I was raised in the Pittsburgh area in a church-going, Catholic family. I lacked spiritual conviction and walked away from the faith during my young adult years. During my time in the U.S. Army overseas, I felt the Lord calling me closer to Him and I began to personally investigate the claims of Christ. I was finally convicted of my need for a personal Savior to solve my sin problem at a Michael W. Smith concert in 2002. At the age of 28, I accepted the free gift of salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My new found faith in Christ brought obvious changes and together with my wife, we began attending a United Methodist Church, the church my wife grew up in. Together we served as youth group leaders and I was certified as a Lay Speaker. In 2010, I felt the call to move to Wilmington, North Carolina and through much prayer and petition, we heeded the call and uprooted our family, now with three kids including a two month old, out of my wife’s hometown to a place 700 miles away where we didn’t know a soul. We quickly found Wilmington Christian Academy and the supporting church, Grace Baptist. It was there our faith continued to mature. We enjoyed meeting visiting missionaries and attended our first missions week. It was during one of these Sunday evening services for a furloughed missionary that we began to consider that the Lord might be calling us to the mission field. We began praying about it and the Lord’s answer became clear: he was calling us to go. Soon after, I enrolled at Liberty School of Divinity in a Masters of Theological Studies program to build the biblical foundation necessary to be the best leader in the field I could be. I have been baptized by immersion making a public profession of my faith in Christ. I am gaining additional practical experience, serving as a deacon at my home church and teaching Sunday school classes, this year assisting with the college aged class. I am studying for ordination, which I am targeting for the Spring or Summer of 2016. I am excited about what the Lord has laid out before me regarding the opportunity to serve as a cross-cultural missionary to South Africa and it’s a great feeling to know the Lord uniquely crafted me in eternity past for this important responsibility.
I was saved at revival services at my home church in rural Pennsylvania at the age of 14. I graduated with a BS in Nursing and my medical background has proved invaluable in our missionary home. When Zane was saved in the early part of our marriage, I rededicated my life to the Lord. I understand the importance of discipleship and I have a desire to mentor others as I have been mentored over the past several years. I’m thankful to be able to use my skills and abilities in music to serve the Lord, playing piano, violin and harp. I continue to focus my efforts on supporting my husband and raising my family in a Godly home.
One night when I was six, my mom and I were reading a bedtime story, when I started talking to her about the wide and narrow roads of life. She was amazed at my knowledge and started making conversation about what exactly it meant to follow the narrow path. At that point I learned that the wide road led to eternal damnation in Hell. I was scared, so I wanted to get saved for the wrong reason: not because Jesus’ perfect blood was shed on a cross for me, but because I don’t want to go to Hell. All throughout school the following years I felt like something was missing. I had all I wanted: friends, an electronic device, and good parents. A few years later, my family wanted to move to the Carolinas. I was not very pliable. I had created a bond between me and my grandparents and my great-grandparents so tight that I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without them. In August of 2010, my parents packed a U-haul and headed down to our new home in Leland, NC. It was my third grade year when we moved. There was a whole lot of change: church, school, people, and even my parents. School made a big impact in my prelude to accepting Christ. Many people saw me as a Christian (even I did at one point). About 3/4 through the school year, the Galkin Evangelistic team rolled into town to give needy souls the Truth of Christ. They were there for a week. Every day I kept looking at people that I hoped would get saved, but it didn’t occur to me that I needed to look at my heart before others. During the invitation I went to the back and a young lady told me about what Jesus did for me 2000 years ago. I was so convicted I started crying and realized that I couldn’t live without Jesus. I prayed to the Father that He would save me and stay with me for my entire life. At that moment my life changed forever. I felt different and refreshed that I was now a child of the King. Ever since, I have learned and savored so much Biblical doctrine. I always have room to learn and I hope that I will continue to seek and learn about the mysteries of God’s Ultimate Will.
Emily has always asked excellent questions concerning the gospel of Jesus after a Sunday School lesson or after reading a Bible story. She was greatly impacted by a trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky in November 2013 and upon return, her questions and the subsequent answers led her to a point where she expressed a desire to ask Jesus to be her Savior at bedtime prayers one evening. Since that day, I have seen the new creature she has become, more patient and loving and less of a wild child. She is doing great in school, including an amazing ability to memorize Scripture. She is an excellent piano player.
Ali has asked “Jesus to be her Savior” and now it’s matter of truly grasping repentance and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. She enjoys Bible stories, learning about Jesus and she asks great probing questions as she tries to understand the Way. She has a great laugh and is normally dancing or dressing up. She too can play piano and is an excellent singer.