Take a Look at What We’re Giving People in France!

In just over one week, we will be in France with our family and a few young people from our church!

We have begun the process of packing, and we are actually almost finished! For those who are interested, we will share some blog posts showing what we are packing, how we are doing it, and how we plan for trips like this for a family of four.

Handing out Booklets at the OlympicsFor right now, we wanted to show you the amazing booklets that we are going to hand out in France! If you have a few moments, take a look to read them and then pray for those strangers who we will meet that God would give them receptive hearts to the Gospel.

Some have asked about obtaining these booklets for themselves. We’re not sure if we can get some for you, but we are looking into that possibility because it is one of the most thorough gospel booklets we have ever seen, especially for people who have no understanding of biblical concepts. If you’re interested, please let us know!

Partner with Us

If you would like to partner with us financially as we take the Gospel to the 2024 Olympics, our expenses are going to be about $6,600. This includes our flights, our lodging, our meals, and our travel insurance. Thank you so much to those who have already donated generously to this ministry!

Instructions on how to donate to our summer ministry can be found at the following link: Donate to Huangs’ Summer 2024 Missions Trip

Praises and Prayer Requests


  • God has opened the door for our whole family to participate in this ministry together
  • All the details have come together smoothly for our trip

Prayer Requests

  • All of the funds to cover our expenses as this is not part of our regular church ministry
  • Ease of travel for our kids, especially when they miss naps
  • Preparation of the hearts of those in France who we will meet and share the Gospel with

We’re Going to France!

2024 Summer Missions Trip TeamWe have some exciting news!

Our family is partnering with S.E.E. (Sports Event Evangelism) to bring the Gospel to the world at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Joining us on our trip are three young people from our church’s youth group, Joyanna, Abigail, and Chayden.

Joshua was part of the S.E.E. team at the 2016 Summer Olympics, so we have been looking forward to this opportunity for several years, especially after the cancellation of the 2020 Olympics.

Our responsibilities will be two-fold. First, we will help the group distribute Gospel booklets in multiple languages and talk to anyone who has the time to stop and go deeper. Second, we will capture photos and videos of the outreach to show what God is doing there.

Please pray for our family and for the rest of our church’s group as we prepare for this ministry later this summer. We will post updates via email and social media. If you would like to subscribe to our family’s email updates, you can do so on the sidebar here on our website.

We will also post details of our trip here on our website, including how we were able to book business class flights for our return trip for less than the cost of economy tickets! You can subscribe to our blog updates on the sidebar as well.

Partner with Us

If you would like to partner with us financially as we take the Gospel to the 2024 Olympics, our expenses will be about $6,600. This includes our flights, our lodging, our meals, and our travel insurance.

Instructions on how to donate to our summer ministry can be found at the following link: Donate to Huangs’ Summer 2024 Missions Trip

Praises and Prayer Requests


  • God has opened the door for our whole family to participate in this ministry together
  • We have three young people from our church going with us on this missions trip
  • Everyone’s passports have been secured!

Prayer Requests

  • All of the funds to cover our expenses as this is not part of our regular church ministry
  • Preparation of our hearts as we anticipate this ministry
  • Preparation of the hearts of those in France who we will meet and share the Gospel with

How To Share Life Together Even When You Aren’t Together

Back when Alyssa and I decided to get married, we determined that we were going to share as much of life together as possible. After all, we looked at marriage as a new adventure that we were going to embark on together, not separately.

But there are times when we must necessarily be apart. For example, during the first few years of marriage, Alyssa worked 30 hours a week at a day job, which meant that every day we were apart while we worked our separate jobs. As far as our ministries are concerned, though, we are committed to doing those together and have found great joy in doing so.

Sometimes we have ministry, family, and other life commitments that require us to be apart for a few days, and this week is one of those times. Nevertheless, we make sure we can still see each other and talk face-to-face on a daily basis.

5-Year Anniversary PoseOne week ago we celebrated our 5-year anniversary, and, more than ever, we want to see each other every day.

We are blessed to live in a time when technology makes it possible for us to see each other live with the touch of a button. Even 15 years ago when we were in high school, it was not this easy to see somebody from a distance.

