I had the wonderful privilege of growing up in a strong Christian home, where I was taught the Bible from an early age. It was during a family devotion one April that I realized that I was a sinner and deserving of God’s eternal punishment. That night, the Bible reading was from Luke 16 – the story of Lazarus and the rich man. After the devotion time was over, I went over to my parents and started asking more about Christ and what he did for me on the Cross. They clearly showed me that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death.” But even more clearly, I saw that Christ died to open a way of escape for me and through him I could have eternal life, because “the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ my Lord.” That night, the Spirit of God opened the heart of a young boy to his need of the Savior.
Though I had an interest in the lives of missionaries when I was younger, that desire faded when I got into middle school and high school. Going to a public school, I began to get the dream they pushed on us of becoming rich and influential. But in my junior year, a missionary friend, Keith Shumaker, sent me information about a mission trip he was hosting in Burkina Faso. I had met Keith a few years back when he came to my church on deputation but had kept in minimal contact with him. When I heard about the trip, I thought that it would provide an interesting experience, so I raised money to go.
It was during that trip that God did a work on my heart about serving Him! All those childhood dreams of being a missionary resurfaced, and I saw myself as the absolutely selfish boy I had become, wanting to live a life based solely on my comfort, wealth, and pleasure. During that trip, I privately went before the Lord and told Him that if he would give me the strength and open the doors, I would return to Burkina Faso as a missionary. I am overjoyed that God has allowed me to be in Burkina now serving Him.