Jana

Hey! I’m a 35 year old American who grew up in Brazil where my parents served as missionaries through the International Mission Board. Their work was/is primarily focused on ministering to the urban poor. It consists of meeting their physical needs such as food, shelter, life skills, job training etc while forming deep and meaningful relationships with them and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to plant churches in each community among which they work so that the truth of God’s word is spread.

The reason I share so much about my parents’ ministry is because it has deeply impacted my life and my desire to serve the Lord with all that I am. My parents always included me along with my three brothers in their ministry. As a result, I have felt the desire to serve God through international missions since I was a young girl. For many years I did not know the specific direction the Lord would lead me in ministry (to be honest, I still don’t really know–I just have a small clue); all I knew was that in the right time He would guide me if I continued to trust in Him with my life. I can remember thinking ‘whatever, whenever, wherever God leads’ and trying to seek Him and be useful in the meantime. Over the years, God has given me a love for people, travel, languages, and change, and He has given me many opportunities to utilize these passions for His glory.

In 2006, I spent a year in Australia working on my masters in social work. It was a year of intense prayer and questioning as I would be at a crossroads at the end of my time there. Frankly I had no idea what to do with myself when the time came to leave Australia. I had ministry opportunities available in Australia and Mexico but I did not feel complete peace about either. I decided to return to the US to spend time with my family and buy some time.

It was the first Sunday after I returned to Arkansas (my home away from home) that the Lord lit a flame in my heart for the cause of the orphan and underprivileged-sharing God’s love with them. I hopped on the bandwagon and ended up in Fort Worth, TX working at an adoption agency. The Lord very clearly guided me to The Gladney Center for Adoption and for that reason alone was I content with being in Texas. A part of me wanted to grumble that God did not send me overseas, but the peace He provided to my soul outweighed any complaining I might have considered!

After about a year of living in Texas, God brought David into my life by way of my oldest brother Jason and has grown our hearts together. God has used David’s passion for Italy and my attitude of ‘wherever’ to shape our plans for our future. I wish I could tell you all the details about God’s work in our lives individually and together. I will tell you one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: God KNOWS what He is doing and I don’t! He is faithful and SO worthy of our complete trust in Him. And the good news is that He desires to do amazing things in and through you too! All we have to do is trust our lives to Him.

David and I are excited to see how God will use our individual passions and gifts to bring Him glory in Italy. But we are most excited to see God changing lives in a country that so desperately needs Him.