But this was how we planned our wedding and did our marriage counseling while Alyssa taught on Guam and I lived in Minnesota, and it continues to be the way that we converse every day during those times when we cannot be together in person.

Now that we have children, this is even more important to us because our children only stay young for such a short time, and we want to be able to see them every single day as they grow and develop.

We also want our children to know that we love them and want to spend time with them every single day. Someday when they are adults, we will not have this same expectation of them, especially as they get involved in ministries, jobs, and perhaps even their own families.

Alyssa and Baby Jadon on a Video CallBut right now while they are just little guys, we want to spend every day with them, and we want to spend every day with each other as well.

If you are married, we challenge you to find a way to see your spouse face-to-face every single day, even when you are far apart. We know that a lot of people are resistant to today’s technology, but give some consideration to the benefits that it offers as well.

It is one thing to talk to someone on the phone, and it is another thing to see them while you talk to them. You can use Facetime or Facebook Messenger or Zoom (or perhaps even Skype, haha); we personally use WhatsApp because it’s the best option 😉 But with the accessibility of video calling these days, there are not many reasons not to take advantage of it when talking to your spouse.

We still don’t like to be apart from each other if we can help it, but having the ability to see each other virtually makes it much easier to do the things that we need to do and still go on this adventure of life together every single day.

If you are married, do you make it a priority to see your spouse every day on the days when they are far away?

The Pastor Who Invested Most in Me

Huang Wedding Handoff

I couldn’t stop crying.

Absolutely nothing I tried would stop the tears from flowing.

It wasn’t even a sad moment; it was one of the happiest moments of my life! But even though I usually can do a fairly decent job of hiding my emotions, I have always been a crier. Especially during extremely happy times.

But then I heard something that I had never heard before: “Who giveth this man…”

The pastor quickly fixed his mistake and asked the bride’s father the traditional question with the right terminology, but it was too late. A huge smile spread across his face as the room erupted in laughter, and I finally was able to stop crying.

In that brief moment, my future father-in-law gave me my partner for life, but not before my grandfather gave me a memory for life.

My grandpa gave me so many reasons to smile for over three decades, but that one on June 1, 2019, is definitely one of my favourites.

As I look back on life though, Grandpa did more than just provide smiles. He had a profound impact on who I am today as a person.

PastorsGod has blessed me with many amazing pastors- over a dozen of them. I will not list them here, but the people close to me have a good idea of who most of these men are.

What I love about my pastors is that they did more than just give me content. Yes, I have heard many sermons, devotionals, and Sunday School lessons from them. But it is not the preaching that I remember.

What I remember most is how they loved me and invested in me.

They invited me to their homes to eat and to sleep. Some of them even let me live in their homes for extended periods of time!

They taught me how to raise a family, how to work, and how to invest my money.

They taught me how to memorize Scripture, how to prepare Bible studies, and how to lead music in church services.

They taught me how to get out of my comfort zone and invest in other people.

But no pastor invested in me as much as Grandpa.

He started by investing first in his family and my parents before I was even born. After I entered the world, he continued to invest in me.

Joshua with GrandpaWhen I was a child, he spent so much time with me when we visited. He took me on his paper route, he brought me into the ditches to pick up pop cans, he taught me how to catch night crawlers, he took me fishing, he showed me his trapping route, and he took me up north to sell the skins from his trapping.

He always talked about God’s goodness and his desire for me to follow God too and experience that goodness. He always had a joke to tell based on whatever was happening that day.

He taught me the importance of faithfully following God and trusting his provision no matter what happened in life.

For many years he was just family, but for a year in college, he also became a colleague when he invited me to join him at his church as the Sunday song leader. Such a responsibility required a 6-hour roundtrip every weekend for several months, but it was a wonderful privilege. Each week he would tell me his sermon so that I could plan the order of service, and then we would spend Sunday serving together and spending time together at his house.

It’s one thing to watch someone do ministry for years, but it’s a greater joy to do it together with them!

