Steve & Cari's Testimonies

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           (Steve)        

I was saved when I was 12 years old through the ministry of a Christian Summer Camp.  I grew up in church, so I knew a lot about God and the Bible, but I had never grasped that I needed to be saved from my sin, and personally trust in Christ for salvation.  So when a camp preacher explained God's way of salvation and gave the invitation to trust in Jesus Christ and receive this precious gift, I was ready and willing to do that. 

          The Lord really started moving and directing me when I was a freshman in high school and my church youth group went on a mission trip to Mexico.  Looking back on that, I see that that was God's first call on my life to missionary service.  I knew at that time that the Holy Spirit was prompting me this is what I want you to do.  At the time, I interpreted God's call to be a call into pastoral ministry. 

          When I went to college I began preparing for the Pastorate.  After my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to go on a summer mission trip to Mozambique.  It was there that God really confirmed His call to me, that His will for my life was to serve Him on the mission field.  So I went back to school and changed my major to Missions.      

 

(Cari)

I was raised as a pastor's daughter in a wonderful home.  My parents both loved and served the Lord and surrounded me with the Word of God.  I got saved at the age of four on a family fishing trip.  I was listening to a Patch the Pirate tape, and at the end of episode a young boy was led to salvation. Listening to the plan of salvation in a child like way touched my heart.  My mother was listening with me and responded to my need for salvation by praying with me.  

Though I was raised in a Christian home and a Christian school, the ups and downs of being a PK left me hesitant of the life of the ministry, and I headed into Psychology to pursue a more secure future.  It wasn't until the end of my sophomore year of college that I ended up on a summer mission trip to Hong Kong and my life's direction was forever changed.  I silently surrendered myself and my fears of being called into the ministry, and I began to seek ways to serve Him more and more each day.  The following summer I went on yet another summer mission trip to Kyrgyzstan and it solidified that indeed God wanted me to be involved in full time ministry specifically missions.  I was at the end of my undergraduate studies and I just didn't know how exactly God would work it all out, but I was willing to follow to the uttermost with no turning back.

 

(Both)

Cari and I met in December 2000.  And if you knew Cari and I, you would know that we both have a deep, devoted, passionate love for one thing...COFFEE!  So it was only natural that God would bring us together at where else?  Starbucks.  So as our love blossomed over freshly brewed Arabian Mocha Sunnani, we also discovered that God had given both of us a deep, devoted, passionate love for Missions.  Both of us were heading in the same direction without coercion from one or the other to be missionaries. God had already planted a love for the mission field in our hearts before either of us had met!  By His sovereignty, He then led us together in marriage to fulfill our life's call. 

We were married in June 2002 and soon thereafter began our family and were busy in ministry serving as an associate to Cari's father Rev. Jerry L. Howard.  The Lord solidified our call to the Czech Republic in early 2006 after much prayer, an eye opening email, and a survey trip.  We were appointed to the Czech Republic as missionaries with ABWE in July 2006.  We first arrived in the Czech Repulic in December of 2008.