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Staff

Andy & Carmelita Landers

Tennessee / Missouri

It doesn’t take long to figure out what matters most to Andy. Loving Jesus, loving his family, reaching the nations, and developing leaders all top the list. As base director, Andy’s timely with truth when we need a challenge and full of stories from around the world. Carmelita is an administrative genius and discipleship guru who keeps things running smoothly around here while being “mom” to pretty much everyone around. She’s passionate about doing things with excellence and making people feel welcome. Andy and Carmelita have been in YWAM since before most of us were born, but we try not to point that out too often. Ethan and Claire, their teenagers, are as much a part of YWAM Louisville as anyone. Ethan plays that role from afar, serving on staff with YWAM in Newcastle, Australia. Claire’s artistic spirit brings beauty and creativity to art projects, her dance troupe, and the nations as she travels the world with her family and our outreach teams.

 

Randy Aills

St. Paris, Ohioallis-randy

Randy seems to be happiest when he’s helping someone else, which makes the rest of us happy, too. His heart to serve keeps his leaders sane; he loves making others successful and has an uncanny knack of remembering anything, down to the detail. Randy’s a quiet guy in a noisy crowd of YWAMers, but listen up or you might miss something deeply insightful or truly hilarious. He’s also got the most-imitated laugh around and crazy SnapChat cred.

 

 

 

Lizzy Boettcher

Cambridge, Minnesota

lizzyIf you’ve seen Lizzy’s steady spirit and tireless work ethic, you won’t be surprised to learn that she grew up on a midwestern farm. Around here you’ll see her tackling whatever task she’s given with her signature farm-girl grit. Lizzy is deeply committed to people and serves from her heart with thoughtfulness and generosity. She genuinely desires to love and welcome others, so you’ll quickly feel at peace when you’re with her. Just don’t ask her what’s involved in making sausages from those pigs her family raises. You don’t want to know.

 

 

 

Rob & Susanna Bryant

Wisconsin / Arkansas

Rob and Susanna met in our first DTS and soon afterwards got married, settled down, and started a family. But God kept stirring the call to missions in their hearts, so now they’re back and full of passion for the nations, especially Germany. Rob pays close attention to detail and is fond of exhorting others with analogies from mountain climbing or his military training. Susanna’s the southern-belle yin to Rob’s Yankee yang: bubbly, enthusiastic, and incapable of meeting a stranger. The Bryants invest their energy into multiplying worldchangers, both in our schools and at home in their little family. If you’ve met the Bryant kids, you won’t ever forget them. Gabrielle loves to sing, tell stories, and be in charge. Matthew is both fierce and sweet, mirroring his parents’ passion and determination. And little Hunter has got to be the most prayed-for, loved-on baby around.

 

Derek & Steph Culp

Ohio / Pennsylvania

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetLike the miles she’s logged training for half-marathons, Steph leaves dependability and order in her wake. She faithfully oversees our accounting office, embracing what could easily be an overwhelming job with grace and finesse, so that all of us can carry on without the lights being shut off or the food running out. Derek’s always got a story. His favorite is the story of what God’s done in his life, and he tells it every chance he gets. He also always has a joke, so at first we didn’t believe him when he said he’s been to clown college, but it’s true: he’s got an actual diploma from the prestigious Giggles & Grins Clown Alley. It’s no surprise, really, because Derek loves to bring joy to people. Derek and Steph are both solid leaders who disciple others and have a heart for hard-to-reach places. Derek says, “I married up.” We think they both did. With parents like that, baby Judah’s bound for greatness.

 

Ben Fitzwater

New Albany, Indiana

When you meet Ben, he strikes you as a pretty laid-back guy – until you get him talking about something he cares about. Whether it’s the character of God, our need for truth, or the prowess of the Indianapolis Colts, Ben’s passion runs deep. He hadn’t been a Christian for long before he went on a missions trip to Nicaragua with his church. He bumped into some fiery-eyed YWAMers there and the rest is history. Ben’s at his best when he’s leading our training schools and fueled by Qdoba queso.

 

 

 

April Funk

Washington Boro, Pennsylvania

april-croppedApril is sweetness personified. It seems like she’s never without a smile, a hug, and a listening ear. She’s also always up for an adventure! April comes from the Lancaster, PA area and is known for her fierce love for her family and friends. If you want to hear about God’s faithfulness, ask her about how God has healed her and set her free to serve him. It’s a powerful story – so it’s no wonder she’s so passionate to see him do the same in the lives of others. April has an easy enthusiasm, a generous nature, and startling dedication to potatoes – seriously, it might be the only food she ever buys.

 

 

Ian Grant

Columbia City, Indiana

ianIan is one of those refreshing individuals who has learned to live joyfully by simply being himself. Whether it’s being goofy or pulling off a crazy dance move, he loves having a good time and making other people smile. Ian loves sports, League of Legends, and sharing what God has done in his life with others. He is a humble servant who’s passionate about missions and confronts new challenges with cheerful determination. He’s also one of the most competitive people we know (but with three brothers and two sisters, who can blame him?). So if it’s basketball, board games, or mission trips, you’ll want Ian on your team. Things will get fierce in a hurry.

