Get to Know Our Family
Meet the people who make up YWAM Louisville. You will see that each member is passionate about Jesus and their role at YWAM. Each of our team members offers their unique gifts to the mission of YWAM making us a well-rounded team ready to serve the world. We hope you get to know us a little bit better and why we love working for YWAM.
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. Their adult children, Ethan and Claire, grew up in YWAM (of course) and are both serving with YWAM now in Australia.
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. Their daughter, Norah, is a sweet addition to not only the Aguilar family, but our base as a whole. If you want to learn how to find joy in the small things, hang out with this girl.
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.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Tati (Pronounced Tah-chee) never thought she would live far from the beach until God called her to good ole’ Louisville. And we’re so glad she was willing to leave the waves and sun rays to be here! Tati is a loyal friend, always going out of her way to show people they are loved. If you want to learn forgiveness from someone, Tati is your gal. She is someone who is willing to truly forgive and make things right. She is wise and has a hunger to please God which is apparent in both the good and hard times. She also has a sweet spot for Coco Crispies, so give her a box of those puppies and you’ll be quick friends, but stay away from bringing spiders around unless you want to see how quickly she can run.
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.
Neil & Juanita Brangers
Kentucky / Ohio
2015 was a big year for these two, not only because they came to DTS and saw the Lord totally rock their lives, but also because in that DTS Neil and Juanita became friends, not knowing that three years later they’d be saying “I do”. They bring a special kind of flavor to our base and have huge hearts for discipleship. You’ll always find Juan ready with a cheesy joke, especially ones involving octopi and how many tickles it takes to make them laugh. Though we love her sense of humor, we are even more blessed by her ability to encourage and build up the people around her, unafraid to stop everything and pray for anyone. And don’t let her first name throw you off—if she’s flinging foreign phrases, they’ll be Amish-style German, not Spanish. Now, you won’t find Neil speaking Juanita’s Dutch lingo, but if you listen closely you may hear a bit of a Kentucky accent. Neil has a nag for details and we see that played out in the way he meets practical needs around the base, sings with the worship team, invests in people, and shoots hoops in his free time. In high school Neil wasn’t particularly interested in God, but God was interested in him. He once found himself in a chapel service where our director, Andy, was inviting students to come to Nicaragua that summer. God 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-fledged YWAMer.
Tiara crowns others with care and compassion, so her name fits her well. She’s the type of person who asks you how you’re doing and you can tell that she really wants to know – so watch out, because if you cross paths with her you’re going to get a whole lot of love, truth, and encouragement. You’re also likely to hear ridiculous jokes at the most unlikely times. She has a passion for evangelism and making Jesus known, all over the world but especially right here in the United States. She has a powerful voice—she is passionate, caring, joyful, loving, and inclusive. She has a way of making others feel like family, and we’re so glad she’s a part of ours too.
Kevin has a passion for the Lord that is even more contagious than his ever-present smile. He is someone who lives and walks by truth—and he doesn’t keep it to himself, either. Ask him anytime and he’ll tell you what God is teaching him. He has a gift for encouraging those around him and cracking hilarious jokes. At first glance, Kevin may seem quiet, but look more closely and you’ll see that he can make you laugh just by walking in the room. Kevin has a knack for photography and loves a good bowl of ramen.
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. Their children, Judah and Selah, have a contagious joy. We dare you not to crack a smile when one of these cuties gives you a grin.
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.
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.
Ian & Jamie Grant
Ian and Jamie met for the first time when they were both students in our training schools. Now, this couple faithfully serves on staff with passion and excellence. 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. Jamie is an adventurer at heart, as well as a lover of cats, Netflix, the Cavs and all things purple. As an only child, Jamie learned to stand her ground with a grit that gives herself and our community a certain stability. She also possesses a gentleness that lets others know that they are loved and seen. Together, these two make a powerful team. We loves having them as a part of our family!
Columbia City, Indiana
Silas is the kind of guy that really loves to fix things. Not because he sees problems, but because he sees value. This is clear by the way he serves and fights for others, not letting anyone (or anything) slip under the radar. He sees things that could easily be missed down to the finest detail. This may explain his car detailing job he has before… but his appreciation for American muscle cars may explain that as well. His zeal for the Lord has given him a passion to walk in obedience, value integrity and hold truth as the standard for his life. Silas is also a fan of a good game of basketball, especially when a Mountain Dew is on the line.
Anyone who knows Amanda will definitely agree that this girl has a gift for bringing joy, lots of laughter, and a zest for life. Amanda has an eye to see and care for those who might feel unseen, and an ability to include those who might otherwise feel left out. With a personality as flavorful as hers, you might be surprised to hear her favorite snack is a good old handful of saltine crackers, but that just goes to show even more that Amanda is someone who can find wonder and joy in the simplest things.
