My wife, Julie, and I have four children: Rebekah, Katie, Emily, and Nathan. The Lord has placed this passion for international students not only on the heart of Julie and I, but on our children as well!
All four of our children have been or are currently involved in this ministry with us! They love to play games with the students and just laughing with the students! Each of them have a different way of engaging these students as they grow up. Rebekah is now a college student, out of state, so doesn't get the opportunities to connect as much any more. But she still keeps in touch with some that she grew to know well. Katie is now out of state currently attending her school. She occasionally gets to help us out when she is home for a visit. Emily loves to be the life of the party. She will play in the games just as much. As we engage students, it's amazing to see how the female students become like "big sisters" to some of our girls. For Nathan, students mean people to talk with! He is our true "socializer"! Even at his young age, he brings life to the party. He doesn't know a stranger and isn't afraid to engage anyone who will listen.
Julie and I, individually in college, made a commitment to the Lord that we would go and serve anywhere that the Lord would lead us. We committed our lives to His service. We were married in 1993. In 1997, we presented ourselves to our church in TN ready to go to the foreign mission field. God had other plans that proved to be most wise and good for us (imagine that!)! We know now that we were not ready as individuals, as a couple, nor as a family. God needed to mature us and prepare us.
After being led to Charlotte, NC, life set in (jobs, church life, and children). Throughout our lives (especially in Charlotte), we have been active in church life, serving in many capacities. In 2000, we became a part of a church plant. Through it's short life, it matured us unlike we had ever anticipated. We were a part of the "nuts & bolts" of the operations. In 2004, I was ordained as an elder and served for 3 years. During that time, I worked with the missions in our church and even served as the director and led our first mission trip to Red Lake, MN. Even as a family, we served faithfully in our local church, but always having a place in our heart for missions and seeing the Gospel go out to the ends of the world.
In 2009, as a family, we began working with the international student ministry at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. We fell in love with the students that came every Friday night during the school year and those that came through the summers. In 2010, through the direction of that local international student minister, we were connected to the North American Mission Board and the national coordinator for collegiate evangelism.
In 2011, we were commissioned by our home church, Living Faith Baptist Church, and the North American Mission Board to begin an international student ministry at Purdue University.
At the beginning of September 2011, after our house sold in Charlotte, we traveled around the southeast to complete our support raising and completing our ministry partnership team.
On Nov. 10, 2011, we arrived in West Lafayette, Indiana to begin this ministry through a miraculous series of events!
Please feel free to visit Dennis' BLOG to read about current events and thoughts. Also, you can visit our ministry site to see what we refer the international students to as we initially meet them.