HopeVentures
for the gospel
About Ben & Hope
We are confident that our Lord is leading us into full-time gospel ministry together, and, God-willing, into ministry either in the United States or Europe where we may influence churches and governments for Jesus by sharing His Word of good news and by discipling new believers through local church ministry. Though we see in a glass darkly now, we are submitting our future to our sovereign, good, wise, and loving God. Our plans are our heart's desire, and like Solomon, we are asking the Lord in faith to establish our steps.

"Our Story"

We married June 2, 2018, at our church near the seminary, and we will graduate in August of 2019. We grew up in the same hometown, Lincoln, Nebraska. Though we were never social friends, our paths did cross as acquaintances. In fact, we represented rival high schools as youth advisors to the School Board for two years, meeting once a month over a meal with a few other students. We parted ways without thinking twice about it. Neither of us imagined we would marry anyone from Lincoln … but our Lord had different plans. After Ben graduated in 2015 from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and Hope graduated in 2016 from Georgetown University in D.C., our paths reconnected here at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The Lord had to prepare us separately for Kingdom work before opening our eyes to see one another! We’re thrilled for how God has written “Our Story.” Below we share how God has unfolded our individual life stories so as to weave them together into one lifelong adventure serving our King.

HOPE

BEN

God rescued me from a life of drugs and crime at the age of four. I say this tongue-in-cheek, and yet with sincerity. By claiming me for Himself at a young age and turning my desires for Him, God mercifully saved me from many sorrows. To be honest, I only vaguely remember the time when I prayed to trust Jesus as Lord; my mother remembers it clearly. Only our Lord knows the exact moment at which I passed from death to life, though I am confident it was in my early childhood. Yet, I am grateful I do not know fully, for I cannot trust in a moment of conversion but rather in Him who is faithful to persevere my trust and so bear fruit in my life for Himself by His Spirit.

Childhood

As a six year-old I remember knocking on my neighbors' doors, stuffing hand-crafted, crayon-made order forms for Bibles in their mailboxes, and calling my schoolmates to know Jesus, warning them that otherwise they would go to the Mean Place without God forever. I was compelled to do these things because I believed that God my Father had made a way for me and for everyone who would believe in Jesus to be with Him. As only a six year-old could, I "committed" my life to missions. My six-year-old self was inspired by my hero, Hudson Taylor, to rescue babies in China from infanticide and to open up an orphanage where I could share the good news of Jesus with them. Even given all of this, I never really expected to be a missionary as a kid.

Bulgaria - In 2002, the Lord led my parents, Brian and Kathy, to missions in Sofia, Bulgaria. This of course meant that my older sister and brother, Karis and Andrew, and I moved, too. Ever since that move, my dad has been training Bulgarian pastors in a Bible college there.

Nebraska - In 2006, my family returned to Nebraska on medical emergency. We stayed stateside the remainder of my teenage years for this purpose, and we rejoined Lincoln Berean Church. I mark my sixteenth year as the point when I began to hunger for spiritual maturity. Nearly every Monday evening during my junior year of high school I studied Hebrews at the dining room table of a couple in their 80's retired from ministry. We read and discussed the Word for an hour, then talked about living life as a Christian the second hour. In this couple I saw a knowledge of God manifested in a love for Him. 


College Years

I graduated in May 2016 with a BA in Government from Georgetown University. I studied abroad on exchange at the University of Oxford-Mansfield College my entire junior year. I took a break from academics in the fall of my final year to work on staff with St. Ebbe's Church in Oxford as a "church apprentice."