Richie’s the only guy you can tell to take a hike without being offensive. He’s known for going on overnight hikes without bringing water, but he tells us that’s normal for Canadians. Richie’s really a citizen of the world, not just a Canuck; he’s lived in eight different countries and knows a thing or two about traveling the world. That makes him a great fit in our staff family, but of course that’s not the only reason we admire. It doesn’t take long to see that Richie has a heart to serve those around him. Whether it’s in his generosity, his willingness to drop everything to give focus and attention to a friend, or his passion for figuring out ways to provide clean water for those who don’t have it, he’s distinguished by his heart to value others above himself. Richie is also a hard worker with a knack for organization – so if you ever need a schedule made or a problem solved, you know who to call.
While Madison passionately loves her home state (as well as meatloaf, clouds, and happy tears), she’s not in Kansas anymore – and we’re so, so glad! If we’re talking about someone with a big heart who invests fully in whatever is in front of her, we’ll definitely mention Madison. She is a leader at her core and always brings a positive attitude into the room. With a personality as bubbly as hers, it’s no surprise that she is a La Croix fanatic. She is always down for a new adventure, especially if it leads to a local coffee shop. Madison adds joy, order, and intentionality to our community, and we are thankful God has brought her to be a part of our family!
Lexi is one of those people that can walk into a room and bring a gentleness and calmness to any situation. Though she may be quiet, she is a prayer warrior that truly desires to fight for and with others in their battles. Not only will she pray for you, but you may find a super encouraging note in your mailbox— she is intentional about investing in and building up the people around her. We’ve learned a lot from Lexi, including the fact that grapes are better frozen!
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.
Eliot is always up for adventure and never afraid to get his hands dirty. Maybe that’s because his family could populate a small village – he’s one of ten brothers and sisters! At any rate, that big family must be why loving people well comes so naturally to him. Leadership comes naturally, too; he’ll step into any responsibility with passion and zeal. Eliot seeks out truth, lives out truth, and speaks out truth that people need to hear – even when it’s hard. He’s a great motivator and an even better friend. Eliot doesn’t sit still for long; you’ll find him picking around on a bass guitar or jumping in on a game of basketball. Or having deep conversations about History, which he loves!
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.
Caleb, the oldest of nine siblings, may seem quiet at first glance—but don’t be fooled. He is bold and passionate, a loyal friend, a good listener, and is always looking to take risks for Jesus. Once you get to know Caleb, you’ll get some hilarious jokes and some nuggets of knowledge, along with his unique passion for sound production. While he may love working behind the scenes with the sound board, you’ll also find him on stage worshipping on the piano (and perhaps a few other instruments). And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the classic Caleb grin. Find you a friend who smiles as much as this guy!
Anyone who meets Audrey can see that she has a peaceful countenance and a sweet soul. Get to know her a little more and you’ll discover the fire in her spirit. Audrey had her life planned out before DTS. After five months committed to growing with God, she found more life than she had ever dreamed was possible. She embodies what it means to find fulfillment and satisfaction in the Lord. Her love for culture, adventure, and travel has taken her to university, a job in Korea, surfing in the Pacific, and right here to Louisville. When Audrey commits to something, she’s all in. Her depth and personality add a unique richness to our family.
Port Charlotte, Florida
If laughter is the best medicine, people who hang around Collin should be pretty healthy. He’s gifted with a hysterical sense of humor, so you won’t have a shortage of laughable moments and memories if you spend time with him. He’s not without a serious side, though, and even his ability to make people laugh comes from his genuine personality. Collin is both hard working and tenderhearted, fearless and caring. He genuinely loves and fights for others, and he’s your guy if you need someone to take on a task with joy and a light heart. So Collin’s strengths are evident. But break out the chocolate and you’ll discover his weakness in a hurry.
It was in the Summer of 2015 when we met Hunter. He came to one of our Mission Adventure outreaches and it wasn’t long before we saw him again in our Fall 2017 Discipleship Training School. He’ll tell you he knew back then that he would be a YWAMer and we’re so glad he listened! Hunter is always up to help with anything, lend a listening ear or help solve problems. He knows how to encourage the people around him and consistently speaks truth into their lives. His love for people is almost matched by his love for pizza, ice cream and Reese’s (but the love for people definitely wins). His passion for people and heart for missions makes Hunter someone contagious to be around.
Jarrett grew up on a dairy farm with four big brothers, so it’s no wonder he’s learned how to stand his ground. Jarrett exhibits true humility; we saw this during his training schools, when he was forced quite literally to slow down and lean on others after spraining both ankles simultaneously. Jarrett is dependable, hard-working, and full of grace that’s freely extended to others. His heart is not only made of gold – it’s full of love for those around him. He brings joy, enthusiasm, and a sense of wonder to everything he’s a part of. And here’s a pro tip to make Jarrett your best friend: treat him to a Mountain Dew. He’ll love you forever.
