I grew up in a Christian home, prayed to receive Christ as my Savior at the age of 8, and was baptized when I was 13. I have always loved music; I began taking piano lessons when I was in elementary school, and voice lessons in high school. During my senior year in high school in Portland, Oregon, I discovered a field called music therapy and began to discover that my love for music and my compassion for people with handicaps could actually be connected.
Introduction to mission outreach
In that same year, I was one of three students chosen by the elders of Gateway Baptist Church to be “called out” as a potential future missionary. I felt honored by this special calling, but at the time did not feel particularly led by God to pursue that direction.
I graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music (emphasis Music Therapy), but before beginning a six-month internship that fall to get my certification as a registered music therapist, I decided to go on a short-term mission. In the summer of 1981 I went to Japan with Asian Access to teach conversational English in a Japanese church. I fell in love with Japan and its people, and began to sense a call to go more permanently.
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