I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and I began attending church when I was in seventh grade. I met Felicia in eighth grade and we started dating my sophomore year of high school. It was during my sophomore year that God really started to do work in my heart, and I started to experience him in my everyday life. At that time I became the worship leader for our high school youth group. I had just started learning to play the bass, and the team I led was very small and inexperienced, but God used us to lead others closer to Christ. I sought a lot of guidance concerning worship leading and dating from leaders in the church who helped me get on the right track. During a retreat my senior year of high school Felicia and I both gave our lives to Christ, and we have trusted in God’s plan for us ever since.
I am incredibly blessed to attend the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana for Mechanical Engineering. During my early years of college I was a worship leader for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I got to lead diverse teams of musicians which was fun and challenging. A typical worship service had 600+ people in attendance and would consist of Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Hymns, and Multicultural (Spanish, French, Swahili, etc.) music. When I would return home for breaks, I was also a youth leader for Faith Church. I assisted with retreats and also piloted a youth ministry for high school and college men called Epic Man Nights. Epic Man Nights involved athletic events, fun activities, and vulnerable small groups where young men could open up about their struggles and faith. This was one of the most exciting seasons of my life, and I saw many lives radically changed because of God’s work.
In May 2013 Felicia and I got married after 7 years of dating. God then blessed me with an internship in Cincinnati, Ohio working for a Johnson and Johnson company that makes minimally invasive surgical tools for throat, colon, and lung cancer procedures.
I started working at J&J Ethicon in 2015 working with Google on Robotic Surgery.
I grew up in a divorced household. My mother’s family is non-practicing Catholic and my father’s family isn’t religious. I began going to church when I started dating Joe. Once I understood that God wanted to have an intimate relationship with me, I noticed changes in my attitude and outlook on life. Caring for people has always been something that I took pride in but it meant something even more when I started to apply that passion in my spiritual life. This is when I realized that I wanted to start meeting the needs of Faith Church. While at Faith Church in Grayslake I started to work on the technology team, creating PowerPoint presentations for worship services. I also helped served as a youth leader for middle school students and participated in Sunday school activities with younger children. My senior year of high school was a pivotal one for me, Joe and I decided to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and since then we have been on an incredible journey.
In August of 2015 I graduated from the University of Illinois. I studied English as a Second Language for Elementary Education so my degree pertains to children ranging from 5 years old to 14 years old. While at the University, God placed a passion in my heart to teach students whose first language is not English. One class that I took required me to tutor college level international students and also gave me brief exposure to the TOFEL test. This was one of my first experiences teaching English to someone. The people I tutored were from Columbia, China and Japan. Working in Elementary Education has taught me the importance of meeting the needs of your students. For me, this means developing personal relationships, engaging their interests, strengths and weaknesses as well as fostering a love for cultures, languages and learning. While I begin to develop relationships with people in Shingu and Tokyo, I will start to think about how I can best reach them through English as a Second Language curriculum.
Joe and I continually strive to be globally mined people who have a passion for serving in various cultures that are different from our own. We believe that God has equipped us with a unique set of gifts and talents concerning the needs of worship and teaching and we have a strong desire to share those gifts with people. I consider myself extremely blessed to be presented with the opportunity to serve the people of Japan. This mission trip presents itself to us as an amazing opportunity to impact the lives of the people in Shingu and Tokyo as well as have our lives impacted by them.
Lily King's Story
Although I have had the opportunity to grow and further my faith in the US, through volunteering at my church and youth group, I have never truly gone out of my comfort zone for God. In Japan, a place with a completely different culture and few Christians, I will have to go out of my comfort zone for God. Because of this I will not only grow in my own faith, but also be able use my experience to help the new Christians in Japan grow in theirs, as well. Additionally, I am excited to share how Jesus changed my life, and can change theirs, as well!
Brandon Dasher's Story
More Info on Brandon to come. =D
I have grown up in a Christian household for my entire life, but I have only truly begun understanding God and His plans in the past few years. Through my experiences volunteering at my church and youth group, as well as my time spent building relationships with the people surrounding my daily life, I have been able to formulate my own understanding of God’s plan for my life. I am comfortable in trusting his guidance as well as assisting others in finding it for themselves. Because of this, I am very excited to have the opportunity to minister to those in Japan who find difficulty in understanding the meaning of their faith and those who wish to take the steps to forge stronger and better relationships with our Creator, Helper, and Savior.