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PIONEERS Shimonoseki Team: Samantha Gross

Family Background

My parents are from Michigan, but I was born and raised in New Mexico until I was 14 years old, when my parents moved to Lynchburg, VA for my father's job.  At my birth, my mother was a born again Christian, but my father was not.  He was a very strong atheist. When I was about seven or eight years old my father professed faith in Jesus.  I have one younger brother who professed faith at the same moment as my father, he was then about five years old.  My brother is now 19, and is serving in the Army National Guard.  My mother works for Micheals Arts and Crafts as a department manager. My father is currently terminally ill. The doctors are have not diagnosed the illness, but the words Multiple Sclorosis are constantly heard inside of their offices when we visit.

Salvation Experience

I was approximatly 8 or 9 years old when I made my confession of faith. I had grown up inside of the church hearing the message of Jesus' sacrifice for me.  I had always believed in the death, burial, and resurrection since I was very young.  I came forward at a Carman concert to receive salvation.  At the time I didn't really understand what I was doing because I was eight years old, and I was just following the crowd, but I did understand that Christ was my personal savior, even if I didn't understand the ceremony surrounding it.  I didn't begin to grow in my faith until I was moved from New Mexico to Virginia.  I had just started high school, and had a very difficult time socially. My peers had made me a social outcast, and loneliness, which led to suicidal thoughts, became my enemy.  Then I entered Liberty University where I learned more about God and the Bible, which was really the instruction that I had needed from my home church but never received. Through Liberty's instruction my faith and passion for serving the Lord has grown tremendously and my high school days are a distant nightmare.

Educational Background

Heritage High School in Lynchburg, VA: Honors Diploma (with Govoner's seal) currently studying at Liberty University in Lynchburg in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language, and two minors in Government and Cross Cultural Studies.

Ministry Background

Summer 2006 Short-term missions with MCMI in Southeast Asia. Taught 1 month of ESL to Junior High School students.

Fall 2006-Spring 2007  ESL Tutor with Liberty University's English Language Institute (ELI). I would meet with foreign students for 1 hour/ week to help improve the English that they are learning inside the English Language Institute. I have also had Korean students from Liberty's Theological Seminary request tutoring sessions.