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Biography

FAMILY

As you may already know, my family is not what you would describe as typical, but they are extremely important to me and a very large part of the ministry God has given me to this point in my life. My mom and brother, Mike, live in Royal Center, Indiana, with my mother’s dad stepmother (Grandma Pam). Mike has always been my buddy! The hardest part about committing to go to South Africa was not leaving home, giving up my job, or getting rid of all my possessions, it was hands down…leaving Mike. Mike is very interested in animal adventures. He is more concerned with me keeping accurate records of my animal encounters than the fact that he doesn’t see me for years at a time. My sister, Tarah and her husband, Justin and there 2 young children, Ethan and Emmaleigh, are another challenge to being thousands of miles away from family.

My dad, Bill, and step mom, Mindy, live in Kokomo, Indiana. They are also responsible for my littlest sibling, Amanda. Amanda is also my little pal. She was born two and a half weeks too early for being exactly 22 years younger than me, her oldest sister. Amanda enjoys talking to me on the phone whenever I call to visit with Dad or Mindy.

EDUCATION

Contrary to the direction of my future plans, my entire education career was spent within the walls of public schools. I attended Pioneer Elementary in Royal Center, Indiana for kindergarten (grade R) through grade 6. Following my 6th grade year, my family moved a little farther north on highway 35 to the slightly bigger town of Winamac, Indiana. I attended Winamac Community Middle School and High School and graduated as my class Valedictorian in 2001. While at Winamac, I participated in a plethora of activities, including varsity basketball, volleyball and track and field. Following graduation I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana to attend Purdue University. I began my time at Purdue as a pre-med major, but quickly felt God’s pull on my heart to return to my childhood plans of becoming an educator. I graduated from Purdue University’s main campus in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

I spent the summer following my college graduation searching for a job and asking God for direction. God did not direct me to a job until four days before time for students to begin school. I was offered a job teaching 6th grade mathematics at Delphi Community Middle School in the fall of 2005; I have spent two years as a part of the sixth grade team at Delphi in that same position. While teaching at Delphi, I was extremely involved with extra curricular activities, including 7th grade girls’ basketball and volleyball and assisting the varsity girls’ basketball team.
In November of 2007, I answered God’s call to become a missionary teacher at Bethesda Outreach Ministries in South Africa. For 6.5 years, I taught a variety of subjects to 4th through 7th grades at Jabulane Christian Academy. In June of 2013, I accepted a position at Jabulane and I continue to serve in this manner.

TESTIMONY

At the age of six, I came to an understanding of my need for salvation. I was attending the Vacation Bible School that I attended each year while I was going to daycare. While at VBS, I remember a leader explaining that I was a sinner and that Jesus had suffered and died to take the punishment for MY sins. I understood that day that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and I could never do that, no matter how badly I wanted to. That day I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. It took until much later in life for me to develop a growing relationship with Christ, but from that day forth, I relied on Christ as my Savior.

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MISSIONS

In the September of 2004, I rode along with a good friend of mine, Jacy Hobbs, as she went to the airport to leave for Hammanskraal, South Africa. Jacy went to teach for a year at Jabulane Christian Academy, the school at Bethesda Children’s Village. The Bethesda ministry had been a well known ministry at our church for some time. In December, 2005 God began to lay on my heart a desire to go and serve at Bethesda for a short time during my summer break. My hope was to go and assist with teaching, planning, and organizing, as well as bring some encouragement to Jacy, who had made the decision to stay for a second year. In the process, I also gained a desire to know more about the ministry and those involved. After much prayer and consideration, I consulted Pastor Whipple and Dean Zimmerman on my idea and they though it sounded good. Prior to this trip, God had given me a slight burden in my heart for some time about the possibility of teaching in a mission field. God used my time at Bethesda to reveal to me some ways that He could possibly use me in that way. God’s leading in my life. I know that God is good, He is sovereign, and He has a plan for me!

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