The Engage Missions Conference will feature missionaries from around the world. Below you will find biographies about most of the missionaries attending the conference. Please be sure to read about their ministries and keep them in your prayers as they continue to spread God's word.
GARY AND TAMI BYRD
The Byrds have been in the Dominican Republic planting churches, training leaders, and ministering in local schools for 9 years. God called them to the mission field after 22 years of local church ministry.
Gary and Tami have been married for almost 32 years, and they have 7 children, two of which still live with them in the Dominican Republic. Cody, their third child, along with his wife, Julia, and baby Lincoln, are now on deputation raising support to return to work along Gay and Tami in La Vega.
REV. PAUL LUSANA BUHWAHWA
Tanzania Assemblies of God,
Church at Iloganzala Mwanza
Rev. Paul Lusana Buhwahwa is serving as a senior pastor of a local church at Mwanza. God called him in 1998 and in 2001 he pioneered to start a new church at Iloganzala Mwanza under Tanzania assemblies of God.
His goal is to make sure that “NO PLACE IN TANZANIA LEFT WITHOUT HEALTHLY CHURCH”. They invite any one who is ready to partner with them to take the gospel around the whole country of Tanzania. Tanzania is a good and peaceful country full of kind people, hospitality, and great safaris.
Pastor Michael Rashidi Ng'humvi
Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania, Mhaga Branch
Pastor Michael Rashidi Ng'humvi is 38 years old and is married with 2 children. He has a degree in Bible translation, and is currently working to translate the Bible into the Zaramo language. Before becoming a pastor, Michael worked as an Evangelist in Tanzania. He has been a Pastor since 2016.
Pastor Michael's goal is to reach the Zaromo people with the love of Christ. This will be made easier after the Bible is fully translated into their language. He is also passionate about creating lasting relationships and working to disciple new believers in his community. He has a dream of all his people coming together to encourage one another to stand firm in the love of God!
Portland, Oregon (NAMB)
Josh and Amy Carter are originally from East Tennessee. They currently serve as church planters in Portland, Oregon in partnership with the North American Mission Board. Josh serves on the assessment team in the Northwest, as well as, the City Team Trainer for new planters that come to the Portland metro. They have 4 children, Grayson (10), Annabelle(7), Mallorie (5), and Avery (1).
Josh is a graduate of Southern Seminary and served as a staff pastor for over 10 years in upper East-Tennessee. Josh and Amy were also a part of Hope Church in Las Vegas, NV where Josh served as a church planting resident under Pastor Vance Pitman. While in Las Vegas, God birthed a passion and vision to plant churches in the West. For the past 6 years, Josh and Amy have had the great privilege of watching God change lives through the planting of Remedy City Church in Portland, Oregon. Remedy just celebrated 4 years as a church, and is currently apprenticing another NAMB planter, and have sent out their own missionaries to Fukuoka, Japan. The Carters have a vision to plant many churches in the Portland metro area and are asking God for 1% of their city over the next 20 years.
Calhoun County, AL (Evangelical Catalyst NAMB Missionary)
Diane grew up going to church and knowing the name of Jesus, yet never learned about a relationship with Him until moving to Denver, NC and attending Denver Baptist Church. At the age of 50, Diane surrendered her life to Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior.
Diane wanted everyone to know her Jesus and how they too could have an everlasting life with Him. She felt God calling her to missions and allowed her flesh to take over, yet through His calling became obedient to Him and followed His call and not her own. Because of this, she started serving at local areas in town, meeting people where they are at, and going on mission trips near and far, one of which was to Calhoun County in Alabama.
On June 1st, 2014, she took her first steps into Zinn Park in Anniston, AL and since then, Life has not been the same. She serves as He leads, yet focuses on four main areas: the homeless in Zinn Park, the Rapid Re-housing Program, Anniston High School, and Golden Springs Elementary School. She is also an Evangelism Catalyst serving under NAMB in Calhoun County, Alabama.
She would not change anything in her life and serves by Loving like Jesus first Loved her.
