For Michael, the call to ministry began at the age of 15 when he participated in his first mission trip to Brownsville, TN to help renovate the homes of impoverished residents. In that period of time, Michael received a ministry call on his life to be a “pastor”. Later in college, Michael attended a weekly student lead worship and prayer meeting at his local church where 50-70 college students would gather for worship and prayer. It was in this period of time that the desire was planted in him to see people encounter the Lord through intimate times of worship and personal prayer.
That vision was later strengthened through an increasing interest in missions, coinciding with Michael’s increasing interest and passion for playing the guitar. In 2014, Michael received what would become one of his life verses, and the call for his life – the merging of music (the atmosphere of Heaven brought to earth), prayer (the connecting of our hearts to the Lord and His to ours) and missions (to take the Lord’s presence wherever He leads us – to go where others are) – as we follow the Lord’s direction wherever that leads:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
For Tonya, the call to ministry and specifically Missions also began at an early age as she spent considerable time with her missionary grandmother and mission-minded mom. Having led or participated in nearly 20 mission trips, both nationally and internationally; Tonya, like most of us, has a call that has been refined and shaped over time. After graduating from Howard Payne University, Tonya felt utterly lost when God changed the plans she thought He was leading her into since the 5th grade.
It was during this season that Tonya began working with the Baptist General Convention of Texas as a project coordinator. A short time later she met and married Michael and moved to the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex to begin working with a Church Planting program at a church in Keller, TX.
The Lord later led Tonya to pursue a Master’s degree in Missions from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. These were difficult years for both Michael and Tonya as they continued to try and fit themselves into a predefined box of what missions had to look like, all the while the Lord continued to refine what their call to missions would look like.
In 2011 and 2012, while living in Little Rock, the Lord clarified more of what that call looked like as ground-breakers, in the Spirit. Upon seeing revival break out again, it became clear that preparing the ground for a move of the spirit and actively participating in prophetic intercession was a major part of God’s anointing.
Since that time, Tonya has become involved with helping and mentoring young women through her involvement with the Refuge of Light, a safe home for victims of the sex trafficking trade. Tonya’s many passions and abilities remain diverse. She is a home school mom, singer, blogger, web developer and construction / remodel expert. If there is any one phrase that describes the first half of Tonya’s life, it would be Perseverance Through Adversity!