I grew up in Wheaton, IL – home to Wheaton College, Tyndale House Publishers, Youth for Christ, various missions organizations, and countless churches. It was a great place to grow up, where family ties were strong and faith was a part of the community’s fabric.
My love of sports, drama and music were all cultivated during high school. My love for God was also cultivated during that time. Having grown up in church, I still sensed something key was missing from my life. During a high school choir trip to Canada my Sophomore year, at a sidewalk cafe in Quebec, I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I pursued a business degree at the University of Illinois and worked in the health care and technology industries for eight years until God called us to missions. After that call, God led me to pursue a degree in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Among God’s many blessings has been the privilege to marry a most remarkable woman, who is also my best friend and companion in ministry and life. I am still amazed by God’s goodness – I was only twenty years old when we married – what guy is capable of choosing well a life’s mate at 20 years of age?!? It’s been a great ride with this amazing woman, and the three daughters and nine grandkids with whom God further blessed us. God is good!
My wife and I served the Lord for fourteen years in Africa, mostly in Ethiopia, but also in Kenya and Uganda. We met some of the most amazing Christians during these years – both among our missionary colleagues and among Ethiopian, Kenyan and Ugandan Christians. It was during these years we found our faith regularly humbled by the sacrifice and servanthood of our African brothers and sisters in Christ.
I will share a brief story (though I could share hundreds!) here to illustrate the faith of African believers in Christ. Our mission organization hosted a conference called “Faith and Religion in Ethiopia”. Many western missionaries and Ethiopian Christians attended. Ethiopian after Ethiopian shared of the persecution they faced from the communist government, from Muslims who made up approximately 50% of the population at the time, and from the Coptic Church, whose members some considered our “brothers in Christ”. The persecution Ethiopian Christians faced took many forms: denial of education and work, shunning by family and community, torture, imprisonment. As the stories of these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ poured out, I found myself asking God when this persecution and suffering would end. As though he sensed my thoughts, one Ethiopian believer told us, “Do not pray that God would take away our persecution. For through the blood of the martyrs the church in Ethiopia grows. You see, we are living as the Christians did in the Book of Acts!” I was awestruck and humbled by their faith.
Upon returning to the U.S. from our years in Africa, God led me back into the business world. After a number of years working again in technology and health care, God once more opened a door into full-time ministry as a chaplain. The blog posts you will read here are a mix of the experiences and opportunities with which God has blessed me and the great people I have served among through the years. I hope somehow these posts will be a blessing to you.