Georgetown University - I began college in the fall of 2012. Unable to consult immediately my earthly father for answers to my now-mushrooming world of questions in college, I learned to lean into my heavenly Father. His Word came alive to me in a new way. Never before had I so craved to read the Word each day. I saw my classmates as lost and in desperate need of Jesus. I remember crying that first term with a woman who later would disciple me. I confided to her, "I don't know what's going on inside me. It's kind of scary. I really, really want to read my Bible, and I see Jesus as the answer to everything, even in my classes." I folded into the ministry of Campus Outreach at Georgetown and joined Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Moreover, it soon became clear upon entering college that the Lord had turned my desire from politics to gospel ministry. Even without noticing it at first, I began to bring the Word to bear on all my studies. During my first semester, for example, my library desk always had two books on it. One was the course's reading assignment, such as Plato's Republic. The other was the Bible. Whenever Plato intrigued or perturbed me I would turn to Scripture to see how God answers Plato. Then I would write the Bible reference in the margins of Plato. Other examples include my history and political theory courses, in which I routinely brought biblical insight to bear on other thinkers. Outside academia, I routinely found myself with non-Christian students who wrestled with philosophical and theological questions. God melted my heart for them; they were hurting and hungry for the Truth. I saw a need for robust biblical apologetics that does not persuade people to doctrines, but introduces people to a Person, namely, Jesus Christ.

University of Oxford - I studied abroad my entire junior year. As a theology student at Oxford I was tasked to read and dialogue with the prevailing liberal criticism of the modern era that challenges the authority of Scripture, as well as its divinely inspired conception and canonization. My scholarly readings treated the Bible like meat on a chopping block. Before academic work each day I would spread the Word open before me and earnestly seek my Father to show me in greater depths the integrity of His Word and the reality of the Incarnate Word made flesh. Engagement with liberal criticism and godless philosophy in no way dinted my faith; rather, it refined it all the more, like fire purifying gold. I fully credit the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, who has continued to enlighten the eyes of my heart that I may delight in the Word and so know our Lord and Father more richly.


Apprentice at St. Ebbe's Church, Oxford - After studying on exchange at Oxford for a year, I stayed on to apprentice for the church the autumn of 2015. I particularly worked with the church's college ministries. "Hands on" experience confronted me with the reality that gospel work is very difficult and very messy. Yet, I increasingly saw Jesus Christ as supremely worthy of my whole life to labor in His harvest field. My view of Christ and His glory, not my own strength, compels me to see others come to know Him, too.


Seminary Years

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston - I began my Master of Divinity the fall of 2016 and anticipate graduation in August of 2019. Images of “abundance” and “overflowing” instantly come to mind. God has chiefly preserved my faith and even increased love for Him and His Church. My studies are leading me to worship the Person (not mere doctrines) behind all that I’m learning. Seminary is no cemetery for me! Second, God is increasingly burdening my heart for the lost. I have such a desire to see thousands (dare I say millions) of people in my generation come to know our God—for our joy and His glory! Third, God has provided a church family—North Shore Community Baptist Church—that is gospel-centered and shaping my view of church revitalization. Fourth, I have been struck by professors, seminary staff, and church members who have seen and encouraged God’s call in my life for gospel ministry, and they’re investing their time and wisdom into me. I am also a participant in the seminary’s Church Planting Training and a Byington Research Assistant.

I am blown away by God's kindness to me during seminary because I realize this is not “a given” experience for a seminary student. God is clearly establishing my steps. I am only growing in my love for Jesus and desire to advance His kingdom through His Church, and I am overjoyed to partner in marriage with Ben in gospel ministry the rest of our lives for the days, months, and years to come.
​​In his autobiography, The Confessions, St. Augustine compares God to a Physician. While we normally think of a doctor as curing patients from an illness, they also proactively immunize people before they get sick. As I reflect on my story, I see how God has protected me from deadly snares time and again. In a word, I see His grace.

My journey with the Lord began before I was even old enough to recognize and articulate His work in my life. In hindsight I see that God laid a foundation early in my life upon which He would draw me to Himself. I was born to Christian parents, Jim and Cathy, so I have been saturated in the truths of God’s Word and surrounded by His people since birth. It is out of gratitude for how God has written my story that I want to give my life to His Kingdom.

Childhood

Florida - My family moved to Florida when I was just one-and-a-half years old. I grew up as a pastor’s kid. That often meant I was the first to arrive at church with dad, and almost always the last to leave. Even from such an early age, I was comfortable at church and enjoyed being there. When I was five years old, my mom had a liver transplant. The church modeled to me what it means to be the family of God. Church friends took turns hosting and feeding my brother and me while my dad spent days and nights with my mom in the hospital. These church friends even put together a benefit talent show and gave all donations to our family.

