It was my privilege to be raised in a preacher’s home. The teaching in our home was biblical and consistent. As a result, I was taught the right way to live, how to be saved and the importance of serving the Lord. It was very easy to do the right thing, say the right thing, and act the right way. As just a young boy, I made a profession of faith. Later on, it would become apparent that it was a profession, but there was no possession. At the age of fifteen, when in trouble, I made another profession of faith. However, as with the former one, it too would prove to be non-genuine. As a result of being raised in the home of a fundamental Baptist preacher, the trials and heartaches of ministry became very personal. Therefore, as a teenager I committed myself to move into the world, as soon as high school graduation was over. It was my plan to abandon the ministry and faith that had been my instruction for so many years. Even though my plans were to give up on the One who loved me unconditionally, it became clear that He had not given up on me! The Lord had a plan for my life. My genuine conversion took place on Thursday, March 1, 2001. While attending a State Convention, as a 10th grader, the Holy Spirit gripped my soul. The preacher was Thom Allen, of Covington, Georgia. He preached a message on Lot, entitled “Be Careful What You Say Good-Bye To.” It was as though he knew the intent of my heart. Of course, it was not Brother Allen who knew it, but it was God. It was during that message that God humbled my heart about the path of destruction and damnation I was headed down. After an hour of restlessness, and the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart, I could resist no longer. I yielded, confessed my sin and embraced my Saviour. That night, I took a step toward what would become the journey of a lifetime. That trip down the aisle would be the beginning of God’s plan for Stephen. I knelt down at the altar, as a wicked sinner on his way to Hell, and rose as redeemed child of God. Since then I have been preparing for the call that God has for my life.
It was my privilege to be raised in a military home. Traveling and living in various parts of the world was normal for our family. In January 1994, God’s sovereign plan began to unfold. My father received orders to Bad Kreuznach, Germany. After six months, our neighbor invited us to church. They were relentless in trying to get our family to church. Finally, my parents agreed to go and the Lord worked miraculously and graciously on our hearts. In the summer of 1994 my mom and I received the Lord as our personal Savior, and my dad rededicated his life to God. Even though the church was some distance from our home, it was still the only fundamental Baptist church we knew of.
A few months later we heard that a fundamental Baptist was being planted in our town. The Lord brought fundamental Baptist missionary, Jim Augiar, to start a military work there. We immediately connected and began to grow spiritually. It was then that the Lord began to plant within my heart a passion for world evangelism. At the age of eight, I knew that the Lord’s will for my life was to be a missionary.
After leaving Germany, we were stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There we attended Meade County Baptist Temple under the leadership of Pastor Ray Tower. Our spiritual development continued to grow and we served in many ministries. It was there that God burdened our hearts for the bus ministry.
After graduation from High School, I prayed for the will of God concerning college. God led me to Columbus Baptist School of Ministry in Columbus, Georgia. It is a small Bible college that began for the purpose of training, mentoring and equipping missionaries, pastors, and local church workers. It is under the leadership of Dr. Marty O. Wynn, who is the pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church. I was able to serve in various ministries including Sunday School, choir, deaf ministry, bus ministry, children’s, and the printing ministry. These all served to further equip me as I pursue His call of missions on my life.
￼After salvation, I became what might be called a “regular” Christian. I attended church and tithed, but did not really do much for Christ. Everything changed in March of 2003. It was then that my dad (who is also my pastor) and I went on a mission trip to Peru. It was during that trip that the Holy Spirit convicted my heart about my lack of commitment.
God used that trip to challenge me to live for God and to return for a six-month missions internship in June of that same year. In only four weeks, God miraculously provided the needed six-thousand-dollars ($6,000) for the internship cost.
While in this six-month study, God gave me a clear call to missions. Therefore, I entered Columbus Baptist College in Columbus, Georgia. However, as has often been said, the easiest place to backslide is in a Christian atmosphere. One can get used to the Bible study, church work, prayer, etc. Thus, while at college, I began to cool off and question my call to missions.
Although God had gently tried to get my attention, it took a tragic accident to get my attention. In February of 2005, a ten-foot fall paralyzed me. As I began the long rehabilitation process, God showed His love and will for my life. This was the first time I truly had to fully trust God. Through this accident, God confirmed His will for me to be a missionary. I slowly regained my physical mobility, but my spiritual walk was also reclaimed
During the next couple of years, while recovering, God allowed me to work in my church as Youth and Children’s Pastor. During this time, God enabled me to start a bus ministry for reaching the inner-city children and adults. We also began the Discovery Kids children’s ministry, a junior-high ministry called Youth Image, and a high-school ministry called Teen Focus. In founding these ministries, I have learned many great lessons about ministry.
While working in my local church, I still yearned to know the place God would send me. In October 2007, during a mission’s conference, God began to burden my heart for Brazil. As I began to pray about Brazil for over a year-and-a-half, God brought other missionaries from Brazil that helped confirm it in my heart. In March of 2009, I publicly surrendered to follow God’s call to Brazil.