The one thing that kept Grandpa going in life was the next opportunity to minister to someone. Whether that was teaching on Sunday or visiting someone during the week, he wanted nothing more than to keep investing in people and telling them about God.

I am extremely blessed to have a family in which all of my grandparents were amazing, godly people that invested so much in me. I wouldn’t be the same person without any of them.

Joshua and Grandpa at Wedding

But my Grandpa Gonnerman was unique in that he was a pastor, not just to others, but also to me.

Because of that, he could participate in some of the most significant events in my life. He baptized me as a child, he personally helped me prepare to be a pastor, and he was the one in my wedding who helped me stop crying (albeit only for a moment).

In my opinion, his many investments paid off; not just in my life, of course, but also in countless other lives.

My favourite pastor has finally retired, and today he enjoys the fruits of his labour. By God’s grace, the compound interest from his investments will continue to pay dividends in his absence.

Once more I can’t help but cry.

But Grandpa has given me a reason to smile.

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'” – 1 Corithinthians 15:54

First Time in Africa!

I love to travel. I love seeing the different colors and cultures and food around the world! And I especially love to see how my brothers and sisters in Christ are serving our great God.

Alyssa Teaching with WhiteboardOur trip to Ghana was two firsts for me- first international trip with my husband (awww <3) and first visit to the continent of Africa. My new friends were so excited that Ghana was my first African experience! So what was Africa like? Let me tell you…

Culture- The culture is built on a complex system of respect for people, especially for those who are older than you are. We rarely carried anything anywhere around music camp because someone always stepped up to carry whatever we had in our hands (down to my water bottle). The students were quick to clean the chalkboard for me and rearrange space so that we didn’t do the work. I was always astounded to see what they could carry and balance on their heads! It’s so nice for them because then their hands are always free.

Alyssa with Food at Mole National ParkFood- The food was definitely unique! We were there during the tomato season so tomatoes were in everything we ate in some form or another. We had fufu, cassava, banku, jollof rice, redred, and gari (just to name a few things :). The flavors and textures of Ghanaian foods are so unique that I don’t even know how to describe them to you… you’ll have to go and taste them for yourself! They also use lots of ground nut (American translation- peanut!) and plantain and cook with palm oil as their base for many dishes.

Shopping- We shopped both in the supermarkets and in the open-air markets of Wa. I love visiting the typical daily market because I love all the colors, sights, and smells; it reminds me of living in Perú and going to the market with my roommate and Peruvian family.

Our trip to the market was focused on buying material for curtains for our dining room/living room space. I loved flipping through piles and piles of brightly colored fabric and stretching out yards of material. Ghanaian fabric can sometimes have “surprises” tucked into the designs, like smiley faces or funny animal patterns when you see it all together. We finally decided on a fun pattern with colors to go with our simple paint colors! Watch for future pictures of our dining room/living room to see what the curtains look like 🙂

Baptist Church in GhanaChurch- Wooden benches, simple structures, open windows- these were the common denominator among the church buildings that we visited. But the church isn’t the building- it’s the people. The people greeted each other warmly and sang each song with all their enthusiasm, rejoicing in what our great Savior had done for them.

Our American churches should be ashamed at our lack of excitement in lifting praise to our Savior through song. The buildings were a little warm (by American standards) but that didn’t stop the people from squeezing another little friend or grandma onto the bench beside them. At one church, I turned around to see that most of the people behind me were under the age of 10 years old. They were sitting attentively and joining in whenever they could.

Music- The best part about teaching music in Ghana was that I was teaching the most eager learners I have ever met. They soaked up everything I told them and stayed in their seats at the end of class to ask more questions and to write down everything I had said. They all loved music and wanted to know how it worked and how to improve on what they already do with it. It was a tremendous blessing to be able to pour into someone else what has been invested in me over many years.

“You Are Welcome”

In Ghana the Best Things are Yello“You are welcome!”

As Mrs. Karis Mapes greeted us, memories of 2018 started to flood back into my mind. The standard greeting reminded me that I was once again immersed in Ghanaian culture. It wasn’t just a dream: I truly was back in Africa.

