Brian grew up in rural Alabama attending church regularly, but did not dedicate his life to Christ until his second year of optometry school (January 1, 2001) in Memphis, TN. After he graduated from optometry school, he served four years as an Army Optometrist. As part of his service, he was deployed to Iraq from August 2005 to August 2006 as the Chief Optometrist for the 101st Airborne Division. God used Brian's time in Iraq to foster in him a love and appreciation for other cultures and to plant a seed for missions in his heart.
After leaving the Army, Brian met and married Melissa. Brian and Melissa’s passion to learn more about God and missions led them to Western Seminary in Portland, OR in 2009. Brian began studying courses in the Biblical and Theological Studies track while continuing to work full time as an optometrist. Early on in his studies, Brian could see God’s heart for justice throughout all of Scripture (Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8; James 1:27), and God used this to ignite a passion for justice in Brian's heart.
In 2012, Brian attended the Justice Conference in Portland, OR. It was there that he learned about the prevalence of trafficking locally in Portland and across the globe. Brian knew that he needed to get involved.
Brian began volunteering for EPIK, a non-profit organization made up of men who are dedicated to reducing the demand for sex trafficking locally and nationally. He has volunteered in multiple capacities with EPIK since 2014.
Brian has a passion for God's church and believes that the church is God's chosen instrument to be His hands and feet in this world. As such, Brian has been active in his home church, Village Baptist Church (VBC), serving in multiple capacities (Elder Board, Village University teacher, VBC Anti-trafficking Team member, Personnel Committee Chairman, and others). Brian desires to see the church active and engaged in the fight against trafficking worldwide.
Melissa grew up in Casper, Wyoming. God used her love of the outdoors and a passion for sports to draw her to Himself, and she committed her life to Christ at the age of 15 at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp. Melissa continued to pursue her love of sports as a collegiate volleyball athlete, and she grew in her understanding of God through Christian mentoring and fellowship on her team.
After college, Melissa pursued a physical therapy degree at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. While still in school, God opened the door for her to serve children with developmental disabilities in Macau, China for six weeks in 1999. It was during this time that God grew in Melissa a heart for the unreached & marginalized of society, and for serving in cross-cultural ministry. She jumped at an opportunity to return to Macau and serve in the same capacity again for an entire year in 2006.
After returning to the states, Melissa continued to practice physical therapy while completing a Graduate Diploma in Intercultural Studies from Western Seminary and seeking God’s direction for future ministry. In 2012, Melissa attended a workshop at the Justice Conference on the reality and scope of the sex trafficking issue. She knew God was calling her to engage. So, she returned to school yet again, studying the sex trafficking issue extensively through her Masters in Global Development and Justice program at Multnomah University.
Melissa completed a 300-hour internship at Village Baptist Church (VBC), researching the ways that churches can engage in anti-trafficking initiatives. She helped establish the VBC Anti-trafficking Team, which is dedicated to creating awareness of the issue and mobilizing believers toward engagement. She also started leading regular anti-trafficking prayer meetings. Working under the direction of WorldVenture’s Global Director of Anti-trafficking Initiatives, she began facilitating awareness classes and trainings at Village and other local churches. In addition, after attending several mentor trainings, she began mentoring a trafficking survivor in 2016.
Brian and Melissa have had a shared heart for missions since they were married in 2008. They also have a passion to serve God in ministry as a couple. As Brian and Melissa began to engage in anti-trafficking ministry, they quickly realized that God has given them complimentary gifts and passions that work well together. One of their greatest joys is being able to serve God side by side in this area of ministry.
After many years of working as full time health care professionals, Brian and Melissa have been called to leave their professions to do anti-trafficking ministry full time. In 2016, Brian and Melissa joined WorldVenture’s Global Anti-Trafficking Team as their European Liaisons.
To find out more about our ministry plans please visit OUR MINISTRY page.