 

Marny Rey Ketcham

Charlotte, North Carolina

Marny is a ray of sunshine and a thoughtful friend; spend five minutes with her and you’ll instantly feel at home. She freely speaks her mind yet manages to do it with gentleness and compassion; in other words, whether you need a kick in the butt or a shoulder to cry on (or both!), she’ll be there for you. Marny is committed to hearing the Lord speak and obeying what he’s said; that’s taken her around the world and brought her here to serve in Louisville. She is creative and insatiably curious, unafraid to ask questions and learn new skills. She’s also full of fun, so it’s no surprise that few people call her by her real name, “Margaret.” Her nickname is like her wild red hair: it suits her, and we like it.

 

Karen Kulp

New Holland, Pennsylvania

When some wise old proverb-writer said “Still waters run deep,” they were probably referring to Karen Kulp. “KK”, as she’s inevitably called, won’t be the first or loudest voice to chime in to a discussion, but what she shares comes from a deep well of relationship with Jesus and passion for discipleship. Karen’s faithful and determined, happiest when she’s directly involved in seeing people grow in our training schools. But she does get a little anxious when her stash of peanut butter starts to run low.

 

 

 

Gail Pineda

Murcia, Spain

gailGail’s family is from Mexico and has served as missionaries in North Africa and Spain, so it’s no wonder that the YWAM lifestyle called her name – it’s in her blood! We’re glad this free-spirited nomad has made Louisville her home. Gail is a gentle sunbeam, bringing warmth and beauty to those around her through joyful creativity and deep relationship. She’s a worshiper through and through, whether it’s writing songs that honor Jesus, delighting in his creation with her photography, or celebrating what God has done in the people around her. Gail has many talents, but she’s quiet about it, so you might have to bribe her with Chik Fil A to get her to show them off.

 

 

Jesse & Karina Priddy

Kentucky / Monterrey, Mexico

Back when our physical presence in Louisville was still a dream and our online presence was nothing more than a hastily-assembled MySpace page, a teenaged girl south of the border somehow discovered us and told us she wanted to join our DTS. Karina has the distinction of being the first student to sign up for training with YWAM Louisville – and she’s still here, now with her husband, Jesse, and their kids. Jesse loves to make people laugh and Karina loves to laugh (and laugh, and laugh), so it’s clearly a match made in heaven. They’re more than just the life of the party, though – they’re dependable servant leaders, Jesse helping out with worship or youth ministries, Karina tackling any task she’s given. Aiden and Sophia are all dimples, personality, and chubby smiles. We love Jesse and Karina for their own sakes, but it doesn’t hurt that they’ve brought us two of the sweetest mini-YWAMers imaginable.

 

Colton Reimer

Winkler, Manitoba

coltonWhen we talk about Colton (and we often do), it’s hard not to mention his positive attitude and cheerfulness. Colton is filled with joy and finds the good in tough situations (or people!) He’s quick to laugh and make others laugh, passionate about sharing Jesus, and utterly unashamed of who he is. Colton loves sports and is probably good at all of them, even the ones he hasn’t tried yet. But like any self-respecting Canadian, his favorite is hockey. We’re grateful for countless ways that Colton enriches our community, not the least of which has been introducing us to one of the delights of Canadian cuisine, poutine.

 

 

Kristen Rossnagel

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

The number of bridesmaid’s dresses hanging in storage testify to the fact that Kristen is a friend to many. She’s trusted and respected with good reason: Kristen has walked with Jesus through sunny days and stormy ones, and it’s made her roots go deep. Kristen believes in people and invests in their growth and calling through leading our training schools and outreach teams. But she’s known for more than just her listening ear; she can whistle so high the dogs go crazy, and she’s got a hefty repertoire of cheesy jokes when the moment arises.

 

 

 

Anna Seitz

Indianapolis, Indiana

Our friend Anna is rarely seen without a smile on her face and a compliment on her lips. She has one of those sweet personalities and infectious laughs that make her a joy to be around. She’s also a deeply passionate person – passionate about Jesus and passionate about seeing injustices like sex trafficking abolished. It’s a passion that extends to a few more trivial things, like kittens, red lipstick, and all things Disney, but don’t let her bubbly side catch you off guard – Anna combines her inquisitive nature with a sharp mind and a zeal for truth, and she’ll fight, hard, for those she loves.

 

 

Rileigh Shanks

Louisville, Kentucky

Whether it’s Star Wars, classic rock, or coffee, Rileigh’s an unabashed nerd, so with her local roots she’s your gal for recommendations on the best cafés in Louisville. Rileigh traveled to England for DTS and to Kona, HI to hone her coffee skills (snobbery?), but she’s settled down to serve with YWAM right here in her hometown, and we’re so glad she did! She’s full of good stories and keen insight, and she’s deeply committed to those she loves, whether her friends and family, or the Nicaraguan kids who’ve made a home in her heart. Rileigh brings artistic skill, a passion for quality, and a willingness to work hard to our YWAM Louisville family – and if rumors are correct, she funnels that same drivenness into some pretty serious Guitar Hero sessions, too.

