Ruth and I met at our alma mater, Cedarville University. We graduated in 1993 and were married that same year. God has blessed us with two girls, Celeste and Amber. Celeste was born on August 31, 2000, and Amber was born on May 27, 2003. Both girls know the Lord as their Savior, and they each prayed to receive Christ when they were 4 years old. Now after nine years on the field, they have spent more than half of their lives in Romania. As of fall 2018, Celeste is back in the US studying at Cedarville University, while Amber is a sophomore in high school.
Before coming to Romania in September 2009, we were actively involved at Tri-County Baptist Church in West Chester, Ohio (near Cincinnati) where we have been members since 1994. Throughout our time there we led and participated in many men's, women's, and children's ministries. Up until 2004, we thought that God would always want us to serve Him there. But God used short-term mission trips, mission conferences, and hosting missionaries in our home, to give us a burden for the lost and to show us that He wanted us to devote our lives and talents to fulfilling the Great Commission in another place. The verse that God used to challenge us to full-time missions is John 15:16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
I grew up in northeast Ohio and attended Christian school through 10th grade. It was during my first year in school, at the age of five, that I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior. During a mission conference at Cedarville, in 1991, I went forward to publicly state my openness to missions. A few years later, in 1997, I had the opportunity to go on my first short-term mission trip to Bolivia. That was my first time out of the country, and I was struck by the poverty and modest living conditions. Yet in this predominantly Catholic country, I saw numerous Baptist churches that had been planted and were thriving. The people loved the Lord and fervently desired to serve Him despite their modest means.
In early 2000, after finishing graduate school, I participated in my first semester of Evangelism Explosion at Tri-County Baptist. Through Evangelism Explosion I learned how to present the gospel in an effective way. It was also after receiving this training that I had the privilege to lead someone to Christ for the first time.
In 2004 once again I had the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip, this time to Belarus. I asked God to use that trip to confirm to me whether He wanted me to pursue full-time ministry, which I believe He did. That trip also gave me a burden for the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Through the process of selecting a mission agency, we learned that Baptist Mid-Missions had a strong presence in Romania. God allowed Ruth and I to take a survey trip to Romania in March 2006, which confirmed that God was indeed calling us to the country of Romania. My burden is for soul winning and men's ministries. It is my desire to see men grounded in God's Word, become leaders in their local churches, and then win others to Christ.
I grew up in a Christian home in northwest Indiana and attended church regularly. When I was 8 years old, my parents hosted a Good News Bible Club in our home. After the missionary story one day, I recognized my need for a Savior and invited Jesus into my life. I have always been thankful for the spiritual guidance from my parents and my church. Through my church youth group, the Lord led me to Cedarville University.
While at Cedarville, I spent 3 months in Quebec on a mission trip. It was a wonderful time of working in a local church and participating on evangelism teams. Upon my return home, I gave my life to the Lord for missions work. Later in college, I met Dave, and we married after graduation. We began our professional careers and later our two daughters were born.
When Dave returned from his mission trip to Belarus in 2004 and suggested that we consider becoming missionaries, we began to pray about it together. God began to show me that my years of teaching children and working with women in my church and in my neighborhood had been preparation for the mission field. God had heard me when I gave my life to him in college for missions. He had just been training me for the 16 years we lived in Ohio to reach the women and children in Romania for Him.