I was born into a christian home, in 1983, in Virginia. My dad was a pastor in Virginia and then in Illinois. I spent eleven years in Peoria, IL growing up and then another seven years in Chicago and the suburbs. Illinois feels like home.
When I was sixteen my family moved to Michigan and joined Life Action Ministries (a parachurch ministry in Niles). It was in Michigan that I finally surrendered my life to Jesus, and was able to surrender to full time ministry.
Ministry have been a huge part of my life ever since. I have taught bible studies, preached in homeless shelters, shared the gospel to men in prostitution, and traveled the US and the World to shared the good news of the Gospel to believers and unbelievers alike. Most recently I have been a Youth Pastor and now an Associate Pastor.
My journey to missions started at Moody Bible Institute. Sitting through many missions conferences and being challenged by a friend to consider missions, It was there I first prayed through it and first surrendered to the idea of ministry overseas. Fast-forward to today, the church I serve with in Augusta, Georgia takes trips to Thailand every year and in 2013 I was able to go. While in Thailand, my heart was drawn toward the people and I loved the country and the culture, but I wasn’t convinced that I would be a good fit in Thailand. Unfortunately, I let some fears distract me from what I now see was God’s pull on my life. Thankfully God was merciful and gracious despite my lack of faith.
In 2016 I was able to go back. And honestly the hurdles and fears that seemed so big three years earlier didn’t seem so daunting. As I let God speak to my heart he was saying, “My grace is big enough for you, in Thailand. So I came home and told Amy, “If you want to do ministry in Bangkok, let’s do it!”. She said YES! So we are headed to Bangkok Thailand, to plant churches.
I grew up in a Christian home and gave my life to Christ when I was twelve years old. My interest in missions began in elementary school, but was driven by compassion instead of passion for God’s name. My family read missionary stories frequently and my favorites were Gladys Aylward and Amy Carmichael. Whenever an overseas worker came into town, my church invited them to share in a service. Those were my favorite services. God continued to work on me and I committed to full-time service in high school. Later, I went to Romania for a semester to teach English and ethics and share Jesus through relationships. Then, my church invited me to extend their ministry in Thailand on three separate trips. I returned to do my student teaching in Chiang Mai at Grace International School while I completed my BA in elementary education at Moody Bible Institute. Through those trips, God let me experience his love for a people who have little understanding of the privilege of being God’s child. My interest in missions grew from compassion to include a dedication to sharing Christ for God’s glory.
Ryan (husband), Amy (wife)
As part of the team you will seek ways to become involved in an area where people work in Bangkok (eg. a small hospital or school). As a team you will seek ways to build friendships which can lead to opportunities to share the gospel, disciple, and gather together as worship communities.
Gateway 5.6.7 is a church planting strategy for reaching gateway cities in Asia. 5 teams of 6 people committing to 7 years. Instead of focusing where people live (as city dwellers are at work most of the day), we will focus on where they work (eg. a hospital, mall, or school).
The Thai people are known for their friendliness and smiles and they are admirable for their respectfulness and manners. Because they are rice growers, they are also incredibly hardworking and diligent. The country is primarily Buddhist with animism mixed in. Something tourists notice are the spirit houses built on each piece of property. These generally look like highly decorative birdhouses. The Thai people offer sacrifices of food and flowers to the spirits who control the land so that they will get good luck. They work towards earning nirvana which is a liberation from the cycle of rebirth and suffering.