I became a civil engineer without knowing why I was becoming a civil engineer. I had very little intention or purpose in my career selection other than it just seemed to fit. I started working with the City of Auburn in 2006 specifically in water resources, which again was never on any planned career path that I had dreamed up. Little did I know that God had been working in me and preparing me for something much greater than just being a civil engineer in water resources. He was preparing me as a civil engineer in water resources TO BE a minister of His grace to a lost world!
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:16
In 2007, I went on a short-term mission trip with my church to Buloba, Uganda where we were starting a long-term partnership with a local church. This was my first trip to the developing world, and it was an eye-opening experience. During the trip, we were doing some construction, some evangelism, and some community outreach. All of these things were great, but as an engineer I am noticing things like the existing church building they were using which was dilapidated and in disrepair, the new church they were constructing which was much better but still had a lot of room for improvement, the road leading to the church property which was eroded and difficult to traverse, the church property itself which was not laid out for maximum site use or proper sanitation, the lack of an on-site water supply, etc. I was frustrated. I wanted to help, but did not have the ability on this 10 day trip with a group of people of varying backgrounds and professions to solve these issues. Then I looked around the other places we went in Uganda and realized that this wasn’t an isolated issue to this church. The need for professional design was evident all over! I came home with a desire to use my knowledge as an engineer to serve in ministry. Not just making the world a better place to go to hell from, but meeting a very real and practical physical need while sharing the hope of Christ and meeting an even greater spiritual need.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to volunteer on an EMI project trip to design a master plan for the Samfya Bible School in Samfya, Zambia. This is where I realized my place in a much larger picture that God was painting of reaching the nations for Christ. For the first time I started to see my purpose in engineering was to be a part of the body of Christ! For more details on how this experience impacted my understanding of integral missions check out my blog post here.
In January 2011, in the middle of a time of prayer and fasting I had a clear vision from God that I was to join EMI as full-time staff. At the same time God was speaking this to me, Sarah had been praying specifically for God to give me clear direction in leading our family. So, there it was…staring us in the face and it was a daunting prospect. Neither of us wanted to leave friends and family in Auburn where we were very comfortable, but we knew that we couldn’t stay put. Over the course of the next two years, God worked on our hearts and helped us realize His vision for our family. He has been loosening our grips and strengthening our faith in Him ever since.