About Me

In almost every job interview, you are expected to give a two-minute answer to the question, "Tell me a little about yourself." Here's an expanded version of that answer, and a much longer version of my profile:

I lived in Union, New Jersey until I was 11 years old, before moving to Swansea, South Carolina during the summer. Besides moving south during a very hot summer, I went from a town where you could walk to school, the library, and the grocery store, to living 4 miles outside of a one-stoplight town. But we were on 10 acres of land, with dozens and dozens of uninhabited fields and woods around us, so this made for some good adventures for my brother and I.

Besides school and sports (football and track for 5 years, and wrestling for 1 year -- that is a very hard sport!), I was mostly a homebody. I think God was definitely protecting me from a lot of pain that comes from bad choices that I could have easily made. I guess one of the highlights of growing up was starting for two straight state champion football teams, including winning the last 26 games of my high school career.

I walked on the football team at Furman University, while majoring in chemistry (I knew I wanted to be a chemist since the 4th grade). By the time I was done at Furman, I had a degree in Biochemistry, I walked on the track team for 2 years, and I came back for my fifth year of football while working on my Master's Degree (in chemistry, of course). For what it's worth, I did bio-organic synthesis for anti-cancer drug research, for both my undergraduate (drugs that target specific DNA sequences) and graduate (estrogen-like compounds for breast cancer therapies) theses.

I became a Christ-follower after my freshman year. That's a whole other story, but I recount part of that (plus some doubts that I had along the way) in Do We Need Evidence for God?

The year 1999 was big for me. Joanna and I started dating in March, we were engaged in July, I got my Master's and started working in August, and we were married in December. Like Prince, we partied like it was 1999.

I worked in chemistry for almost 10 years (at a small pharma company, and then at Michelin) before joining my church staff (as Pastor of Children & Families, at Grace Church) in January 2007. Just to make life exciting, we had baby #3 (Sender), sold our house, started the new job on staff, bought a new house, spent 4 weeks fixing up the house, and moved -- all within 6 weeks.

In this job, God taught be a lot about myself.  I learned how I easily put my hope in my own competence and sufficiency. I am not all that externally competitive, but I am very internally competitive. Even when I played sports, it didn't upset me when someone else beat me; I got mad because I let him beat me. Yeah, I have major pride issues. 

On the positive end, I learned about what I am good at and what makes me feel strong. My wife and I love working with children. Through teaching, prayer, and discussion, we know that this is a core part of our mission, (or in other language, our adventure). I know that I enjoy discovering and utilizing others' strengths. I am good at knowing lots of pieces of information, and analyzing what is behind that data. Even more, I like to synthesize that information into a plan of action, to make things better. I'm much better at taking something good and helping to make it better, than starting something from complete scratch.

In 2010, we knew a change needed to happen, and spent a good part of the year trying to discern God's next step for us. After much prayer, struggle, and counsel, I came off of the church staff, even before knowing what I would do next. I explored different corporate and ministry opportunities. But in January 2011, I started working for the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Carolina, as the Director for the Allendale Unit that opened at the end of that month. That's how we wound up in this mission in Allendale.

I'm not sure if I'll get back into chemistry in the future. I loved it, and it came pretty easy to me. But, even if not, I would not consider it a waste the more than 10 years that I worked and studied in that field. God used that time at Furman and in the corporate world to teach and shape me as I needed.

You can also read another version of this on the Mission: Allenade (About) page.