I grew up in a small farming community in Michigan and was saved in the little country church that my great grandfather started. After graduation from high school I enrolled at Moody Bible Institute to study for the ministry. At Moody my heart became impassioned for the World. It was there that I met and fell in love with Kris, the daughter of TEAM missionaries to Venezuela. After graduation we were married, and in 1985 went to spend a year as short-term missionaries in Venezuela. God used that experience to give me a special love for overseas ministry and a vision to see churches respond to the Great Commission.
I was raised in Venezuela by TEAM missionary parents and attended Christensen Academy, a boarding school for missionary kids (MK). My parents told me the gospel many times as a child and so at a young age I learned to follow Jesus as my Savior. After graduation from high school, I went to Moody Bible Institute where I met Mark. We shared a desire to be used by the Lord in whatever way He might call us and whether in the US or someplace else in the world. As we transitioned to work in ministry God began to give us children, 5 in all, born in 3 different countries. God has used my background as an MK to prepare me for mothering and ministering across cultures and languages.
I’ve always been passionate about being a “pastor’s wife”, about discipling women in the church, about education and particularly about TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). I love culture, grandkids, good food and good cooking, good teaching of the Word and making my family feel special.
Mark (husband), Kris (wife), Children: Anna (married to Ben +3 grand kids), Josh (married to Alissa + 2 grand kids), Beka (married to Trent), Benjamin and Sam.
After a few years of church ministry in the Boston area, we returned to Venezuela in 1989 as full-time missionaries with TEAM to serve as the campus pastor at Christiansen Academy. In 1993, we moved to Puerto Ordaz, to lead a mixed team of Venezuelan and American church planters to start a reproducing church in this growing, middle-class industrial city in eastern Venezuela. This was part of a nation-wide strategy to cover the country with reproducing churches (“Impact Churches”), encouraging local church planting and Venezuelan church involvement in foreign mission.
In 2000, we finished our ministry in the Puerto Ordaz church, leaving behind a trained leadership team and expanding movement of new churches in the city. We transitioned to Caracas to work as coaches for the Impact Church movement and to coordinate TEAM’s church planting and leadership development initiatives.
In 2004, with the Venezuela field closing, we received a call from TEAM Italy to come and help revive a struggling church-plant in the city of Venice/Mestre. This would eventually become the Centro Evangelico Il Faro church (The Lighthouse Evangelical Center). Our goal was to reach our area through a missional network of small communities of believers. We worked with a leadership team at Il Faro comprised of Italians, Africans, S Americans, Europeans and American missionaries. Il Faro was known for a strong outreach through sports and music in the Venice area.
In 2015, we transitioned to the US to take the role of Senior Director for North America and help launch and lead a brand new kind of missionary work for TEAM in the US and Canada. Prior to this time, TEAM had only ever sent missionaries from these two countries to other places in the world. Now, with the world coming to North America in unprecedented numbers, our job was to help the church see this ministry potential and get workers involved in this unique harvest. We now have 16 missionary families working in various places across the US and Canada in a ministry area designated as: NAMA, the North America Ministry Area. We are actively collaborating with likeminded agencies to get workers trained and new teams formed to reach the “New Americans” moving into our towns and neighborhoods across the continent everyday.
In 2020, with our leadership responsibilities in NAMA handed over, we are again transitioning to serve as TEAM’s Regional Member Care Coordinators. Our job will be to give shepherding, coaching and mentoring to the TEAM missionaries (numbering about 60) in 4 countries of southern Europe: Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal. We will be settling in the town of Kandern, Germany near the Black Forest Academy (BFA) a school for missionary kids where Ben and Sam will be able attend, and from where we will travel out to visit and minister to the missionaries under our care.