I was raised in a strong evangelical family. My father had a job in Saudi Arabia, and we lived there for several years when I was small. I was aware that almost all of the local people around me didn’t understand who Jesus was in the same way that I had been taught, and that idea stuck with me. My childish question was, “How could a whole land not know about this Jesus who I loved?”
We moved back to America where we were always active in seeking to grow in the Lord as a family. We also actively hosted visiting missionaries, and I always admired their heart for the lost and their vastly different lives. I was active in youth group, Sunday school, and whatever was going on at the church. I loved the Lord wholeheartedly.
At the age of 13, I went to a special church service, where they acted out in drama form what happens to those who are saved and those who perish without the Lord. I began to wrestle with the question, “Am I just walking in my family’s footsteps and borrowing ‘their faith,’ or is this truly a relationship just between me and God?” That day I confessed my sins before my family, some elders, and some of my youth group friends, and believed that Christ had forgiven MY sins, and that he was MY savior and Lord. After repenting of my sins, from then on I wanted to follow the Lord with all my heart. After this I can recall that when I sinned, it plagued me and broke my heart in a way that it didn’t before.
Soon after, I was challenged, despite my young age, to read daily in the Scriptures and keep a devotional journal. I’m very thankful that God laid his most solid foundation through His word which I was actively and regularly reading.
Our family took several short term mission trips to London to reach out through street evangelism to Muslims there. I thought of my childhood memories of Saudi Arabia and about the reality of how spiritually barren a whole country could be. I realized that the Arab world is largely spiritually barren and for the most part without the gospel.
After high school, I passed up the opportunity to go to college. Instead I took two years as a missionary – one year in South Africa and the second year in London reaching out to Muslims on the street. My mind was made up now, and I took to my heart this quote: “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land filled with light.”
I went to Virginia Tech in 2002, headed back out long term to the mission field in 2006, met Daniel on the field in 2007, and now we are living and working in a largely Muslim immigrant area in Sweden. God has very clearly paved each brick in the path of my life for his glory and to equip me for where we are right now. I stand in awe of what he has done, what he is doing, and he will do.