I grew up in a Christian home, and my dad is a pastor. When I was three, my mom showed me how to go to Heaven, and I prayed to trust in Jesus for Heaven. I can remember going out soul winning and inviting people to church on a weekly basis with my dad from a young age.
When I was 15, I went with my dad to a pastors’ conference. During a Wednesday evening service on March 22, 2006, I surrendered to go into full-time ministry. I surrendered to do whatever the Lord wanted me to do with my life. I wasn’t sure what it would be, but I decided to be yielded to whatever He wanted me to do. In the fall of that same year, the Christian school I went to was having a missions conference. The Holy Spirit got a hold of my heart at the conference, and I surrendered to go to the mission field.
I started at Hyles-Anderson College in the fall of 2010 and finished with a missions degree in 2014. In the first week of my sophomore year, Pastor Rick Finley came and preached a salvation message. I had been struggling with doubts about my salvation. That night I trusted in Christ and got the assurance of my salvation on September 1, 2011.
I met Christa the first week of college on a bus route. We dated throughout our college time, and in December of my senior year, we were married. Ethan was born the following October, and Evan Was born in August of 2016.
After getting counsel, I decided not to go right into deputation from college. I did an internship at First Baptist Church with FBMI and Keith Cowling, which I completed in May of 2017. As I was nearing the completion of the internship, I started praying about where we should go as missionaries. The Lord directed my heart specifically to the need in Uruguay. After my family took a three-week trip there in the fall of 2017, the Lord’s leading was confirmed in our hearts.
I grew up in a Christian home. I am the third of seven children. I was the first child born after my parents accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. For that, I am named after their faith in Christ—Christa Faith. I was three when I first heard the Gospel. Honestly I don’t remember much except that when my father came home from work that day, I ran up to him and jumped in his arms saying, “Daddy! I got saved today!” I don’t remember praying or any of the other details, although my mom does, as she was there.
I do know I became a soul winner at the age of five, when my mom would take me out on the streets and hand out tracts and give the Gospel clearly to other people. My parents had our whole family become part of the Bus Ministry; my father faithfully drove the bus to pick kids up for church.
However, at the age of eleven, our lives changed drastically. My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease with no cure. My mom was told that soon she wouldn’t be able to operate as a normal person and would most likely be put in a nursing home, as the demands of life would be too much to handle, especially with little kids in the house. My siblings and I no longer could be homeschooled, as every little thing could trigger an attack and leave her bedridden. We were put into a new school, where we had to learn a new way to live and act. As hard as that was, being put into a place where I wasn’t completely liked or accepted was harder still. It was a lot to put on the mind of a young eleven-year-old girl.
I also became a teacher for our Bus Ministry, as the teacher I was helping came down with cancer. Our program director on our bus left, and my father said it was now my job. At eleven, I was now in charge of the five-year-old department and a program director for our bus! Not only had my life changed in my family and my schooling, but now I was teaching and leading others! I remember crying at night after tough days and asking God if He really cared. I struggled with wondering if God really cared and if He was real, then why wasn’t He helping me?
I began to doubt everything I was taught. I wouldn’t say it out loud to anyone, as I was someone people were starting to see as a leader. It became something I would internally debate and question . . . until one Wednesday evening service. My pastor started preaching a Bible study on the parable of the ten virgins. Five were ready when the bridegroom came, and five were not. I don’t remember anything else during that sermon except that all of my doubts were suddenly exposed. I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit saying, “Are you ready? If Jesus came right now, would you be accepted?” As soon as the invitation time came, I went to my mother and told her I needed to be saved. Taking her Bible, she once again gave me the Gospel, and I settled my salvation!
I can’t say all of our problems disappeared. In fact, I was soon given even more responsibilities, and it was several years later before we could find out what actually triggered my mother’s MS attacks. I can’t say life was easy, but I can say I saw God work so many miracles. God became so very real to me personally. Ministry and church work became my desire. I knew God wanted me to give my life to serve Him. I knew He would one day send me away to another country as a missionary. Everything became focusing on how I could one day serve in a different field, a different country. It is something I have continued all these years later, and it’s my greatest honor to serve such a wonderful God!