Ever meet someone who can walk into a room and with her comes energy and joy? That’s Kendra! Kendra is a bundle of creativity, laughter and compassion. It’s no surprise with her joyful heart and outgoing personality that it’s natural for her to love people deeply and be intentional in relationships. And not just relationships with people, she is intentional to pursue Jesus and proclaim His name boldly because she knows He’s the One who has rescued her. From Kendra’s fiery heart for the Lord, to her fireball personality, we love the spice she brings to our YLou family.
Walnut Creek, Ohio
Michael possesses a steady spirit that helps people feel at ease when they’re around him. He has the ability to see outside of circumstances and encourage all of us towards hope. He’s a huge fan of all things sports, especially soccer, the Buckeyes and the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you want a good friend, get to know him! He always has an ear open to listen and pushes us all a little bit closer to Jesus. Oh, and he really loves Amish food, so surprise him with a fry-pie or some Trail bologna and he’ll be a happy guy.
Rachel is a fierce friend. She is the kind of person who can easily sense how others are feeling and won’t hesitate to be a listening ear or a helping hand. She has a servant’s heart, and she will go out of her way to make sure someone feels included and loved. It’s apparent when you get to know her that this comes from a place of humility, knowing the Lord, and obeying His voice (even when it’s hard). And though “fierce” accurately describes the way she loves others, it also describes her outfit choices! If you ever need fashion advice, Rachel is your girl. Fierce friendship and fashion choices are just a couple things we love about Rachel… Get to know her and you may catch yourself getting an ab workout from all the laughing (we hear she’s got some pretty classic crazy faces that will make you die of laughter), and if you think you’ve met anyone who likes sweet potato chips as much as Rachel… BET!
Bri has both a talent and a passion for photography and capturing beauty through photos. Similar to the skill needed to take an awesome photo, those who know Bri well say she’s fierce, bold, and adventurous. And not just that, she is a humble learner who has a strong sense of stability because she roots herself in her identity as a daughter of the King. Though she typically doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry, she’s always had a love for unique rings and can bring some serious competition to the volleyball court. We’re so thankful Bri is a part of our YWAM family!
When we first met Gabi on one of our Mission Adventurers, she had just had knee surgery. Still, she trekked through Nicaraguan neighborhoods with us, sporting her robotic-looking knee brace and signature smile. I guess it’s no wonder that her name means “God is my strength;” we’ve seen her walk that out through life’s ups and downs. Gabi’s friendliness makes everyone feel like they belong, and when we say she’s “all in,” we’re not kidding. In her free time, you’ll probably find her reading anime or writing poetry while drinking a matcha latte.
Daniel & Katie Pieper
Katie and Daniel were both born and raised not too far away from Louisville, but their heart for missions makes it easy to see they’re willing to be anywhere. From living in Zambia to braving a school outreach with their sweet girl, Alex, they are determined to see Jesus made known as a family. Daniel is dependable and hardworking, always ready to give a helping hand—when a light goes out, or a car needs to be checked out, he’s your guy! Katie is passionate about truth and justice and has a mother’s heart that is clearly seen in the way that she takes care of people, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. These guys are adventurous and up for whatever God calls them to—especially when Daniel fearlessly eats all the strange foods on outreach. Katie will probably try those strange foods as well, but really she’s a Cliff Bar and trail mix kinda girl.
Hertford, North Carolina
If you’re looking for Isaac, there’s a good chance you’ll find him on the stage. Isaac loves using his musical gifts to serve the Lord in worship and is passionate about seeing others encounter God and worship Him alone. Not only do we see him worshipping on the stage, but Isaac is someone who we see worshipping the Lord with his life, living for an audience of One. You can see this in his humble heart and his willingness to follow and obey the Lord in even the smallest of things. Whether you like Hot Cheetos and lots of laughs like Isaac does or not, he’ll be your friend in an instant. People say Kentucky is the northernmost southern state. Isaac definitely keeps us southern and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
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.
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.
Jake & Gail Troyer
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), and he’s never been the same since! He has a hunger to walk closely with Jesus 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). 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 Chick-Fil-A to get her to show them off. Together, Jake and Gail are unstoppable.
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. Their son, Landon, is a firecracker who’s just as good at being adorable as he is at dribbling a basketball or riding a skateboard belly down.
Just take a few moments with Kate and you’ll immediately see that she’s a passionate person. It’s even evident in the way she talks a mile a minute! More than anything, she pursues truth and is serious about obedience and surrender to the Lord. Kate is a loyal friend and an avid iced chai drinker—and since she used to be a barista, don’t be afraid to ask her to make you one! Kate has a love not only for hand-crafted beverages but also for the seeing Jesus made known among unreached people, especially in the Middle East. Kate is as likely to be kickin’ it with her grandma as anyone her age. We think she’s remarkably mature for her age, so maybe that’s why; she just says she has an “old soul.” Either way, her depth and commitment make her a solid friend for anyone of any age.