We had braved 35 hours of flight time and layovers, arriving safely in Accra shortly after 4am. But the weariness was worth it.

I happily sipped on a plastic bag of cold, purified water before going to bed. The sun was slowly making its daily appearance, but we needed all the rest we could get after two days of flying and before our 14-hour overnight bus trip.

Twelve hours later we peered through the large windows as our bus carefully pulled out of the station. The mass of humanity surrounding us parted like the Red Sea as our driver honked and started to move forward.

Loud music streamed through the speakers as we bounced along through town. “Over the speedbumps and through the potholes to Upper West Region we go!” If only that was a real song, nothing would have been more fitting to play on those CrAzY roads.

Suddenly, loud arguing and shouting ensued as we exited the city. I could distinguish a few words of English, but not enough to understand what was going on. But it was clear that someone was not happy!

I looked up to see that the driver had switched from music to movies. The source of the shouting was merely a movie for us to enjoy. Alas, the long night of quarrelsome movies had begun, a staple on Ghanaian bus trips. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the sounds.

Thankfully, I was mostly successful.

When we finally arrived at our final destination the next day, I almost felt like I was back at home.

“Bzzzzzzzz!!!” The early morning cambus (small, tricycle-like modes of transportation) whizzed by as I exited the bus and leapt over the two-foot deep street gutter.

Mr. and Mrs. Mapes, Olivia, Alyssa, and I retrieved our numerous belongings from the belly of the bus and got the attention of a couple of those cambus. Typically, we can fit two or three people inside these small taxis. This time, we divided up five people, four large suitcases, and five smaller suitcases and bags between the two cambus.

Somehow, we all fit…

“Here we go, team!” Olivia called out cheerfully as we pretended to be as skinny as kids and piled on top of each other.


First Cambu RideAh! Fresh air with a hint of diesel. Riding to the Mapes’ home in an open-air vehicle was such a refreshing way to wake up. It was also a nice contrast to the bus we had just disembarked.

Thus began an exciting two weeks in West Africa. After going to Ghana in 2018 for the first time to help with the inaugural Making Melody Camp hosted by West Africa Baptist College, I got to return this year with my new wife for the second annual week of music.

“You are welcome!”

Over and over again we were greeted by the Ghanaian nationals as they visited us at the Mapes’ home. They are so friendly! Whether you meet someone for the first time or reacquaint yourself with an old friend, they always make you feel welcome.

In the next post I will write specifically about the Making Melody Camp…if I wrote it here, this post would get really long.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring!

Back from Ghana and 100 Days of Marriage!

Making Melody CampersThank you for praying for us! We have returned safely from our trip to Ghana and have jumped back into life here in Minnesota.

The final concert for Making Melody Camp in Ghana went so smoothly! Our final rehearsal earlier in the day was quite the adventure when the power went off and we were without a keyboard and lights. But everyone was flexible and we even dodged the raindrops for a partial outdoor rehearsal. Some churches and a few community members attended the concert and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We put together a video summarizing the week of music camp (complete with wandering sheep and Ghanaian outfits!). We are praying that God will provide the next team to serve in Ghana in 2020, and we would love to talk with you more if you are interested!

We also celebrated our 100th day of marriage this week- woohoo! We’re excited to see all that God has ahead in the next 100 days.

Thanks for praying for us! Until next time, love God, make new friends, and eat your snacks!

Going, Going, Ghana!

Going, Going, GhanaWe are excited to share our first big update with you today as we are currently en route to…Ghana, Africa! We made a video to explain why we’re on this trip and what we are doing over the next two weeks. You can access it here on Facebook or here on YouTube.

Our internet access is limited, but we will send updates when we can, even after the trip is over so that we can give you a full explanation of this unique ministry opportunity.

Since getting married on June 1, we have been putting together short videos of our weekly adventures together as a married couple. If you are interested, you can find them on our YouTube page (or on Joshua‘s/Alyssa‘s Facebook pages).  Subscribe to us on YouTube if you want to know each time we post a new one!

Feel free to contact us any time via our contact page! We look forward to telling you more soon! Thanks again for praying for us!