I met my wife Jennie while at Hope College. She is from a small farming community in Ohio where her father was the pastor of a traditional Protestant church. Jennie was taught and believed the Gospel message from a very young age, and she committed to following and serving her Lord no matter what when she was in seventh grade. She graduated from Hope with a major in mathematics and minor in English and planned to go to Romania as a missionary/teacher. Due to some health issues, she was advised by her doctors not to leave the US and was redirected by God to return to Ohio and care for her sick grandmother.
Upon graduation, I was called to Piqua, OH to serve at St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church. Jennie was teaching school in nearby Sidney, OH, and we began attending a non-denominational, post-college age small group Bible study together. After several months, we started dating, and we were married on the hottest day in Ohio’s recorded history, July 27, 1997. Our oldest daughter Emily was born one year later on July 28, 1998. Jennie quit her teaching job be at home with Emily and to partner with me in my work at church.
On our second anniversary, and the second hottest day in Ohio’s recorded history, we moved our little family to Toledo, where I served as youth pastor for Washington Congregational Church. While in Toledo, God grew our family again with the birth of our son, Callum, on April 7, 2000.
We moved to Hartland, Michigan, and Ore Creek Community Church in the spring of 2001, and on July 14, 2001, our daughter, Katie, was born. Things settled down as much as they can for a couple with three children born in less than three years, and we enjoyed putting down roots and getting to know our community and church family.
In the past thirteen years, Jennie has continued to be a stay-at-home mom, caring for our family and supporting me in my ministry. Our three little ones have grown into 10, 12, and 13 year-olds, each with unique and beautiful personalities. Emily is just finishing 8th grade, and is very much a first-born – a leader, helper, and academic. Callum, squashed in the middle between his two sisters, is all boy. He will climb anything taller than himself, and takes great joy in building things – out of Legos, tin foil, cardboard, or whatever he can find. Katie, the youngest, is our cuddle bug and a budding trombonist. She hugs everyone and just wants to be helpful.
As a family, we enjoy outdoor activities – biking, hiking, canoeing, or just playing. Our home is typically loud and filled with people. We love to sing and dance, and the kids frequently recruit the neighbors for homemade plays, complete with costuming and props. God has given us more than we need and the heart to share with others, and we find much joy in offering hospitality. We are confident that God will continue to provide for our needs and lead us to the place and the people He is equipping us to serve.
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