New Friends, Family Connections, an Amazing God

In October of 2023, I had the amazing privilege of traveling to the Philippines to see the work of Claire Marker and her husband, Tim, at the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (BCCL). Claire is a Global Missionary Partner with the NAB who grew up in the Philippines and now directs BCCL. They are training the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and leaders in the Filipino context. Most of these students are already in a ministry context and working a “secular” job to pay the bills. It was exciting to hear their stories and see their passion for ministry. Some of these students, along with Claire, host a group of Hindu students from a medical school nearby for game nights and conversations. This grew out of a global religions class where they not only learned about global religions but engaged with them in the hope of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray for this endeavor!

I also had the unique privilege of being at BCCL while Gregg Evans was teaching a week-long intensive on the epistles. Gregg, along with this wife, Maria, were NAB missionaries in Japan and then in the Philippines. Gregg took me on a whirlwind tour of churches and sites that were started by NAB missionaries in partnership with Filipino leaders. It was amazing to see the work that has continued to evolve and grow years after the initial NAB investment.

Again and again, I was greeted with warmth, and new friendships were immediately made. When my new Filipino friends discovered I was distantly related to Lee Bertsch, a former NAB missionary to the Philippines, they told stories of his influence and love for them and wanted me to pass on greetings and love to him and his family.

In the same way, I made a new friend with the pastor at Naga City. As I sat in his office, I asked if he remembered a group that came from Grace Baptist Church in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He immediately reached over to the bookshelf next to me and grabbed a framed photo of the group. Among those in the photo were my aunt and uncle, my mother-in-law who has passed away, and many more friends from my wife’s home church in Grand Forks. He immediately called his wife into the office, and she shared stories of the impact of this small group from North Dakota and how that impact continues to be felt over two decades later.

As the one who directs international missions for the NAB, I have the unique opportunities to see all God has done and continues to do around the world through our conference of churches. The impact is felt years after missionaries come off the field and mission trips are a distant memory in the life of a church. We believe God is continuing to call us to send the next wave of missionaries into the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ! We believe they, too, will make an impact that reach generations beyond them!

If you believe God may be calling you to be part of this next wave of NAB missionaries changing the world, please reach out to me at If you would like to support Claire’s ministry at BCCL, we are in desperate needs of regular contributors, or even one-time gifts; whether you are in the US or Canada, you can contribute to her ministry at BCCL. Thank you, and please prayerfully consider your role in NAB missions!

Give to BCCL – US

Give to BCCL – Canada