We (Dawn and John) met at Wheaton College near Chicago and were married right after graduation. We stayed in the Chicago area for many years while John attended the University of Chicago, receiving an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies, and then moved on to Wheaton Graduate School, where he received an M.A. in Theology. During this time we attended Calvary Assembly of God in Naperville, Illinois. It was at this missions-minded church, under Rev. Robert Schmidgall, that God first spoke to John about becoming involved in missions. Dawn had felt a calling into missions as a child.
After pastoring Green City Assembly of God in Green City, Missouri from 1984 to 1986, we received appointment as Assemblies of God missionaries and prepared to go to Africa.
We served two terms in Zimbabwe, from 1988 to 1997. Our primary ministry there involved pastoral training/Bible school work, but because the national church was small we did a little of everything else as well. We started a new Bible school and helped the Bible school students plant six new churches during our first term. During our second term we focused on the Bible school and leadership development. We also sought to reorganize the national church structure, seeking to make it more effective. By the middle of our second term we were the only A/G USA missionaries assigned to Zimbabwe as the two other couples had lost their work permits. Towards the end of that term we lost our work permit as well, which necessitated a relocation to neighboring Zambia.
The Lord had actually talked to us about going to Zambia much earlier, but at that time the A/G USA was not working in that nation. By the time we lost our work permit for Zimbabwe, however, that had changed and a couple was on the way to Zambia.
Our Third Term (1998-2002)
Our third term was split between Zimbabwe and Zambia. We continued going in and out of Zimbabwe as visitors in order to keep the Bible school going. We also assisted the national church leadership where possible.
In Zambia we developed and implemented a non-residential training program for church leaders. The Assemblies of God, U.S.A. works in Zambia with three different national churches, who together had more than tripled in number of churches during the 1990's. Most of these churches were planted by lay leaders in response to God's call. This fast growth meant there was a great need for training those God was calling into leadership, who in most cases were older, mature men and women, unable to attend a residential Bible school. The program became known as Christian Leaders Training Institute (CLTI) and was training about 400 church leaders by the end of that term. When new A/G USA personnel received work permits for Zimbabwe in late 2001 we released our ties to that country after 14 years of missionary service there. During that period of time we saw the national church in Zimbabwe triple in size and by 2001 most of those in national leadership were our former students. We felt good about the impact we had been able to make there.
Our Fourth Term (2003-2008)
During our fourth term we focused on further developing the CLTI program. By 2008 it had about 700 leaders enrolled in courses in over twenty centers across the nation. We led one center in Lusaka and were involved in teaching and advising in the development of two other centers. The need for answers to some of the issues involved in setting up new centers and training church leaders led John to pursue a D.Min. degree in Leadership from AGTS, which he finished in 2008.
Our Fifth Term (2009-2013)
We returned to Zambia in 2009 for our fifth term in Africa and focused on the further expansion and development of the CLTI program. Most leadership training efforts focus on academic qualifications and largely ignore the extremely important areas of character/spiritual development and ministerial skills. John sought ways to develop better leaders for our churches in Zambia through addressing these two areas. He continued serving as the National Director for Global University. For most of the term John also served as team leader for the AGWM missionaries assigned to Zambia.
Dawn focused on developing a workable adult literacy program. Many women in our churches cannot read the Bible for themselves because they have never had the opportunity to learn to read. She has finished working with three classes of Bemba-speaking ladies and in the process has overhauled a literacy curriculum written several decades ago. Towards the end of the term, she began holding workshops to help local churches develop adult ministry programs.
Our Coming Sixth Term
We plan on returning to Zambia by the end of 2014 for our sixth and last regular, full term.
Birthdays & Anniversary:
John's birthday is May 26th.
Dawn's birthday is March 1st.
Our anniversary is June 14th.
We have three sons who are all presently living in Missouri.
Paul is an engineer. He is married to Kristie and lives in the St. Louis area. They have a daughter, Chasmine.
John is a math teacher. He is married to Shari and also lives in the St. Louis area. They have three sons, Joshua, Benjamin, and Isaac.
Joel lives in the Springfield, Missouri area and works with computers for an insurance company. He is married to Heather.
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1046 Oak Terrace Ct., Fenton MO 63026
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