The Epp’s story began with their desire to tell others about Jesus. Charla was involved in camp ministry with Youth for Christ in Winnipeg, Manitoba as a young adult. Donovan was also interested in reaching kids with the gospel, getting involved in skateboard ministry in Manitoba.
Their paths intersected on a missions trip to Guatemala City with Youth for Christ. It was only a few years later, in 1999, that they decided to get married and searched for ministry opportunities together. They desired to start a ministry to unreached snowboarders/skateboarders in the Canadian Rockies.
Without knowing much about Ethnos (NTM at the time), they decided to go to the Bible school training in England, with plans to return to Canada. At the NTM Bible school in England, they found out about ‘unreached’ people groups never having the chance to hear the Word of God. The Lord changed the direction of the Epps from the snowy mountains of Canada to the jungle of the Philippines.
The Epps moved to the Philippines in 2003, studied Tagalog, the trade language of the Philippines for the next two years, then built a house and moved into the jungle with the Dupaninan Agta in 2005. The next 10 years of language learning had many bumps, including the serious sicknesses of their son Zane, deaths in the family, typhoid fever and other tropical diseases. During those years, relationships were deepened with the Agta as together they shared life, celebrating and mourning. The trust built over the years created a platform for the gospel message, showing the value of what they were about to hear. It was only in 2016 that they were able to teach the Agta.
“Seeing a Dupaninan Agta church birthed is one of the most exciting treasures to experience together as a family. God directed our steps to an adventure unknown to us, with greater joy than ever imagined.”
Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”