One month after Susan and Eric were married in 1999, Eric was on a student recruiting trip for Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Southern California. At a youth event, Eric heard a sermon which ultimately led to his calling to be a pastor. One year later, Eric and Susan moved to Wilmore, Kentucky, where Eric obtained his Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary and Susan served as a Special Education Teacher. One of the meaningful friendships Susan developed during their time in Kentucky was with a friend who served as a Social Worker, working specifically with families adopting from China. Through this friendship, Susan began to sense God laying on her heart to one day adopt a daughter from China. When Susan began to share her heart for adoption with Eric, he was completely unreceptive to the idea. Over an eight-year time frame, Susan would gently remind Eric, "don't forget about the little girl we are going to adopt from China."
Susan's gentle persistence paid off in 2009 as Eric led a team to China through his role at a new church as Outreach Pastor. A day after Eric arrived in China, he heard a prayer request and story of a little girl living in a foster home who desperately needed open heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect.
This prayer request and story resonated with Eric, as he was born with a congenital heart defect and had open-heart surgery at the age of five. A few days later the team visited the foster home where Eric met this little girl for the first time. Over time and through this experience, God had completely softened Eric's heart to the idea of adoption. Through a long adoption journey and a series of absolute miracles, the little girl Eric held in his arms that day in 2009 would, years later, become their daughter.
As a result of their adoption journey, Eric's role as an Outreach Pastor, where he had the opportunity to work directly with those serving orphans in China, Burma, Nepal, Zambia and Swaziland, and the start of an orphan care ministry at their church, God began to stir their hearts toward a greater role in the orphan care movement. Faces With Names, a ministry to care for orphans and vulnerable children, was the culmination of a patient and yet persistent wife and the complete transformation of a husband unwilling to adopt. Psalm 147:4 became a meaningful verse in the formation and concept of Faces With Names. The verse says, "God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name." If God cares about stars in this way, how much more does He know and care about the millions of orphans, the many Faces With Names. Our story has led us to the point where we want to do our part in making the stories and faces of orphans real to the Body of Christ. Our vision is to give a name to every orphan face. Our mission is to serve as a catalyst ministry to engage and equip churches to create the culture of orphan care - through foster care, adoption and global orphan care. Our desire is to serve churches by providing practical and holistic strategies, as well as consultation and resources to care for vulnerable children in communities here in the United States and orphans around the world.
Eric and Susan currently reside in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with their son, Reagan, and daughters Katelyn and Hope.
"When Susan began to share her heart for adoption with Eric, he was completely unreceptive to the idea. Over an eight-year time frame, Susan would gently remind Eric, 'Don't forget about the little girl we are going to adopt in China.'