After my early childhood memories, I can see another major step in preparing me for missions. As a teenager I remember my first mission trip vividly. Our youth group went through Kentucky and surrounding states doing evangelistic shows. We sang, did skits, puppet shows, etc. I remember absolutely loving what we were doing and being blown away by God using me at such a young age.
I also had a strong desire to sponsor a child in a developing country. When I was 15 I asked my parents about child sponsorsip. They told me to do some research and see where I felt God led me. My sister, Kerri, and I started researching. We found Compassion International and absolutely loved what they were doing! I began sponsoring Akello Erina in Africa. We got our youth group to sponsor another child together. This began a process of God shaping my heart for children in impoverished conditions around the world. How little I understood back then about what He was doing to my heart!
After high school, I was in limbo for about a year - working a couple of jobs, but not going to college yet. Since I graduated high school so early, I was not sure I wanted to jump right into college. A year later, I started college and met Gami. We quickly fell in love, and decided we would get married. I never told him of my desire to do missions that was accompanied with fear and doubt. I never asked what he thought of missions either. So we married and started trying to figure out life together at a young age. It would take years before I would actually bring up missions to him and start to lay out all that God had shown me since my childhood.