Pastor Brian Hook has served as a minister for thirty-four years in various church models and ministry positions. Brian currently serves as Pastor of Aspire Church in Tucson Arizona - a church plant that began in January of 2019. This is the second church plant where Brian and his wife, Jessica, have served as church planters. In 1999, they planted a college age church in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the past 13 years, Pastor Brian has served and started church multiplication centers at NorthWood Church in Ft. Worth, Texas as well as Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. These churches have directly multiplied over 275 church plants and mobilized numerous missionaries around the world. Pastor Brian Hook holds a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and Jessica have four children.
RENEW WORLD OUTREACH
Atlanta, Georgia & Ywam, Kona Hawaii
Amanda Palusky is a third generation missionary out of YWAM Kona, Hawaii. Her father, David Palusky also founded Renew Outreach, which exists to equip the body of Christ with tools, media, and strategies to reach the most remote with the Gospel.
After completing her bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Georgia, Amanda now spends her time in the field training, equipping, and strategizing with organizations worldwide. She works to equip field workers with tools for Bible distribution & engagement, such as spreading Gospel media on cell phones.
She currently works with both Renew in Atlanta, Georgia and the End Bible Poverty Now initiatives at YWAM, Kona.
Larisa has always had a heart for the world and for people. She gave her life to the Lord in college and eventually graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA. While still in school, she began a career as a photographer and in management while volunteering at various community programs, wellness outreaches, and serving in leadership and teaching roles at her local church. It wasn’t until after college that she went on her first mission trip. It was then that she realized that her passions were leading her into a unique calling.
Larisa now works as the Partner Relations Coordinator at Renew World Outreach, which exists to equip the body of Christ with tools, media, and strategies to reach the most remote with the Gospel. It is in this position that she harnesses her skills and passions to communicate, strategize, train, and connect field partners.
Pastor Jarman A. Leatherwood was born in York, Alabama. He confessed his life to Christ at the age of 13 and at the age of 20, he began to feel the calling from God into ministry and joined New Birth M.B. Church under the tutelage of Pastor Wallace Steele. On April 25, 2006, he preached his initial sermon and was licensed to preach shortly thereafter.
As a committed servant leader, Pastor Leatherwood is active with the Alabama State Board of Missions and serves as a Church Planting Catalyst for the Northern Region of Alabama. He also serves on the Assessment Team for Church Planters and serves as one of the Co-Coordinators for the National African American Fellowship, SBC in Alabama.
Pastor Leatherwood has a loving wife, the former Ms. Camillus Fletcher. They share three beautiful children - Jeremiah, Jakaiya, and Christian. Together with the HHR family, they are ministering the Word of God with true conviction, impacting families and being a blessing to others as the Lord continues to strengthen and guide them.
New York City, New York
Larry Holcomb is the founder and director of Urban Nations Outreach, a community development ministry that focuses on reaching New York City's immigrants and unreached people groups, and underserved communities. He has been involved with urban outreach and community development for more than 30 years. He has served in urban neighborhoods of Alabama, California and New York as an office manager, youth leader, community organizer, school teacher, pastor, church planter, and as a denominational leader. Larry has served the New York community in various ways for the past 25 years.... serving on local Queens community and school boards, volunteering in local little leagues, helping with local youth programs, and establishing the South Asian Community Center in Jackson Heights and the West African Center in Brooklyn.
He has also helped many local NYC churches to reach out to their neighborhood. Larry and his wife Linda live in the Queens section of New York City. He is a frequent guest speaker at conferences , colleges, and churches across the country.
Sav-A-Life, Inc. of Calhoun County is a pro-ABUNDANT-life family resource center which seeks to see unborn babies given a chance at life and their mothers and fathers come to eternal life in Christ. We provide free pregnancy testing, limited OB ultrasounds, parenting classes, baby items, and abortion recovery small groups.
Executive Director-Oversees the staff, volunteers, and many facets of the ministry.
Michelle began serving at Sav-A-Life as a volunteer in 2005 and came into the role of executive director in 2009. She is able to see the ministry from different perspectives because she also went to Sav-A-Life when she found I it she was expecting in her junior year. She and her husband of 28 years serve at Unity Point Church.
Community Development Coordinator-Oversees our Baby Basics parenting program and church communications, including the Baby Bottle Boomerang
Pam came in on at Sav-A-Life in 2018 and has helped the ministry expand dramatically. She and her husband have a large, beautiful family and serve at Greenbrier Road Baptist Church.