For as long as I can remember, my parents had always brought me to church growing up. I would go with them to nearly every Sunday service, attend youth group events during the week, was involved with small groups, and went to my fair share of camps and retreats over the years. When people would ask how long I’ve been a Christian, confused, I would reply, “Well, my whole life I guess…I grew up in the church.” It wasn’t until half way through high school that I realized I didn’t actually know what I believed, and I wasn’t really sure I ever was a Christian.
I began to dig. I was frustrated with the gap between what I was being taught in the church and following Jesus compared to what Jesus says about following Him, and reading about the lives of His disciples found throughout Scripture. Months of reading, questioning, and wrestling with God led me to a particular evening where I felt His presence very clearly. After years of simply parroting a faith I didn’t truly grasp, it was then that I finally felt I came to an understanding of the Gospel and of following Jesus that led me to trust in Him that evening.
Meanwhile, Michael was going through a similar period of frustrations and processing as well. Having also grown up in the church and raised in a Christian home his whole life, he had always believed in Christ, but his understanding of Jesus and the church was shallow. After spending some time in Jamaica on a missions trip and being discipled by a good friend, his understanding of the Gospel shifted dramatically. It wasn’t until the end of high school that he really understood what it meant to follow Christ, and began to trust in Him.
Throughout our dating relationship, we had the opportunity to serve overseas together multiple times. Near the end of one of those trips, we spent a lot of time in conversation & prayer about what the next steps might look like, both vocationally and relationally. After much thought, we applied and were accepted into a three month Tribal Church Planting Internship with Ethnos360 (formerly known as New Tribes Mission) in Papua New Guinea, in the fall of 2014.
What began as merely a vision trip led to the Lord making it really clear to both of us that serving in Papua New Guinea as tribal church planters was what He was calling us to. We both graduated from undergraduate studies in the Spring of 2016 (Michael from Biola University and myself from California Baptist University), got married that July, and finished 2 years of Missionary Training Program with Ethnos360 in April of 2019.
We are currently in a transitional period as we prepare to move our family overseas to Papua New Guinea. Our hope is to move full time to PNG in January of 2020 and work among an unreached and unengaged people group that has yet to hear God’s word in their own native tongue. We believe God desires for people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to hear and read His word in their own language, and our passion is to play a small role in God’s global mission to reach all people for His glory.