Missionary to Zambia
I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and I made a true commitment to the Lord when was in High School. I went to a youth event at the River Church in Tampa and experienced the Love of God which changed my heart, I knew that God loved me and I wanted to let others experience the same love I found. After I then attended the college of Engineering at the University of South Florida (USF).
I attended USF full time for 3 years but during the summer before my final semester, I went to the summer camp from my church as a youth counselor. I had an encounter with God where I knew I was supposed to go to the River Bible Institute (RBI) and set aside my engineering studies for a time. I immediately started taking classes at RBI. Many of my friends thought I was crazy for not finishing my degree, but I knew that I had heard from God During my second year of RBI I found out about Overland Missions! I was at a service at my church and Phil Smethurst (president and founder of Overland Missions) came and spoke about preaching the gospel to unreached people groups in remote areas.
He also spoke about a 3 month intense missions training program, Advanced Mission Training (AMT) in Africa that will equip a person with all the skills they will need to go into remote areas and come back alive! In this moment, everything connected and I knew that I wanted to work with Overland Missions. I could see how I could apply both of my degrees to help people in a physical and spiritual way. I wanted to go right away, But Phil gave me great advice: “Finish what you start!” So I delayed joining until I finished my degrees. After graduating from RBI and USF, I thought I should get real world engineering experience instead of only having “book knowledge” to be the most effective in Zambia. To that end, I then started working as an Applications Engineer at a small HVAC manufacturing company.
Although I loved my job, about a year and a half later I began to feel that something needed to change. I then signed up for the AMT course and began fundraising for my first trip. It was during this time that I found out that Overland now had a Water Projects division. I was stoked to be approved to stay an additional month specifically working with the Water Projects team. The first fundraising time was a real stretch of my faith and I had to rely on the Lord more than ever before.
The AMT course was so much more than what I had expected. I learned about my identity in Christ and made great friendships in my AMT class and the staff at Overland. I was offered a position on the Water Projects team and accepted it! After AMT, I traveled with the Water Projects team. We successfully drilled a new well and repaired a broken well. Two weeks later, I went on a well repair trip, and the team was able to fix 3 additional wells.
The following week I jumped on a plane back to the US. I then traveled to San Francisco for a two-day Fundraising Boot Camp. I realized that fundraising wasn’t a chore but was a meeting with others to share the vision and give them the opportunity to be a part of something greater than themselves. I began fundraising full time the first week of October 2015. I am continuing to rely upon the Holy Spirit more than ever. I have been able to reconnect old friends, meet with different pastors and begin to make life-long friendships. God continues to amaze me in this time of fundraising.
In February of 2016 I traveled to Houston, Texas, for a four day Operations & Maintenance/Pump Repair training course focusing on 10 different styles of hand pumps that are used throughout the world in rural areas of developing countries. The organization Living Water Int. has completed over 16,000 projects and because the training was so valuable, I signed up for their Well Drilling course.
I completed this Well Drilling training in May of 2016. The technique taught was different from the one I used the previous year, but the training was still very valuable. I am so thankful for the organization and would recommend both courses to anyone who is interested in developing sustainable access to clean water in remote areas!
I am continuing to connect with others sharing the gospel, raising support, and encouraging others to go on short term trips overseas! To see where I am at in my fundraising, check out my Partner page.
I will be flying to Zambia sometime in March 2017 to begin preparing for our short term trips into the Bush of Zambia. I will be overseas until September, when I will return to the US to travel to recruit for our 2018 trips. If you are interested in where I am at in my funding, you can check out my Partner Page. If you are interested in going on a short term trip, check out Overland’s Expedition Trips!
Zambia, a landlocked country in south-central Africa, is about one-tenth larger than Texas. It is surrounded by Angola, DR Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.