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.
Jose & Marissa Aguilar
While Jose and Marissa were still dating, they went on a mission trip and heard about YWAM. Just like the wise old adage, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes moving across the country to join YWAM,” in a matter of months the two got engaged, got married, and signed up for DTS. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows them: this couple doesn’t back away from a challenge, tackling a new venture with tenacious faith – and a board game with fierce competitiveness. Marissa brings beauty and excellence to any task she’s given and grace to those around her. She’s brimming with giftedness, from drama to gymnastics to administrative finesse, and when we say she’s the type of person who would give her only coat to someone who doesn’t have one, we’re not talking hypothetically. Jose’s passion is the louder kind – he doesn’t shy away from challenging others to surrender their lives to God, the way he has. Jose lends technical savvy to our online presence and worship teams, and he’s the one we call when the wifi goes down or a computer is on the fritz. And while Jose adores coffee, Marissa’s a chai drinker – and as vehemently opposed to chocolate as Jose is to decaf.
St. Paris, Ohio
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.
If 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.
Not long ago, Neil was sleeping through his high school’s chapel service, as usual, when the wild-eyed guest speaker got so loud that he was rudely awakened. The speaker was none other than YWAM Louisville’s director, Andy, who was inviting students to join our summer mission trip in Nicaragua. Neil wasn’t particularly interested in God at the time, but God was interested in him. He started stirring Neil’s heart, and before long he was going to church, pursuing Jesus, and signing up for that Nicaragua trip. Now he’s a full-time, full-fledged YWAMer, bringing his characteristic attention to detail to meeting practical needs around the base, singing with the worship team, or shooting hoops. Neil’s an evangelist whose heart is tender towards the Lord and towards others. We’re pretty glad God woke him up.
Derek & Steph Culp
Ohio / Pennsylvania
Like 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.
Our friend Maddy overflows with loyalty and a joyful care for others. She channels her creative energy into wholehearted service, as well as laying down some perfectly-timed deadpan humor. Maddy leads by example: she leads herself first, making the tough choices in obeying Jesus, and others naturally follow. She deeply loves children and dreams of providing a home for orphans one day. You’ll often find her playing with kids, passing around a tin of Altoids, or sipping a mug of tea. We’d say that Maddy is one of a kind, but since she has a twin sister that’s not exactly true. But she’s uniquely loved and a particular blessing to our YWAM family.
Hannah has to be one of the most thoughtful people we’ve met. She loves her friends with a quiet commitment that’s quick to find ways to bless. And if any of that thoughtfulness stems from her tendency to get bored if she’s sitting still, channeling nonstop energy to serve others remains an admirable trait. The interests that Hannah has dipped her talented toes in are many and varied. She’s a natural athlete, known to “accidentally” run several miles while most of us are still sleeping. She’s a gifted musician – that’s her upright bass keeping the girls’ house classy. And you never know when her creativity might churn out a fresh batch of kombucha or a newly-repaired small appliance. Hannah’s quick with a laugh, but she’s serious about prayer, which makes her someone everyone wants on their team.
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.
Washington Boro, Pennsylvania
April 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.
Columbia City, Indiana
Ian 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.
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.
Always ready with a cheesy joke or an encouraging word, Juani’s the kind of thick-and-thin friend you want by your side. She’s known for being scrappy on the basketball court, and she takes that fierceness into other arenas as well: she serves her heart out, and she loves people well. Juanita’s feisty but fun, and she’s also deep – she’s quick to pray, keenly aware of God’s leading, and always on the lookout for beauty through her camera lens. And don’t let her first name throw you off – if she’s flinging foreign phrases, they’ll be Amish-style German, not Spanish.
Gail’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.
When 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.
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.
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.
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 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’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’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
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.
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.
Jake 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.
Columbia City, Indiana
Emily 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.