I came to the realization of my need for salvation when I was about 5 years old. My dad had started a church in Mass., and it was after one of his services there, during an alter call that I went forward to receive Christ as my Savior. I realized that I was a sinner and could not make it to heaven on my own.
Shortly after that, some missionaries came to our church, and I decided that I wanted to be a missionary. Whether it was because my friend was or that I really had an interest, I do not know, but it sparked my interest and I started reading a lot of missionary books. I always had an interest in Africa (probably because of my friend), but I was also very interested in the communist countries. One of my favorite books growing up was "Behind the Iron Curtain." I must have read it ten times.
During my last two years of high school, I started to struggle really hard with my wants and what I had always felt called to do. Eric and I were dating at that time, and I knew that he was planning on being a professional golfer. God was really working on my heart and I fought with Him for a while. He was telling me that I could not be a golfer's wife. I needed to break up with Eric. Finally, I realized that I could never be happy out of God's will and surrendered my heart to Him. I knew that I was going to have to break up with Eric. When I finally got out of the way, that is when God could work. Eric pulled me aside shortly after that, not knowing anything that was going on, and told me that God had called him to full time service.
After we got married, we faithfully served in our local church doing whatever was needed. We had no peace that that was where God wanted us, and found it very hard to wait for Him. Every time a missionary would come through, we would talk and pray to see if that was where God wanted us. Every time we would feel a burden for the lost souls, but not a calling. We prayed about staying, but every time we tried to settle in (buy a house, etc.), God would close the door and say "just wait". Finally, in His perfect timing, He showed us where He wanted us. The Mapp family came to our church in August 2004 and presented their burden for the people of Ukraine. The Lord touched both of us, but instead of talking with each other like we usually did, we prayed separately. The only reason we can guess that we did this was maybe because we were both so burdened, we could not talk with each other. God had to work on us separately. A couple weeks later, when I was doing the dishes, Eric came up to me and asked how I would feel about being a missionary to Ukraine. We then started praying about it together and felt sure that God was calling us to Ukraine.