Greg's Testimony and Call to Ministry
I grew up in the small town of Hudsonville, in western Michigan. I was the fourth of five children, and our Christian family went to church every week. Although I went to church with my family faithfully, I was not a follower of Christ. As I entered junior high, I became friends with the wrong kind of people and began to go down the wrong path. It was around this time that I decided that there was no God. I thought: “After all, if there is no God, then I don’t have to feel guilty about the things I’m doing, right?” No God = no guilt.
My whole perspective changed when I attended a music camp at Cornerstone University the summer after my freshman year of high school. I had attended the camp the year before with my friends, but during that second summer I met a number of people that loved Jesus deeply. Seeing their sincere faith caused me to rethink my beliefs and the path my life was headed down. It was that summer that I came to know Jesus as my Savior!
As I began my new life in Christ, I was initially floundering in my faith until my youth pastor, Jim, began discipling me. For over three years Jim regularly met with me. He taught me how to study the Bible and shared the importance of devoting my whole life to serve God, and it is largely because of that discipleship and education that I am serving in full time ministry today.
In reading the New Testament through for the first time, I was struck by the heartbeat of missions that resonated throughout it. I remember being particularly struck by Romans 10:14-15: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” From that moment I wanted to be a part of bringing the gospel to those who were without it.
After feeling this strong call to missions, I was able to participate in two short-term trips in high school to Peru and China. Both of these trips confirmed that missions was something that I wanted to spend my life doing. I went to college at Cedarville University where I majored in Bible with a minor in missions. I quickly became involved in ministry at Dayton Chinese Christian Church (DCCC), serving in their conversation English class ministry, leading worship, working with the youth ministry, and learning about Asian culture.
After graduating from college, I left for China. In fact, I proposed to Rachel two weeks before leaving for the year and we got married two weeks after I returned! I spent three years ministering in China as an English teacher at a high school in Beijing. Rachel spent two years in China, and our first son, Christian, spent his first year in China. After ministering in Beijing, our family returned to the US so I could complete seminary studies. While doing so, I ministered in two different Chinese American churches. For two years I served as the interim Youth Director at Dayton Chinese Christian Church and then for four year I served as the Youth Pastor and then Pastor of English Ministries at Long Island Abundant Life Church. It was during this time that my call to missions was not only confirmed but also became more focused as I discovered a gift for teaching. I completed my Master of Divinity degree in 2014 and am my Master of Theology degree in 2016.
I am grateful for the discipleship, education, and experiences God has blessed me with, so I can fulfill God's calling on my life to train leaders in Asia through Asia Biblical Theological Seminary.