Laura and I both had the privilege of being raised in Christian homes. For as long as we can remember, our families were in church. This can sometimes make it more difficult for youngsters to realize their own depravity and need for a Savior. We are thankful in our case, God opened our simple child-like hearts to receive His salvation call at rather young ages. While we didn't know each other yet (me from the Midwest and Laura from Alaska), at the ages of 6 and 4 God saved us. I recall simply understanding that the Bible taught that I am in eternal trouble because of my sin. I further recall simply believing that Jesus' death and resurrection made a way available for me to turn to trusting for forgiveness. After a few years I publicly identified my faith in Christ through baptism.. As many teens do, I found myself struggling with assurance regarding my salvation. One day at church God settled it for me after hearing testimonies of others too who had found assurance of their salvation after much struggling about it. I believe God's Word clearly teaches that His followers can rest 100% assured of our justified standing before Him. Thus, on this day God performed a heart inventory in my life. I knew I was a sinner...I believed what Christ did for me...I was trusting in Him as my Savior. That day, based on the assurance His Word provided, I asked God to help me solidify my understanding of His assured salvation in my life. What a glorious reality it is to have a solid foundation in Jesus' once and for all sacrifice! 

Laura continued to grow in her walk with Christ as she grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. Due to a providential job move for her dad, they moved to the Chicago area and she began attending the same high school that I attended.

Later in my teen years, God melted my heart for missions through the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and the others comprising what's known as "the Auca Five." Although I was scared of public speaking, I sensed a calling from God regarding preaching. The main text of Scripture that the Lord used to prick my heart for missions was Ezekiel 22:30 where God searched for someone to stand in the gap for Him in the wicked land. In similar way today, I believe God is still raising up His servants to stand in the gap for His cause in our sin-cursed world. God used this passage and all of these developing circumstances to ignite a passion for Alaska and initially missionary aviation. Concurrently, God increased a passion for missions within Laura and a love for her home state. Laura and I began dating the last month of high school, and soon began attending the same Bible college (Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI). While I completed my undergrad in missionary aviation at MBBC, God allowed me to go on several mission trips to Alaska. It was on these Alaska trips that God began giving me a burden for the native peoples of the state. After graduating college, Laura and I were married and sensed God's leading to head to Alaska for church planting missions.

In the early years of marriage, we traveled back to Alaska on several mission trips, and I completed a Master's in Biblical Counseling. In 2008 and 2012 God graced us with our two boys, Elias and Jathan. They are both definitely a reminder of God's faithfulness and grace! We praise the Lord so much for His grace and goodness in our lives! In 2011 we moved to establish our home church base in Soldotna, Alaska. After serving on staff at Soldotna Bible Chapel for over a year, our church family commissioned us for mission service in southwest Alaska.

After serving for 1 year in Bethel, Alaska God led us to return to our church base in Soldotna where I served as the Pastor of Adult Ministries at Soldotna Bible Chapel for 5 additional years. We are now embarking on a new phase of God’s leading as we plant a church in our Soldotna area that will specifically target the brokenness of addiction, homelessness, incarceration, etc… We are also privileged to continue outreach ministry to the Bethel region through a seminary and radio ministry each uniquely based in this hub for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. While we are minimally involved in the actual day to day ministry of KYKD radio, we continue our relationships and prayers for this critical ministry. It continues to be our privilege to return twice a year, where I teach block courses at the Alaska Bible Seminary in Bethel.

In addition to the tremendous privilege of being a husband and a father of 2 boys, my passions lie around preaching, discipleship, and leadership development. We count it an immense privilege to serve our faithful Redeemer God wherever He leads!

For the Spread of His Fame,

- Derek