Amanda Bressler | Togo
Calvary Road Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA
Amanda grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus as her Savior at an early age. “One of the difficult parts about accepting Christ at age five is not knowing what it means to grow in Christ, to not let your life become a checklist.” Thirteen years later, Amanda found herself at a camp where she met with a counselor and understood what it really meant to give her life over to Christ.
After graduating from Clarks Summit University (then Baptist Bible College) with a degree in elementary education, she began teaching at the school affiliated with her church. In 2006, she went on a short-term trip to South Africa with ABWE and fell in love, but didn’t know how missions could coincide with her ministry as a teacher. “I’d been introduced to missions my entire life,” Amanda said, “but a missionary was someone who was way up on a pedestal and I always thought, ‘There’s no way I could do that.’”
She returned home from her trip and taught for another three years, but God kept tugging on her heart, saying, “You are definitely a teacher, but not here.” After another year of teaching, she met a family serving as missionaries to Togo, West Africa. She went there for a year and has been going back and forth ever since. She’s looking forward to being a missionary as a teacher full-time in Togo.
Andrew Johnson | Ghana
Calvary Baptist Church, Hot Springs, SD
Andrew had a unique upbringing as both a pastor’s kid and a missionary kid. His dad was the pastor of the church he grew up in and was also a missionary to Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa for about four years. As a result, Andrew has a special message to share with other pastor’s kids and missionary kids: “God has done a work in your life and that’s something to be so grateful for; be grateful that God separated you unto Himself, lost and sinful just like everybody else.”
Andrew’s older brother was the first person to confront Andrew about his sin and need for a Savior. He accepted Jesus immediately, continued on in his faith, and went to Bible school right after high school. At Cornerstone Bible Institute, Andrew was confronted with a depth of study he had never encountered before.
His particular field of interest is missionary aviation, inspired by the life and writings of missionary pilot Paul Dye. That interest was confirmed through his time at Cornerstone and he went on to attend The School of Missionary Aviation Technology in Ionia, Michigan, where he was first introduced to ABWE.
Andrew is looking to use his education and flight training to serve in ministry in Ghana, West Africa.
Patrick & Michelle Reed | The Gambia
Grace Baptist Church, Hurlock, MD
“How has God led us to The Gambia? Well, He’s been very patient,” Patrick said with a smile. By the time he was 13, Patrick had declared himself an atheist, and it wasn’t until he was 19 and met his soon-to-be-wife, Michelle, that he started to reconsider his beliefs. A year later, he dedicated his life to Christ.
Michelle gave her life to Jesus as a teenager in youth group, but she wasn’t about to share that information outside of church. She started dating Patrick and when he talked about marriage, she didn’t want to move forward because he wasn’t a Christian. “You’re a Christian?” Patrick asked, and Michelle realized she needed to make some changes in her walk with the Lord.
Now, years later, they’ve found the Lord leading them to the mission field. “I’ve been in business my whole life. Never once had I ever thought about being a missionary,” Patrick said. God planted an idea in his heart about missions and a few weeks later, a missionary from ABWE visited their church. He knew this was where the Lord was leading, but he hadn’t talked about it with Michelle yet and wasn’t sure how she’d react.
Two weeks prior, Michelle had been talking to a friend about the very same desire. So when Patrick told her he thought they should become missionaries, she said, “Let’s pack some bags! I’m ready to go!”
Brandon & Kathryn Snook | Togo
Southern Hills Baptist Church, LasVegas, NV
When Kathryn was 10 years old, her grandmother, who was a Christian, invited Kathryn and her cousin Rachel for a sleepover. That night, Rachel accepted Jesus as her Savior, but Kathryn said ‘no’. She eventually went to nursing school through the Navy and while she was in college, her cousin Rachel died. That had a big impact on Kathryn. When she graduated, she had orders from the Navy, but she still felt lost. “I asked the Lord in my dorm room, ‘If you’re real, please help me.’”
Kathryn envisioned a grandmother figure being the one to come into her life and take her to church, but it turned out to be Brandon. They ended up in Guam together, which is where she came to know the Lord. It’s also where she first felt pulled toward missions.
Brandon knew early in life that he wanted to be a physician. In Bible college, he had the opportunity to go on a short-term medical missions trip to Haiti, which is where he was first exposed to surgery. “God introduced how you can minister to someone who has physical needs. Often, their heart is so much more open to the gospel at that point” he shared.
In the Air Force, Brandon was introduced to Togo through a missionary friend. Brandon also ended up in Togo during an international surgery rotation of his trauma training. “The Lord has continued to burden us to minister in Southern Togo,” he said.
Sabrina Garzon Orsorio | Togo
Christ Centered Church, Aventura, FL
Sabrina was 18 when she went on a missions trip to Colombia, the country of her birth. She was working at a rehab center and with street children and says, “I saw pretty hard realities. Growing up in an affluent home, it was difficult for me to understand so much misery and poverty.” That experience led her to understanding the true meaning of grace. She reflects, “Everything that we are, everything that we have, comes from God, and He gives it to us so that we can bless those that do not have anything.”
She told God that she wanted to serve Him full-time with everything He had given her, so He sent her to France to work in youth ministry. “After eight years of serving God in youth ministry and understanding what it means to serve cross-culturally, I didn’t want to continue as a missionary, but God was calling me to.”
She chose, instead, to get a different job, but after a time she said, “Okay, God, here I am. I’ll go wherever You send me.” She then worked with a French Baptist organization, teaching language and culture to missionaries going to French-speaking countries. Four years later, the French government decided not to renew her missionary visa, so after 14 years of living in France, she had to leave.
“When I left France, I knew that being a missionary was not about a location but about obedience,” Sabrina said. After returning to the United States she went to Togo for a year to serve at Hospital of Hope. During that time, God confirmed that He was sending her to serve long-term in Africa.
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