My life began in a quiet town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of North-East PA. I was born into a family that would occasionally attend a liberal mainline denominational church (U.C.C.) and was not concerned with following Christ. As I grew into a teenager I naturally adopted a “seek me first” ideology of life which led to an increasing depression. At its peak I would sleep 12-16 hours a day and would often act out violently towards my parents and brother. By the age of 16 I was at a place in life where I knew something had to change. Thankfully I had a close friend who was a Christian and I decided to “check out this Jesus thing” before I ran to alcohol or drugs, or seriously attempted suicide. As I searched, the Holy Spirit softened my heart and convicted me of my sin. I gave my life to Jesus at a youth conference in Hershey, PA.
I repented of my sins that night and committed myself to becoming a disciple or follower of Jesus and to stop living for myself. In the years that followed God gave me a passion for working with youth and led me to Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University) where I met and then married Bethany! After a short season of ministry in my hometown God has made it clear to both of us that it is time to move on and serve Him in a new place. As I’ve gone through the process of interviewing with the search team and leadership of High Point Church I have become increasingly excited at the possibility of impacting the lives of students in and around Madison.
From the time I was young, I was taught the Scriptures solidly through Sunday School, VBS, Christian school, youth group and my parents’ example. I never knew another life. God placed in me at an early age the passion to know Him and obey Him. My faith wasn’t challenged much until I hit the teen years and entered youth group. It was there that my youth pastor saw the potential for me to come out of my comfort zone and see how trustworthy God really is. A pivotal moment in my faith was when I went to China at age 15. My youth pastor asked me to teach an English class to kids my age. I was assured that I would be placed with two other friends around my age and we would all receive teaching training as a team. After one of the trainings in California, I remember getting on my knees and giving God my fears and placing complete trust in Him.
I told Him it would be better if the English students were little kids, not teens like me! When I arrived in China, I was informed that my class would be much younger than the other classes. I couldn’t believe that God had answered my prayers in such a specific way, and that He truly was trustworthy. This experience launched me into a lifelong pattern of trusting God and realizing that God goes before me even when I cannot see.