Because of His working, we give Him all the glory.
We have seen Ephesians 3:20-21 carried out in our lives. When we didn’t have a complete picture of God’s plan, when we didn’t know what to do, when we expected God to do too little, He worked “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask or think.” Because of His working, we give Him all the glory.
Jonathan grew up in a Christian home as the older brother of 3 brothers and 2 sisters. When trying to pick a hometown/home state, it’s a little hard for Jonathan, having lived in Alabama, Florida, and most recently Montana. “Throughout my life, wherever we lived, I saw my dad juggle having a family, ministering as a pastor, and still working a full-time secular job. It was hard, but I praise God that He gave me a father who both taught me spiritually and how to do my best.” Currently, Jonathan’s family lives in eastern Tennessee, but soon will also be moving to the Philippines to work with Children’s Bible Ministries (CBM).
For college, Jonathan attended Pensacola Christian College in 2008 and majored in Computer Information Systems. He chose PCC to honor his parents who wanted him to go to at least one year of Bible college. Through a summer missions trip to China to teach English, Jonathan saw how English could be used to minister. Although pursuing an English degree wasn’t something he had ever planned (even though his mother was a high school English teach), Jonathan took his master’s degree in English education because he saw the ministry opportunities it presented. He graduated with that degree in 2014.
In Evanie’s life, while she grew up with a Christian mother, her father didn’t know Christ until she was in college. Evanie is actually from Baguio, Philippines, a heritage that has been a huge blessing as we work here to minister. In 2005, her family immigrated to the US from the Philippines. Currently, her family lives in Jacksonville, FL.
When it came time to pick a college, Evanie also “picked” PCC, in her case because one of her cousins was attending the same school. “Choosing a degree at PCC was not really something I did. Coming from a Filipino household with both parents being nurses, nursing was considered a good, stable job. I wanted to honor my parents in studying what they approved.” Although she knows God blessed her for honoring her parents, Evanie still felt God’s leading to change her major to elementary education. Her motivation was to come back to the Philippines and help other Filipino students have a better education than she was given growing up in the Philippines.
We came to the Philippines in 2014 as tent-maker missionaries. At that time, we had a very limited ministry dream. We simply wanted to teach in a local private Christian school, and through this, we realized that the teachers in the Philippines needed training instead. This led us to pull back a little on teaching students full-time, and instead, we worked on developing the training needed by local teachers. During this time we also were led to Doane Rest, an Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) missionary guest house. God provided the opportunity for us to take over managing this guest house; managing here allowed us to meet the Philippine ABWE team and area leaders In 2017, we joined ABWE. We now see how God wants us to be full-time missionaries, solely devoted to ministry. Going forward, working as ABWE missionaries will open even more doors, doors that we pray will lead many to Christ.
How We Met
Truly, God brought us together to minister in His timing.
Actually, we met our freshman year as chapel buddies (buddies being seatmates with “randomly” assigned seats). At the time, both of us were just friends; it took Jonathan 2 years (and a school transfer) to realize what God had placed in his life in Evanie. When Jonathan finally woke up to who God had made for him in Evanie, she graciously allowed Jonathan to court her. God also brought together, yet independently, our desires to minister through education, without the knowledge of the other. However, God know what He had planned. Truly, God brought us together to minister in His timing.
Our Family Grows
In April, 2018, our son Liam was born. Having our first child changed things for sure, but it also opened different doors for ministry. Seeing a Filipino-American baby is always a curiosity for people.
At this time, Liam isn’t our only child. We suffered our first miscarriage in April of 2020, losing our second son, Adrin David. His name means “God is gracious” and “Beloved one.” Then in July of 2021, we lost twins, Michael and Gabriel. We miss our other 3 sons, but we have hope in seeing our children again one day in Heaven. We hope in Christ. He is the hope we want others here in the Philippines to be able to know and trust in.
In April of 2023, God provided us a completely healthy baby girl Elise, which means “God’s promise.” Despite losing our other children, we knew God hadn’t forsaken us, and we will be forever thankful for Him answering our prayers for another child in Elise.
God alone planned our journey out, such as it has been. If you had asked either of us 10 years ago, “Will you be missionaries in the Philippines?” perhaps we would have said yes, but we would have had no idea of how God has worked. Again, we want to give Him the glory for all He has done, and we look forward to seeing what He will do in our future ministry here in the Philippines.