You can have it all and still suffer. That’s the beginning of my story.
I grew up in San Diego, California. My family always attended church and served in various aspects. I went to Christians schools from kindergarten to high school. We lived in a beautiful neighborhood where my brother, sister, and I could explore on our own. But none of these things saved me from selfish harm. I was entangled in sin and unable to get free.
My personality is reserved but sensitive. So, I felt deeply the pain and loneliness of this world. In my teens and early adulthood, I could not stop the pain and loneliness from leading me to destructive outlets and isolation. I was on the edge of destroying my life. At ten I was baptized and see it as sincere, yet with minimal growth. Dysfunctional, friendless, unhealthy pain relief and deep depression were my places, and my hope began to run out. But God was with me holding me together.
He brought the Gospel to me in a clear way with a new pastor. The hope provided in grace showed me what is impossible with man is possible with God. Through Christ, my dead self could take a breath of life. Even though it became clear there was no path to heal and untangle my mess it took time to trust the Lord with my life. When I did, there was a moment of knowing and feeling the water of life that springs up to eternal life. Everything changed and I began to pursue whatever it is the Lord wanted me to.
The pastor taught us to understand God’s mission and love for all people. When speaking about the Lord’s using anyone who is willing to trust in God, he would say – even Andrew back there. That helps see the unassuming and unlikely person I am as a candidate for the work of the Lord. But Christ makes us into fishers of men.
I began to experience spiritual healing and growth. The pastor disciplined me. He passed the baton of the Christian life and ministry to me. It took the next 18 years to prepare for full-time ministry including, working various jobs, completing college and seminary, reading books, and asking for help from professional counselors.
Going to Turkey in 2005 became the path to meeting Eva. I spent 3 months there. The missionaries there hosted a team from California Baptist University. This impressed me and I began classes at CBU that fall. One of Eva’s friends was on the team in Turkey and introduced us. We became closer after being placed on the same team that taught English in Rwanda. Our friendship continued until 2010 when we were married in San Diego.
My first cross-culture trip was to Lebanon in 2004 solidifying the focus of the world outside of my own. It became clear over the years that God’s heart for other nations is where I’m to take part. Eva and I were aware of a similar calling for us both before marriage. We were in a waiting period for what seemed like maybe the Lord’s timing was longer than we thought. God gave me a desire and love for those in need and living on the street. The County of San Diego hiring me to assist such people was a blessing. At the 5 year mark, there was an undeniable Lord guiding us that the timing was complete. As we searched and spoke to various organizations, education became the best place for me.
I began to focus on mission organizations that teach the bible in an educational format. I discovered over 80% of pastors and leaders are untrained and lack access to all that I’ve been blessed to have. This knowledge explained so much of what I saw and experienced in the other countries. iTEE Global’s uniqueness attracted me along with their wonderful care of the staff. The mission is not at the expense of the person or family character and health.
I knew this area was the place for me. Where would I be without all those hundreds of leaders that guided and trained me. Or what if a pastor led me astray because of a poor understanding of the bible. With iTEE Global I have the opportunity to bless others and follow God’s heart for all people.
It’s a joy to have taught Galatians and Romans to amazing and sincere pastoral leaders in Africa and India. An added joy is meeting some of them in person when I took a trip to Zambia. They expressed how valuable this education is to them. Their hearts were changed, giving them confidence in the Gospel, and opened opportunities to be used by God.
With a design and media degree, I could also impact the growth and health of iTEE Global. After some prayer and reflection, I joined the communications team. Later accepting to be the Director of Digital Media.