Crista and I (Todd) have been married since 1994. We met at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas where we both attended college. After we married, I worked at the University and she started teaching school. I had experienced a call to ministry in high school and didn’t know exactly how that would play out, but God had been working through a lot of Godly men in my life to disciple and prepare me for what was in store.
Shortly after we were married, the pastor of the church we were attending asked me to join the staff as the youth pastor (FBC Temple). Over the next twenty years, I served four churches, three in Texas and one in Oklahoma. My last church was in Amarillo, TX where I served for ten years. (FBC Temple; FBC Pampa; FBC Muskogee, OK; Trinity Baptist, Amarillo, TX)
Crista worked as a full-time elementary teacher for 4 years before we started having children. Our first daughter was born in 1998, then a second in 2001 and a son in 2004. They are now, 18, 15 and 12. Our oldest, Katelyn will start college this fall, back at UMHB where our journey started.
While we were serving in Amarillo, I took my first trip overseas to Tanzania, Africa. There, my heart and mind were opened to the lostness of the world. God really changed me at that time, but Crista was home about to give birth to our son Andrew, so she was having her own life-changing moment which had nothing to do with moving across the world. Neither of us were ready at the time for a life overseas and God was working and preparing us both as well as the place to which he would call us to go.
Over the next eight years, I traveled primarily to Taiwan, taking groups of students and adults to work with college students sharing the Gospel. I became more and more convinced that God was going to lead us at some point to move overseas, but I didn’t know how since Crista really didn’t seem interested. What I didn’t know was that God was working in her heart to do the same life-changing work, just in a different way and at a different pace. In 2011, she joined me on her first international trip to Taiwan and her heart was changed, but she still wasn’t ready. In 2012, God used a missionary to stick a finger in my face and challenge me directly to consider moving my family and make a life here in Taiwan.
I was terrified, but at the same time, I knew this was the moment. After returning home, I asked Crista thinking she would say no, but to my delight and terror, she said yes, let’s do it. God made a way forward and in June of 2013, we put our family and 20 suitcases on a plane and started a whole new life here in Taiwan, a decision we haven’t second guessed once.
God has given us grace beyond what we could have imagined and we have faced challenges and trials we thought were insurmountable, both in our family and in the work here. But in every situation that has come up, He has taken care of us and seen us through.
I have been able to learn a language that most thought would be impossible at my age, we have built friendships, and our children have seen that we believe what we say we believe.
We have two primary things we are involved in. We work with college students and young adults through relationships on University campuses and we work with a local church where we have a great Taiwanese pastor and also an English ministry that I serve as the pastor for that is a ramp into the mandarin church for our Taiwanese friends as well as a ministry to foreigners and expats.
When we began to work through the “How” we would move to Taiwan, we started with the IMB, but were rejected because our oldest daughter didn’t fit their sending criteria.
Our church, friends and family supported us and with their help we created an initial sending organization through our home church, Trinity Baptist (SBC) to raise funds and create our support organization. We have a board of directors that overseas this organization which has since been converted into a 501c3. The IMB’s Taiwan organization (Taiwan Baptist Mission) worked to help us by sponsoring our Missionary Visa (we were one of the first couples that the IMB agreed to sponsor in this way that they did not actually send) and continues to do so and also includes us as a part of the IMB team here in Taiwan. We are a part of the central Taiwan IMB team and participate with their work.
Our funding comes from five churches, the main one being our home church and over 150 individuals. Our board approves an annual budget for us to work and live on with some flexibility in the ministry budget based upon special needs that might arise.
Our primary relationship here is with the local church, Taichung Baptist Church. We have joined this local church and work alongside their pastor to serve him and their congregation.
Please feel free to ask anymore questions that you might want to know.
How you can get involved in Taiwan?
During the fall and spring semester we do work on university campuses that teams can come and help us with as we develop relationships and share the Gospel with students and others through personal interaction and service ministry.
In addition, during the summer, we host English camps that give us greater access to students by serving their needs and helping us get to know them more personally.
This year, we are starting our own camp – a distinctly Christian camp that would be different from the English camps we do on the University campuses. We will be inviting students from all the university work we do and also including upper level high school students from our church youth ministry. The purpose of the camp is evangelism – so the students we are inviting are non-believers. The focus of the camp is to give the students an introduction to Christianity – so our church staff (including our pastor) will come along and they will have several presentations about what it means to follow Christ that they will do in Mandarin.
Thanks for praying and considering this, please let me know any additional questions you have and let’s start working together to see what God may do!
To provide our funding, a 501c3, Mission Taiwan, helps us raise funds and provides for our ministry as we serve. Mission Taiwan is registered in Texas and complies with all US tax laws. All donations and gifts are tax deductible. Click Here to find out more and join our support team.
If you would like more information on our relationship to the IMB or how your church might consider partnering with us in Taiwan, please contact me at email@example.com