Updated: Sep 14
It has been truly amazing to see how God has orchestrated everything for us to be here in
Tampa. There were so many pieces that needed to line up, but it all seemed to work out
perfectly within only a month: finding the Ukrainian refugee family we were hosting a new home,
finding an agent to manage our house in Oxford, Rachel’s nan dying and dealing with the family
issues surrounding her funeral, packing our house and shipping our stuff across the ocean, and
looking for a new place to rent here in Tampa. I am sure there’s some more that we’ve even
forgotten, but God made it all happen for us so perfectly that we strongly believe it is his plan for
us to be here today!
First let us introduce ourselves.
Hi my name is Mark. I grew up in the Philippines. When I was 14, my family and I moved to
Florida to pursue the American dream. The first couple of months being in the states were
rough. We were homeless. We, a family of six, were couch hopping. Eventually, things started
looking brighter. Five years later, I went to FIU and studied Construction Management. My
initial plan was to be a property investor, but God changed that. In my sophomore year in
college, I was reached out to and asked if I wanted to join a bible discussion. From there I
started studying the bible, and on November 26, 2008, I was baptized and became a follower of
Jesus. In my last year in college, God opened the door for me to intern for the Miami church,
and I’ve served in the ministry ever since, leading both campus ministries and teen ministries in
Miami, North Carolina, Boston and all over the U.K.
Hi, I’m Rachel. I grew up in England and had lived there my entire life until 4 weeks ago. I
didn’t grow up with any faith, as is very common in the UK, but had always believed that there
probably is a God. When I started studying chemistry at the University of Reading, at some
point within my first month there, I was asked by a friend to join a bible discussion group with
her. Begrudgingly, I went along, not knowing that that one small decision would change my life.
After months of being asked, I finally agreed to go to church with the group, and there looked
into the bible properly for the first time. After several months of bible studies, I repented and
decided to become a disciple - I was baptized on 30th January 2010, a week after my 20th
birthday. Since then, God has changed my life in incredible ways - I have learned the lesson of
never saying “never” to God. I thought I would never go to a world class university, and a year
after my baptism I got accepted into the University of Oxford for postgraduate study. I said I
would never get married and I’ve been happily married now for almost 5 years. I said I would
never live in London and in 2020 moved in to central London when me and Mark were asked to
lead the campus ministry there (my first full time ministry job). And finally, I said I would never
move to America…and look at me now!
We are excited to be working with our campus ministry here at Anchor Point. We have seven
amazing young disciples in our campus ministry who are all looking to grow in their faith and
willing to learn and be trained. We’ve just finished our third week of the semester and we’ve
already met tons of students and a few of them have already started studying the bible. During
the week, we have bible discussions at both USF and HCC; we have our Fun, Food and Faith
evening (it’s the name of our midweek service); and we have Friday night social events.
One thing that God has put in our hearts to teach the campus ministry is to have a heart for the
mission. Rachel and I were both converted during our college years and we see the importance
of sharing the gospel with as many college students as possible, as it is such a transformational
time of life. So far, we have had different times during each week where we have gone out and
shared our faith by twos, coming back to our designated spot after half an hour, and sharing
with each other how reaching out went. We then switch partners and go out again. The next
step we’re planning is to have Saturday breakfast sessions where we will teach our students
how to lead bible studies in order to equip them (Ephesians 4:12) and to help them gain
confidence to teach and instruct their friends and others with God’s word. We are also planning
to take some of our students to the Next Gen training sessions hosted by the Miami Campus
Ministry where campus ministers, interns and student leaders get training, share ideas, build
camaraderie and inspire each other in building the campus ministries here in Florida.
We are excited to see the campus ministry not only grow in numbers but also in their faith and
character. We are excited to see the Anchor Point Church become one of the hubs, where
teens across the country move to for college. And we are excited to see our students graduate
from college and serve the church here as servant leaders in all kinds of different capacities.
Mark and Rachel