From the time I was young, God has steered my life in such a way to prepare me for where I am at now and where I am going in the future. I grew up in Gary, Indiana, one of maybe 3 white children in my elementary school. My best friends were African-American. When I was around 10 years old, my oldest brother, Joshua, went on a short-term mission’s trip to Panama, and later went to Honduras. Being very close with my oldest brother, I also wanted to take part in missions. At the age of 12, I was able to be part of a short-term mission’s trip to Mexico with my church youth group. This started a burning in my heart for the world. Every summer after that, I participated in a short-term mission to a variety of countries and continents. In 2000, I had my first opportunity to go to Africa. When I had signed up to go on a trip that summer, I left the destination open and said for Missions’ leadership to place me where I was needed. Tanzania, East Africa became my destination. Being surrounded by Africans almost felt normal having grown up as a minority where I lived. My heart was hooked! No other nation up to that point had as strong a hold.
Upon graduating from high school, I entered an internship program at my church where I worked with a local mission’s organization, Fuel International, and began working on a degree in Missions through Global University. During this time, I learned a lot about the many different aspects of missions. I was able to take part in so many different facets of the ministry – from helping set-up mission’s banquets, to getting youth and adults through the acceptance process and on the mission field, to working with the Director of Fuel International as his secretary. I was very blessed to be a part of a church that had a heart for missions. A few years before this, our church had adopted an unreached/priority people group in Tanzania. I was able to take part in many trips to Tanzania to minister to this people group. In 2003, we saw God work a miracle in the hearts of this people and an indigenous church was started among this group. From this, we felt the Lord leading us to send a long term team over to see an indigenous church planting movement begin among the rest of the priority people groups in Tanzania. As soon as I heard of the opportunity, my heart jumped. From there, I began to train for the possibility of going to Tanzania for a three year term. I went through various training programs with Calvary International and AIMS. After completion of my training, I went before the leadership in our church and received the approval to become a member of our 3 year mission team in Tanzania, East Africa. God opened every door needed for me to go.
In January of 2005, a team of seven traveled to Tanzania for a 3 month internship to get further prepared for a long term mission. From there, our team’s preparation was finalized and in September of the same year, our five member team returned to begin our 3 year commitment. 3 years, 31 people groups, a nation changed!
In the course of our three year commitment we saw 13 people groups adopted by 13 partnership in 3 different regions of Tanzania. God raised up men and women of God who were and continue to be willing to partner across denominations for the purpose of seeing people groups in their regions impacted and transformed by relationship with Jesus Christ. In September of 2008 we turned over leadership of further trainings to our national partners.
From the time I began the process to move to Tanzania I knew that the first three years here were to be preparation for what was to come next. On the anniversary of our third year in Tanzania and the finishing of our commitment in Tanzania God opened the door for me to work with Pamoja Ministries. Continuing with the work of enabling the body of Christ in Africa, I am working with Pamoja in the area of Marketing and Distribution. We are discipling cultures through media!