Benjamin & Abby | South Asia
Emmanuel Baptist Church of Bellbrook, Bellbrook, OH
Benjamin went to Cedarville University as an undeclared student, but soon decided to change his major to English. “Horrible idea. Turns out, I don’t like to write,” he said with a laugh, “but I also think that God had other plans for me.” He ended up falling in love with information technology, declared as an IT Management major, and worked as a student in the IT department.
While he was still in school, he heard about an IT need in South Asia from a family member who worked in missions there. “I would have left right then, but there was one problem…I needed a degree.” He stayed and completed his degree at Cedarville University, which is when he met his wife, Abby.
“In high school, God gave me a desire to help people,” Abby recalls. After doing some missions work with the homeless and inner city populations, she decided she wanted to become a nurse. Abby went to Cedarville University to pursue nursing and went on a missions trip to Malawi during her junior year. “That’s when God gave me the desire to do missions,” Abby said.
When Benjamin graduated, he checked with ABWE to see if there were any IT opportunities, but none were open at the time. Things changed by the time spring arrived. A lot of opportunities had opened up, and after praying about it, he and Abby decided to pursue the application process with ABWE. They are excited to use both of their skill sets to serve in South Asia.
Dana | Southeast Asia
Bethel Baptist Church, Sellersville, PA
Dana has always had an interest in missions, but she quickly learned that Isaiah 55, which talks about God’s ways not being our ways, was full of truth. In high school she signed up to go to Haiti, but the trip was canceled and she ended up going to Puerto Rico instead. “I went to college with the “M&M plan”. I was going to marry and go into missions. But I did not meet the man of my dreams, and God had other plans,” Dana shared. She signed up to go to Kenya, but, once again, the trip was canceled and she ended up going to New Zealand.
After her college graduation she went back to her home church, which was also a school, and taught there for 19 years. But she never lost her passion for missions. She went on many missions trips and continued to learn that her plans weren’t always God’s plans.
In 2008, she took her first trip to Asia. “I remember sitting in a service and thinking, ‘Could God really use me in Asia?’” She visited many locations throughout the region and each time, wondered if that location was the place God was calling her to go. In 2013, she went to Southeast Asia and although she fell in love with the ministry, she was confident that God was not calling her to go there.
Three months later, God called her to Southeast Asia, and she’s been serving there for the past three years. “I’m grateful that God is helping me to take one more step toward staying there on a more permanent basis, if that’s His plan,” she said.
Jonathan & Evanie Bryant | Philippines
Crosswalk Church, Philippines
Evanie was born and raised in the Philippines. Her parents, both nurses, moved their family to the United States to work in Jacksonville, Florida, when she was 14 years old. When Evanie was 16, a simple Bible study with friends led her to give her life to the Lord. After being involved with a variety of children’s ministries, she knew she wanted to be a teacher, and knew she wanted to teach overseas. “Having grown up in the Philippines, I knew the need for Christian education,” Evanie said. She went to Pensacola Christian College for elementary education and met Jonathan there.
At first, Jonathan didn’t want to go to a ministry-related school, but his parents advised him to attend at least one year of Bible college. He decided to go to Pensacola Christian College to study computer science. After his freshman year of college, he went to China for the summer to teach English. “Through teaching there for the summer, I was able to see that English can be a ministry, and it was a ministry that I enjoyed doing,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan finished his undergraduate degree in computer science and began studying English education. He and Evanie moved to the Philippines three years ago, completely on their own and without support, to teach children there. “Ever since then, God has been providing for our needs, even without support,” Evanie said.
They’ve recently been helping as a guest house manager for ABWE. Evanie shared, “We want to be able to minister to more people. We see that need. We think that’s why God has led us back here, to learn more and be trained.”
Suzanne Collins | Thailand
Apex Community Church, Dayton, OH
Suzanne has been living and working in Thailand for the past four years, “but I wasn’t part of ABWE because I wasn’t married to Ben yet,” she shared with a laugh.
“One thing I learned in going to Thailand was that God was sending me to work on me. I needed Him. I wouldn’t have learned how much I needed God if I hadn’t gone to Thailand,” Suzanne said.
Before going out to the field, she felt convicted about the fact that all of the people she knew were fairly affluent. She didn’t really know anyone in real need of clothing or food or shelter. One night, after she had moved to Thailand, she was waiting for a taxi and getting frustrated that none were available. Then she felt a sense of peace, as if the Holy Spirit was telling her there was a reason she wasn’t getting a taxi. Not long after, she witnessed an elderly woman being attacked and was able to stop it. “When that happened, I knew it was God saying, ‘This is what I want you to do. Deal with the needs in front of you as they come,” says Suzanne. She felt like it was a direct answer to the conviction she felt before leaving home.
Suzanne’s husband, Ben, was a candidate at seminar nine years ago and has been serving with ABWE in Thailand ever since.
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