BA in Biblical Studies, Class of 2001
When I began at Atlantic Baptist University (ABU) as a 17-year-old kid, I was shy and quiet. While I was a student, Crandall provided me with opportunities to grow as an individual and discover my leadership potential. I was involved in sports (baseball and soccer), was part of a chapel worship team, and served on Student Association each year. These opportunities helped to get me out of my shell and taught me so many valuable life lessons. My studies at Crandall also had a great impact on me. Much of what I learned about the Bible, theology, and business have stuck with me and have shaped the person that I am today. Looking back, two professors in particular made a tremendous impact on my life. Dr. Dempster was my academic advisor; his teaching and mentorship set a wonderful example of academic excellence and faith. Dr. Richardson was another key mentor during my time at Crandall. I connected with Ralph during my time as student representative on the Crandall board and senate. Dr. Richardson showed mehow ministry and work could be one in the same.
During my time at Crandall, I married by wife Melanie Hall. As our time at Crandall ended, the age old ‘what to do after graduation’ question came up. Although I felt a strong call to ministry, I was unsure of how God was leading me. I was fairly certain that pastoral ministry was not in my immediate future. So, when I left Crandall in 2001, I went to work with my father-in-law in his small business. I spent 14 years working in that small business and in 2008 Melanie and I purchased the business from her parents. I tried to allow my faith and commitment to following Jesus be my guide as I worked in business, but I always felt there was a big disconnect between what I was doing for God at work and what I was doing for God at my church. I felt that my daily work was just as important to God, but the message I kept hearing was that the work I was doing for the church was more important.
In 2009, my pastor (a retired Canadian Baptist Ministries field staff) invited me to go with him for a 2-week mission trip to Kenya and Uganda. This trip completely changed the trajectory of my life. I returned home and immediately began to try to realize on a much deeper level how my faith and my work connected. In 2011, I began taking classes at ADC through their NB extension program. In 2013, Melanie and I decided to visit our good friends, Aaron and Erica Kenny who were serving as field staff in Kenya. While there, we kept wondering if God could be leading us to overseas cross-cultural ministry. This calling would be confirmed when we were approached by Canadian Baptist Ministries later that year. CBM was beginning a new work engaging churches and people in the marketplace, helping people discover how their faith and their work intersected. I felt that this was exactly the kind of thing God had been preparing me for. InAugust 2015, we were appointed to serve in the Philippines with a focus on the marketplace. So,we took our four children and moved across the globe!
We served in the Philippines until 2020 when we were requested by the Canadian Embassy to return home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After returning home, I continued to work with CBM supporting our ongoing work in the Philippines, while also beginning to engage with other CBM staff and partners in other countries/regions around the world. Upon moving home, Melanie began her own private counselling practice called Embracing Hope Counselling Services Inc. In 2021, I began a new role with CBM: Senior Associate, Vennture. Vennture is CBM’s new faith meets work department that we launched in August 2022 and I co-lead with my CBM colleague, Brenda Halk. It is amazing when I look back to see how God has used my longing to integrate faith and work and has created an opportunity to demonstrate that these can go hand in hand.
I am so grateful for my time at Crandall. Those years helped to guide me to where I am today. The friendships and the training from my degree have stuck with me. So much has changed since my first day at ABU, I am so thankful that God put opportunities and professors in my life to guide me to where I am today.