 

Gabe Smith

Marion, Iowa

Gabe was a kid on a youth group mission trip when he first made YWAM Louisville’s acquaintance. DTS brought him back, and now he’s a full-time part of our staff family. Gabe’s a good guy with a ready smile and a servant’s heart, attacking the task at hand with enthusiasm and excellence. He’s a natural leader and oozes creative energy, so if you’re wondering what he’s up to on any given evening, he’s probably connecting with a couple of friends, leading a spontaneous worship night, or diving into a book that’s too thick for most of us. Or he’s at ballet class – and he’s not ashamed to admit it.

 

 

Cassidy Stecklein

Columbus, Ohio

Cassidy’s story of winding up at YWAM Lousiville is a unique one: while many students come to DTS to learn about missions, Cassidy learned about DTS on the mission field. She spent several years with her family in a Muslim-majority nation, which might explain her maturity and tenacity. But it’s her depth of relationship with Jesus that marks her the most. Anyone who meets her knows that Cassidy is full of passion – whether it’s people, prayer, or a round of Settlers of Catan, she’s all in.

 

 

 

Kelly Taylor

Worden, Montana

Kelly’s tiny hometown isn’t on most maps, but she swears it’s an actual place and we’ve decided to believe her. Kelly pours her creativity into painting, cooking, exploring the outdoors, and the thousands of ways she styles her hair. She loves Jesus and it’s obvious; it’s also clear that she was born to lead others in following him. Kelly’s passionate about helping women find their true value, and she does that right here with students in our training schools and around the world with our outreach teams.

 

 

 

Hannah Joy Thomas

Summers, Arkansas

hannah-joy

Hannah Joy is a southern belle with a sassy streak that might surprise you.  Her name is a perfect depiction of who she is — joy follows her into every situation she finds herself facing.  Her bright personality and genuine excitement about life have the ability to immediately brighten any room, and her sharp wit is a tool that often aids her in her quest to bring people together through laughter.  Hannah Joy is a diligent and dedicated servant, passionate about being a voice for the voiceless and seeing justice brought to young women who were robbed of it.  She’s also constantly looking for new screamo music to add to her repertoire, so if you have any recommendations, be sure to send them her way.

 

Libby Thorngate

Burlington, Wisconsin

thorngate-libby

When Andy first pitched the idea of planting a new YWAM location, Libby seized the dream and jumped on board. Today Libby helps us remember what we are called to do and lends her considerable leadership skill to the task at hand, whether it’s a worship service or an outreach. From discipleship to coffee, Libby is all about quality, pouring her whole heart (and as many jokes as possible) into what she does. Not given to subtlety, her housemates can tell when she’s home because the sounds of her singing or smells of her cooking fill the air.

 

 

 

Jacob Troyer

Millersburg, Ohio

jakeJake met Jesus in the middle of the night in a beach house in Florida. (Yes, it was spring break, and yes, it was “that kind” of spring break.) That was a couple years ago, and he’s never been the same since! He has a hunger and to know God and walk closely with him and a passion to share God’s heart with others, whether that’s praying for their healing, encouraging others in their walk, or sharing what God’s been revealing to him personally. It’s hard to find a time when Jake isn’t smiling, either because of God’s goodness or a joke he finds hilarious (even if everyone else finds it cheesy). Jake loves fishing, softball, and food – especially his mom’s melt-in-your-mouth Amish cooking.

 

Cody & Heather Tyler

Amelia Court House, Virginia

Heather came to DTS in the spring of 2010 with stories about her amazing boyfriend, Cody. By the time Cody came to DTS a few months later, he was Heather’s amazing fiancé. Now they’ve joined our staff family, firmly attached as “mister” and “missus” – and just as amazing as ever. Cody’s known for his love of the limelight; he’s a talented musician, a constant comedian, and incapable of sitting still for long – especially if a late-night Taco Bell run is calling his name. Heather balances Cody’s crazy with a depth of compassion for others, attention to detail, and care for excellence. The two have shared Jesus in Nicaragua, central Asia, Germany, and east Asia – and they’re just getting started. And speaking of just getting started, little Landon delights us all with his baby thighs and drooly chuckles.

 

Emily Walker

Columbia City, Indiana

emilyEmily is an easy-going, fun-loving gal, but don’t let that fool you: she’s unafraid to speak out for what she believes. It’s rare to find her without an instrument in her hands, in the middle of a song she’s freestyling on the fly. You’ll also find her working hard, because she’ll happily serve wherever she’s needed. Emily might seem reserved at first, but you need only to spend a few minutes with her to discover that she’s full of jokes, passionate about evangelism and discipleship, and hungry to learn. Get to know her even more and you’ll discover that all it takes is bringing her a doughnut to become her best friend. She also cherishes a hidden aspiration to be a professional drummer.

 

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