I was born into a Christian home in Blue Hill, Maine. By the age of five I was telling people that I was going to be a missionary to American Indians. Only God knows where that idea might have come from, but it became my life goal while I was growing up. I read everything I could find on Native Americans, exhausting the libraries of the various schools where I attended as I grew up. My father was a preacher, and we moved frequently so I was able to access a number of libraries.
After graduation from high school I attended Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, New York for one year. It was there that I understood for perhaps the first time that Jesus had taken my place on the cross, that I was the one who should have been on the cross because of my sin, but He took my sin on Himself instead. I renewed my confidence in Him at that time, recognizing that it was in His Word that I trusted, not in anything I could do or had done, including raising my hand, walking an aisle, or saying a prayer. Salvation is all of Him and none of me.
Upon completing the course at Word of Life I attended a state college in Massachusetts, where my family was living at the time, majoring in Elementary Education. It was my thought that perhaps I would be able to teach on a reservation and minister among native people in that way. But two years into the program my mother made me aware of a new opportunity available at Moody Bible Institute. They had just started a new major in Intercultural Ministries, one emphasis being Native Americans. I was able to finish a Bachelor’s Degree after three more years at Moody Bible Institute.
In 1980 I applied with United Indian Missions. I spent the next year and a half raising a prayer and financial support team before moving to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch in New Mexico, a Christian camp for native kids. From 1982-1992 I worked at Broken Arrow during the summer and assisted with the ministries of a local Navajo church during the remainder of the year. At the camp I had oversight of the horse program and supervised the high school age staff in keeping the facilities clean.
The Navajo people at the church and in the local community worked with me in learning their language and culture and patiently put up with my piano playing. Through their encouragement I made major improvements in my ability to play piano and gained insights into Navajo culture that I could never get from a book.
In 1992 my former pastor from the Navajo church convinced me to follow him to Flagstaff, AZ to work as a music professor at the Indian Bible College. As soon as possible after my arrival I started taking music classes at Northern Arizona University, while also teaching music. In 1999 I completed a Master of Music degree and continued teaching piano, guitar, and music theory at Indian Bible College. During this time I was working at the college through an on-loan agreement with United Indian Missions (now UIM International). In 2004 I officially terminated the on-loan relationship with UIM and went full time with Indian Bible College.