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Both Chris and Bre grew up in a Christian home. Both went to church on a regular basis. “My parents taught me about Jesus when I was little,” recalls Bre. “When I was five years old, I decided that I truly was going to follow Him. I loved Jesus and I loved sharing with my friends about Him. My mom still tells the story of when I was six years old and had my bible in my hands, chasing my friend around the backyard telling Him all about God… He had his hands over his ears yelling that his ears were burning.”
Chris considered himself more religious in his younger years and recognized that he had no real relationship with Jesus until he was older. “It wasn’t until September 5th, 2010 that I experienced God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness for the first time… it was then that I truly committed...”
Bre walked through difficult seasons in her faith when her zeal faded and she turned her back on God. “In junior high and high school, in a sense, I carried a Christian title, but it wasn’t anything more than that. I was the good Christian girl that did the right things but my heart was far from God and I didn’t feel like I knew Jesus or His love. After I got married and moved to San Diego, I finally experienced Jesus personally and deeply in my heart again. He got me through some really tough moments of loneliness and hard times in my marriage. He changed my heart and my life and transformed me from the inside out! I fell in love with Him and my faith become solid. It was no longer a religion to me or performance for me. God filled my heart and satisfied my soul!”
God would eventually direct Chris & Bre to attend Rock Church’s year long discipleship school, IMPACT195.
“It was 195 days to life change, “ remembers Chris. “God worked individually within each of us and then eventually wove our hearts together in the calling He had for our lives…
”During their season at IMPACT195, God also provided graciously for Bre to serve on International Impact trips before each term. “I loved going to other countries and my heart knew that this was what God was calling us to, but at the time, Chris was not on the same page. The old me would have tried hard to convince him… but Jesus had taught me to trust Him. I mentioned the idea once to Chris, but didn’t say anything else. As the months passed, Chris became more and more eager to serve God in this capacity too!”
“We started praying about where Jesus would want us to go… what was next for us. We didn’t get a clear answer, but as we began to take some real steps of faith, God began to confirm we were headed in the right direction.”
“Yes,” recalls Chris. “and in January 2012, I got out of the military. It was a miracle…real miracle...my coworkers were shocked.” “Chris getting out of the military was a miracle!” recalls Bre. “At first it seemed completely impossible… but when I took it to prayer, God reminded me of the verse in the scriptures where He turned back the sun. That was impossible. But with God all things are possible and we truly got to live that out as a couple!"
Chris and Bre sensed that God was preparing them to go out into the nations long term to share His love. “I told everyone. We started preparing to leave by downsizing to a smaller house with less rent. We sold our possessions and found homes for our dogs. At one point we lived in a time one room tiny cottage where our bed looked into the kitchen and shower. Some people thought we were crazy… but we didn’t care. It was an amazing adventure God was calling us to and we had to get ready.”
Chris & Bre chose Asia as their destination. Once they committed, God provided everything needed. “It says in Hebrews that those who come to God in faith will be rewarded. We wanted to choose a place that would challenge our faith and cause it to grow. We wanted to live out literally coming to God in faith. We knew that in Asia, it would cause us to have to trust God and rely on Him all the more, so we were up for the challenge.”
“Yes,” remembers Chris. “We pretty much picked the location and bought our plane tickets before we even had the money to move and stay. But it all worked out…in August 2012 we flew out indefinitely with a heart to stay until God called us to return… we have been there ever since.”
“Asia is home,” adds Bre. “It didn’t always feel like that though. It was hard and lonely and frustrating the first year… did I mention lonely? There were many challenges in learning the language, understanding the culture, not having anyone who could feed us spiritually… we had to learn to truly feed ourselves. But we grew closer than ever before in our marriage and our reliance on Jesus grew so much more than it ever had in the states. I learned how to do so many things I thought I was incapable of doing. I learned to speak, read and write the language! I learned how to play the guitar and write songs! We got to teach English and makes friends! It went from a hard and lonely place, to a beautiful and lovely place and learning the language has become exciting for me!”
Their first year there, Chris & Bre spent a lot of time studying the language. “Studying really began to pay off… Bre is crazy, she literally writes essays in the language now…And now we truly communicate effectively with the people. We enjoy talking with them on subways and buses and loving on the beggars. Jesus has been with us, encouraging us in our language acquisition.”
Chris and Bre have also taken many opportunity to be a blessing to those around them. “Chris tutors people in English and we have an English corner every Tuesday night at a little coffee shop. The English corner has grown a lot and many of the people that attend are very interested in hearing more and more about Jesus. We teach the kids at a small local church, and I go to their morning women’s group which helps me in my language acquisition. It also helps me better understand what the women are going through or how I can encourage them. We really enjoy throwing parties at our home and blessing our friends too. Sometimes we bake them cookies! We share about God’s love whenever we can and for the most part people are very eager to hear more. We also love planning outings like camping and hiking trips.”
Because of the culture Chris and Bre are not able to openly share their faith and yet they have seen God do some amazing things in the lives of those He has divinely orchestrated to cross their path.
“I knew moving to Asia that this dynamic would grow my faith because I am a human and love to see quick results. But through respecting the culture I have truly come to care more about each individual than about the amount of results. I have seen our friend’s hearts change more and more. Some have become believers, some are so close that at times I think they actually already are, and others are interested but don’t understand. They are all at different points but I have come to the place that I truly don’t feel any pressure to convince them. I just share as God leads me and He does the rest. I just want to keep loving them in tangible ways.”
“God has provided money and provision for us every time we come close to not having enough,” shares Chris. “The money comes from unexpected people and places. We forgot to budget for utilities but God knew and when we paid for our first electricity bill, the bank accidently put three too many zeros at the end of the number. By the time it all got rectified we were given free electricity indefinitely! Our hot water machine broke and we were given free hot water for months! Our landlord gave us triple the money back from our deposit even though I showed him the receipt that he wrote in his own handwriting!”
“Yes!” recalls Bre. “There is also this little boy that Chris has been tutoring ever since we first moved here. He has been a believer for a few years since God healed his feet after boiling water accidently was spilled on them. We had an opportunity to pray for his mom who was sick. She was instantly healed and became a believer and got baptized with her son a few months later. In the summer she invited us to go with them to her hometown and meet her entire family. We got to encourage them. A month ago, the boy’s brother got in a car accident and was hurt really bad. The sister prayed for him and all the pain left! Now the brother and sister believe too and the brother’s wife! Their Dad is the only one left and he recently told us that he must be next!" When asked how we could be praying for them, Bre responded, “God spoke to my heart at the New Year. He said, ‘Do less. Love more.’ This is our prayer for the next year. We want to focus less on ‘doing’ and being busy and more on loving individuals and helping those God brings across our path. Pray we are sensitive to the Spirit and would thoroughly walk in the plans He has for us and not our own plans."
“Yea,” adds Chris. “Pray wisdom for us. We were recently given an opportunity to support the efforts of an organization that reaches out to prostitutes… pray for us in that. My brother is also moving out this way in 2014. Pray we would work well together, encourage one another and that all of our efforts would flourish under the mighty hand of God.”