I was born the third of six children to Scott and Debbie Christiansen. My dad was a pastor; so, of course, I grew up in church and heard the Gospel regularly. I had made a profession of faith and been baptized by the age of seven, but the truth was that my trust was more in my prayers than in Christ. I rightly began to doubt my salvation at the age of nine, and shortly after, I decided to make sure I was saved. I went forward at the end of a Sunday night service and prayed, this time trusting Christ alone. I was baptized the same night.
When I was twelve, I went to my first Youth Conference in Hammond, Indiana, where I heard Dr. Jack Hyles preach, resulting in my surrendering to full-time Christian service. That decision was strengthened the following year when I went to Teen Convention in Longview, Texas. I did not know which avenue of full-time Christian service I was supposed to take, but as I grew older, I just began to assume that I would be a pastor or a missionary, as they were the options that most appealed to me.
I went to college and started with a pastoral major, but I decided to switch my major to missions in the second semester of my freshman year. I finished my bachelor’s degree in four years, and on my pastor’s advice, I began a master’s degree in education. It was while I was working on my master’s degree that I met and started dating my future wife Abbie. We had been dating for a year when I began a two-year internship at First Baptist Church. The first year and a half, I interned for Danny Brannon, the director of the Chapel Ministry, which was my ministry for most of my college experience. I interned for FBMI my last semester. When I was finished with college, Abbie and I were married on August 3, 2013.
I was born and raised in a Christian home. My parents, Tim and Kathy Cortopassi, made sure that my four siblings and I attended a Christian school and that we went to church as a family every service. Since I grew up in church, I heard the Gospel often. I may have been saved at the age of seven. I remember my mom talked to me during church on a Sunday morning. I prayed that morning and got baptized that evening.
Sometime later, my family watched the movie Left Behind. I got scared, wondering if I were really saved or not. I went through several years not sure if I was going to Heaven but assuming that I was because I had prayed with my mom and gotten baptized.
In seventh grade, I started going to Teenage Soul Winning. I started leading people to Christ but still was not sure if I was saved or not. In November 2001, I sat on my bed with my Bible, and I looked up the verses for the Romans Road. I went through the verses as if I were leading someone else to Christ, but I was doing it for my own benefit. I wanted to settle my doubt once and for all. I prayed, accepting Christ as my only way to Heaven. When I finished, I felt a huge burden lift from my shoulders. Since that time, I have not doubted my salvation.
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a missionary. It was with that in mind that I went to Hyles-Anderson College and got my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. At that time I wanted to be a missionary to China, so I tried to take a missions trip there three different times. Every one of the trips was canceled. After trying for the third time, I really felt that God had closed the door to my going to China.
I did go on a missions trip to Honduras and Belize in 2010, simply because I wanted to take a missions trip before graduating from college. A week before my trip, Micah and I had our first date. We dated for three years before getting married on August 3, 2013.
Team Ghana’s driving purpose is making disciples of Jesus Christ, and the result has been the multiplying of churches. God has blessed the efforts of the men and women serving Him in Kumasi, Ghana. Fundamental Baptist Church International has been in existence for 8years and has already directly influenced the start of 36 other churches in Ghana and Liberia.
The church in Kumasi is also home to Hyles-Anderson College of West Africa, which has 61 graduates and an average of 37 students per month. The college prepares the young and old alike. The current student body is made up of young men who are aspiring to be in ministry, as well as current pastors who see their need for better training.
I eagerly anticipate doing as my fellow team members have done: winning souls, discipling converts, and helping advance the spread of churches across Africa. One of my specific duties on Team Ghana will be to disciple children. God has given me a passion for reaching children, so I eagerly anticipate this opportunity.
It is well known that children are the most easily reached people group, and I would contend that they are also the group with the most potential. Half of Ghana’s population is 20 years old and younger; young people truly are the key to making a long-term impact in Ghana and the surrounding regions. I look forward to teaching Ghanaian pastors and workers how to develop Children’s Ministries so that the next generation is reached across Ghana and beyond.
In addition to leading the Children’s Ministry at Fundamental Baptist Church International, I am excited about teaching in Hyles-Anderson College of West Africa and Fundamental Baptist Academy. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to mold the lives of pastors, pastors in training, and the young people of our Christian school.
Thank you for praying for Abbie’s delivery of our fourth child. MaryAnne Hope Christiansen was born on June 15, with no complications, and Abbie has been recovering faster from this birth than from any of the others.
The following week was our SMITE camp, where we train people how to use Bible Clubs to reach children with the Gospel. I had the great privilege of teaching over 60 campers how to give the Gospel to children using an illustrated booklet.
One of these campers was a young man from Togo who attended our Pastors’ and Workers’ Conference last year. I am always excited to see our church’s influence expand to new places. Please pray that God would use our ministry to influence more churches throughout West Africa to become effective, soul-winning ministries. Please also pray that God will use this year’s Pastors’ and Workers’ Conference, which is August 15–18. Our theme is “How to Grow Your Church.” I will be teaching four sessions on children’s ministry, so please pray that God will use the teaching to help these churches see more children saved and growing up to serve God.
There have been many encouraging results from the SMITE training. A teenage boy from one of our daughter churches went home and witnessed to his mother. Another camper led his little sister to Christ. One of our bus captains saw a camper from his route give a thorough Gospel presentation to four children, all of whom chose to put their faith in Christ. This teenager had not been able to give the Gospel before SMITE. More people from our church are getting involved in Bible Clubs. We have three Bible Clubs running at the same time right now, and we are working to expand these into a consistent Bible Club Ministry to involve our church’s youth in more productive soul winning. Please pray for us in these efforts.
Fruit to Your Account
Jedidiah, one of our Fundamental Baptist Academy students, had asked me to talk to his little sister about how to go to Heaven, so one Saturday I went with some teenage boys from our church to visit the family.
One of the teenagers witnessed to the little girl, while I witnessed to Jedidiah’s older sister Rita. It took about two hours for Rita to understand how it could be possible that our good works play no part in our salvation, but she finally was ready to confess that her efforts could do nothing to get her to Heaven and that Jesus’ payment for her sins was all she needed for salvation.
The little sister did not understand the Gospel, but the grandma heard much of what I told Rita. The grandma’s English is limited, so I am not sure how much she understood, but I could tell she was following parts of it. Please pray as we follow up with this family.