Nebraska - Our family moved to Lincoln, NE in 2000. During our decade there, I involved myself in many church activities, such as summer camp, youth group, and volunteer projects. These opportunities bolstered my faith in the reality of the gospel. I saw faith put into action—the fruits of the gospel displayed in church members serving others. In high school, I began to hunger for greater knowledge of Christ. I was part of Debate Club, so naturally this training fueled my insistence on having clear arguments and proof in matters of faith. I also had many friends who were not Christians, and I wanted to be able to demonstrate the truth of my faith to them. Toward the end of my senior year I began to sense a call to church ministry.

College Years

I graduated in May 2015 with a BA in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Grove City College. 

Grove City College - I significantly grew in my faith through peer relationships and academics, which in turn revealed my calling to set apart gospel ministry. Throughout those years, my values began to shift from wanting fleeting worldly success to wanting an enduring relationship with Christ.

In the spring semester of my freshmen year, I joined a Men’s Housing Group called AEX (Adelfoi en Cristo, or, 'Brothers in Christ'). We were not mere housemates, but “life”-mates. We lived alongside one another for Christian fellowship, encouragement, and accountability. Our weekly routine included group dinners, Bible studies, and hall prayer. One semester we supplemented our Bible study with Bonhoeffer's Life Together, a memorable work that impressed upon me that Christian unity is only found in Christ: “Through him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship with one another.” This Christian brotherhood, manifested then in AEX, was created by Christ and I had the opportunity to participate in it. The witness of my brothers’ faith in Christ spurred me on to pursue a deeper relationship with Him.

The rigors of Grove City College’s academics also grew my knowledge of Christ. I studied the books of the Bible, biblical languages, and systematic theology. This increased my understanding of God’s Word. In addition, I also studied alternative worldviews, such as nihilism and post-modernism. So a snapshot view of a semester looked something like this: I might study the book of Romans alongside works by Sartre and Nietzsche. Instead of just believing what I had been told growing up, I tested Christianity with the weapons of the world. Christ and the truths within His Word continued to withstand attacks. I saw that Christ and faith in Him alone makes the most sense of the world.

When I went off to college, my parents moved to Arizona to serve in a new church there. So I spent my summer breaks at home in Arizona working alongside my dad at church. We co-taught Bible studies, led weekly church activities, and made visitations. I participated in Sunday morning services, and even had opportunities to preach! Through these opportunities and the encouragement I received in return, I discerned that the Lord was indeed calling me to vocational ministry. 

Seminary Years

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston - In the fall of 2015, I began my Master of Divinity. In addition, I will simultaneously pursue a Master of Theology in Preaching in the fall of 2018. I anticipate graduating with both degrees in May 2019. At the seminary, I am a Resident Life Coordinator for my dorm and a Byington Research Assistant. Concurrent with my seminary studies, I am pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church. Presently, I am a Candidate for Ministry.

In seminary, I have exponentially grown in my relationship with Christ and desire to serve the church. God has continued to bless me in seminary as he did in college with a small band of men who are becoming, God-willing, life-long friends. We're all part of the same stage of life and on track to pastoral ministry. As I see Christ in my friends and our friendships, I fall even more in love with our Lord. Furthermore, God has given me older Christian men to mentor me. They invest time and counsel in my life and want to help me discern God’s leading in whatever I do. Their investment in me makes me desire to do the same for younger Christians.

I have also had two valuable church internships. The first was in Maine at a small Baptist church. During this ten-week summer internship, the church became a second home. I was able to pastor and invest in the congregation through fellowship, prayer, and preaching. My time with them has only confirmed my great desire to be in full-time gospel ministry. The second internship was at a large Presbyterian church in Florida. This experience taught me about church leadership and the impact a church can have in its neighboring community and around the world.

Lastly, in the spring of 2017, I studied abroad in Jerusalem. During the semester, my class went on a Field Study each weekend to a different part of Israel. Our slogan was, “Read the Land, Live the Book.” The opportunity to traverse the Holy Land has richly benefitted how I read the Bible and has fed the fire in my heart to follow Jesus. As Hope and I embark on our own journey in marriage, I am thrilled to partner with her in gospel ministry the rest of our lives for the days, months, and years to come.