Meet Our Executive Board

Gary Derer

God brought me to EPPIC Ministries International by a very circuitous route. It started with five years in the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church, wound through a combat tour in Viet Nam, and included a law degree and a MBA in finance and a thirty year career as an attorney. Then in 2011 the Lord led me to Northrich Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, where I began an amazing spiritual journey under the discipleship of Pastor Mike Nelson. The Lord used him to help me to see salvation entirely in the light of God's grace, unclouded by any human effort. Like Paul, I had to be entirely retrained in the meaning of the Old Testament and the place of evangelism in God's plan, which is why I am so excited to be involved in this ministry. I can't wait to get back again and again to the mission field to share with others what God has taught me about the gift of eternal life made possible by His Son Jesus Christ.

Gary is a single father who lives in Richardson, Texas, with his 12 year old daughter whom he adopted at birth.

Becky Blake

God is good!~Mungu yu mwema!

I had my first opportunity to be a part of an international mission trip in June 2012. We traveled under the leadership of our Pastor, Mike Nelson. This particular trip was to Mugumu, Tanzania, where we were paired up into teams of two and assigned to travel to two different villages. My partner and I had the privilege of spending two days among the people of Nyamoko and two days among the people of Tamkeli.

How amazing it is to join God where He is already working! Not only did we experience God in such a real and tangible way, but we were also part of a nineteen person team that was blessed to see thousands of people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Oh, how beautiful the love of God is! I will never forget the wonder and hunger in their eyes and in their hearts for Him.

We are so blessed to live in a country where the life-saving and life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ is so easily accessible to everyone. However, this is not the case in so many countries, and this is why EPPIC Ministries International is so important. Words can't express how happy I am and how blessed I feel to be serving in a ministry that is not only committed to taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who otherwise would never have a chance to know Him, but is also committed to ensuring that the local national pastors raised up by Christ to lead these new church plants have been properly equipped to effectively disciple the hundreds, if not thousands, of new believers brought into those churches during an EPPIC Journey. I am forever changed by my mission experience, and I cannot wait to go again and again! Hopefully, you will choose to join us and experience first-hand the amazing things that God can use ordinary people like me to accomplish for His glory.

Becky is the mother/stepmother of seven children spaced out between Texas and Colorado and has four grandchildren.

David Woods

While visiting a member of my church in the hospital, I met Brother Mike Nelson. After spending several hours with him that night listening to him talk about international missions, my heart was sold. God's Word says to go to the uttermost parts of the world proclaiming His name. Being a minister, I knew it was our job to spread the gospel, but I just never thought about Africa. I went on my first mission trip with EPPIC in June of 2014, and it was truly a life changing experience. The people are starving to hear the Word of God, and praise be to God, so many are willing to accept the gift of salvation that He alone can offer them. It has been my privilege to serve with EPPIC Ministries in Africa and on home soil. I am so excited to be serving God with the amazing people who comprise this ministry. If what God used us to accomplish for His glory in Mererani and Monduli, Tanzania, in June 2014 is any indication of what lies ahead for this ministry, there is no other international missions organization in which I would want to serve.

David has been married to wife Regina for 24 years. They have one daughter, Tiffaney 23, one son, Nathan 14, and one grandson, Brayden 4. They reside in Claxton, Tennessee, where he serves as the pastor of Blessed Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

Irish Kinney

I've been going to church for many years, so I've known what the Bible teaches about missions for a long time. My dear friend, Mike Nelson, even tried to get me to go with him on an international mission trip for over three years. I used every excuse I could think of to justify not answering God's call to go. But then one night, God spoke to me in a dream and revealed to me that I needed to stop running from Him and answer His call to go. The next night He set me up in my bed and waited for my answer. I can't fully express in words how much my life has been spiritually blessed by saying yes to God. When I was in Mererani and Monduli, Tanzania, I saw firsthand how the biblical model for short-term missions used by EPPIC Ministries really does produce long-term results for the kingdom of God. I feel truly blessed to be serving in a ministry that goes beyond making just converts and commits to developing true disciples of Christ. I'm so excited to see what God will continue to use us to accomplish in the future for His glory.

Irish has been married for 40 years to her husband Wayne and lives in Dallas, Texas. She has been a stay-at-home mom to their four children and is now a stay-at-home grandma for two of their four grandchildren.

Mike Arp

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! I am glad that you are reading this and have an interest in what God is doing through EPPIC Ministries. As I write this, I am praying that God will speak to each of you who read these words and that He will draw you into some form of partnership in this kingdom work.

I was first exposed to this amazing ministry in January, 2014, when I had the privilege of preaching at a pastor's conference at which Brother Mike Nelson was in attendance. After the conference, Mike began to share with me, with great passion, his vision of the ministry. This vision is a biblical model of making disciples instead of just converts. I began praying about joining on an EPPIC Journey, and was overjoyed that God not only chose to send me on this life-changing journey, but also to send my precious wife Cheryl and three other ladies from our congregation! We memorized Scripture, learned to share the gospel using the EvangeCube, and then went, in June of 2015, to Makongolosi, Tanzania.

How can I begin to tell you what God did in my life on this trip? After 31 years in the faith and almost 11 years in the pastorate, I saw something I had never seen before - people who truly hungered for the Word of God. People who stopped what they were doing and gave full attention to the hearing of the gospel! It was a place where men were willing to go and start new works, as first-time pastors, and in villages previously unknown to many of them. There we saw people saved, discipleship begun, and soul winning by those new believers started on the same day! I believe in looking around, finding where God is at work, and joining Him for the kingdom's sake by going, praying, or giving. Do you? It was Jesus who said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).

I am deeply honored to be serving in a ministry that is so dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission, and I hope to meet you on the mission field in the near future. However, if you never meet me, you've missed nothing, but if you never meet Jesus, you've missed everything.

Mike has been married to his wife Cheryl for 24 years. They have three sons, Cameron, Caleb, and Daniel. They reside in Loudon, Tennessee, where he serves as the pastor of Corinth Baptist Church.