When I was 7, my family moved to Houston from Austin to work in the first Baptist church in Crosby. I grew up hearing Bible stories and learning about how Jesus
loves me. When I was 13, I had a conversation with God and decided that I needed to follow Jesus in my own path, not just because my parents did.
At about 16, I was at the Youth Evangelism Conference in Dallas and, again, I had a conversation with God in which I realized that to be a Christian is also
to be a missionary wherever you are. I also felt God telling me that I would be going to Japan to do this mission work. At this conference, they were talking all
about missions in Africa, so I was pretty surprised but I chose to trust God's call.
The next year I was able to serve on a short term trip to Tokyo, and the following year I spent the Summer interning with missionaries in Toyko. After college,
I met Marla and Rocky while they were visiting the States. After recieving a newsletter that the Ayatsukas were praying for a young married couple to join them in
ministry, Jessica and I began interviewing with Aroma ministries. Now we serve alongside them in Kitakyushu and continue following that original call to Japan.
I grew up in Henderson, Texas, going to Southside Baptist Church. My church was always faithful to share the gospel. At the age of thirteen, I knew God was calling me to missions.
I grew up going to church like most good Bible Belt children, but I never understood how much Jesus loves me until I was thirteen. I had gone to church camp each
Summer, and even came back and got baptized once. I remember meeting with the pastor and talking about it, and I knew all the "right" answers to tell him.
My friends and I got baptized together, but I still had no relationship with Jesus. I just did it because it was what everyone was doing.
This is no reflection on my previous pastor, but on my heart. A year or so later, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit talking to my heart in a sermon saying,
"You do not belong to me". I was self righteous enough to argue with the Holy Spirit and say, "yes I am!" He graciously responded, "You are not God's child yet".
"What do you mean?! I was baptized and I have been going to church!" "You do not belong to me". I was broken because it was the truth. I will never forget the weight
on my shoulders and the burden of my sin as I finally admitted that I did not belong to God. I went home that day from church feeling broken. I knew if I died, I would go
to Hell. I knew the truth. I fell on my knees as soon as I got home and prayed for forgiveness. I was finally a child of God! I was baptized a week later after a very
humbling talk with my pastor. I admitted before the whole church that I lied and did not really have a relationship with Jesus until now!
After that, I wanted everyone to know and have the same relationship with Jesus I had. I shared with everyone about Jesus! There was not a soul off limits to hearing about God.
Six months later, I really felt like God was calling me to be a missionary. I talked with my pastor about it and he agreed. I went in front of my church to share this calling.
My pastor helped me look for opportunities to be exposed to missions, but with every trip that came, I never felt a peace about it. It also did not help that God prevented me from going.
Trip after trip after trip came and went without me going. I started doubting my calling, but I knew that the one who called me is always faithful. I just kept sharing with people at school and everywhere I went.
It was not until my freshman year of college that I finally went on a mission trip. God prepared me for it and used me so much there. God used that experience and others to show me I was made for this.
I met my husband in college and we spent most of our time talking about missions before and after marriage. He had been to Tokyo just before college and felt that God would someday lead him back to Japan,
and I just trusted God would put us where we needed to be when it was time. In faith, we started paying off some debt we had in order to prepare for a life overseas. The same week that we paid
off all of our debt, we received a newsletter from the Ayatsukas saying that they were looking for a couple to join them. A year later we joined them serving in Japan.
support Aroma Ministries