiopia. But it just wasn’t the right time yet. When Dwayne came home and said we are going to Ethiopia full-time, I was ecstatic. God was leading us to the place I had always loved. It felt like our calling was fulfilled.