CE National, the sponsor of Operation Barnabas, the summer discipleship program for students, has announced the adult leaders for this summer’s teams.
Orientation for the teams begin on Saturday, June 23 at the Norwalk, Calif., Grace Brethren Church. Two teams will travel throughout California through July 16. For more information, see operationbarnabas.net.
Northern California Team
Shawn Mason is the administrative leader for the Northern California team. This will be Shawn’s third time leading Operation Barnabas (2012 and 2015). Shawn has been on staff at Community Grace Brethren Church in Warsaw, Ind., as their youth pastor for four years. Shawn is married to Alex, who also led OB in 2015. Alex currently works as a medical assistant with Parkview Occupational Health. They are also the proud parents of almost 2-year-old daughter, Sadie. Shawn has been involved in youth ministry for 7-plus years and loves to see young people grow in their walk with Jesus and in their ability to share their faith with those around them. He is very excited to be leading Operation Barnabas and looks forward to seeing what God is going to do in and through these students this summer!
Marc Baldwin is from Buena Park, Calif., and is graduating from Grace College with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Management. Marc has led Operation Barnabas twice and went as a student in 2012, but he is very excited for this summer as he gets to lead in his home state! “Operation Barnabas never ceases to amaze me as students learn so much about themselves, and how to serve God and others more effectively,” says Marc. Some of Marc’s interests include playing sports, trying out new coffee shops, spending time with friends, and the performing arts. Currently, he co-leads a film club at Grace College and is a part of the school’s spring musical.
Heidi Bedford is from Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Grace College in 2011 and had the privilege of leading Operation Barnabas in 2012 and 2013. She is currently a 4th grade teacher at Grace Christian School. Heidi attends Grace Fellowship in Pickerington, Ohio, where she volunteers in the student ministries program and leads a high school girls’ small group. She says she is so excited for the opportunity to lead OB for the third time!
Bekah Kurtaneck was born in Southern California and raised in Winona Lake, Ind. She graduated from Grace College in 2013 and has lived in Columbus, Ohio; Los Angeles, Calif.; and Warsaw, Ind. since then. She is currently at Grace College again for additional schooling and will be pursuing a career in medicine in the following years. In the years since graduation, Bekah has been involved in various ministries in every city she has lived. She is passionate about working with students and seeing them follow Jesus and walk in truth. Bekah is an OB alum from 2010, led tours in 2013 and 2014, and is thrilled to be returning for this 2018 summer. She knows the Lord has incredible things planned for this group of students and cannot wait for summer 2018!
Chris Morehead is ecstatic to be a leader for his first time this summer. An OB alum, Chris is currently attending Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., majoring in Counseling. He has a passion for loving people and has worked in children’s ministry for about four years. This past summer, he interned at his home church in Columbus, Ohio under their director of children’s ministry. He loves the warm weather, but more so likes being barefoot in that warm weather (which is quite scarce for a lot of the year in Indiana). He also loves to hammock with his friends, throw a Frisbee, play spike ball and ping pong, play guitar and sing, and so much more. The thing he is most excited about for being a leader on OB is helping the students find the courage that is inside of them and learn to express that—especially in sharing their faith.
Southern California Team
Leading the Southern California team is Timothy Kurtaneck (aka. TK). This will be TK’s 19th tour with Operation Barnabas. TK has been on staff with CE National since 1995. He is the director of Operation Barnabas and youth leadership training. TK and his wife Dana have been married for 28 years and their children are Bekah (OB 2010; leader 2013, 2014, and 2018) and Nick (OB 2012). TK says, “I have had the opportunity of a lifetime to be involved with Operation Barnabas through the years. I am as committed as ever to seeing the next generation trained and equipped in ministry and to see God use them in great ways for His glory. OB 2018, here we go!”
Taylor Evans is from Dublin, Ohio but currently lives in Moundsville, W. Va., and teaches band and theatre in Bridgeport, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in music education in 2014 and then from The Great Commission Bible Institute in Sebring, Fla., in 2016. Taylor has worked with a variety of ministries and she is extremely passionate about working with and discipling youth. This is Taylor’s fifth year leading OB and she is so excited to have the opportunity to do so again. She is an OB alum from 2009 and an OBI Philippines alum as well. As a student, OB helped her grow as a follower of Christ and she can’t wait to see how the Lord works again this summer.
Andrea Farren is from Kendallville, Ind., but is currently living in Osceola, Ind., working with the student ministries department at Osceola Grace Brethren Church. She is a graduate of Grace College with a degree in youth ministry and has a heart for training up the next generation and is looking forward to helping students develop their leadership and ministry skills and walking alongside them as they grow in their relationship with Christ. She is an alum from 2010 and this will be her fourth year leading Operation Barnabas. She enjoys puns, drinking coffee, theater, art, biking, and her cats.
Max and Margaret Olmedo are from Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and attend Norwalk Grace Brethren Church. Both Max and Margaret are teachers; Max teaches Spanish at Artesia High School and Margaret, kindergarten at Alameda Elementary. Max has led once before with Margaret, and Margaret, three times before she was married to Max. Margaret also led City Life with her son, Cesar. They have four kids (26, 23, 21, and 15) and four grandkids (6, 5, 3, and an arrival in March). Max was introduced to Christ after a pastor took his homeless family into their home and has been active in ministries ever since. He loves playing the guitar (or variations of one), playing and watching soccer, and riding around on his Can Am Spider. Margaret gave her heart to Jesus early, but it was at a BNYC (Brethren National Youth Conference) that she dedicated her life and the following summer she went on OB with TK and Ed Lewis as her leaders. She loves going to Disneyland with her daughter and grandkids, watching British dramas and mysteries, and watching endless swim meets, football games and water polo matches. Max and Maggie met at Bellflower Brethren in the Spanish ministry while leading worship. They both love investing time in young people and are excited to lead again this summer in their neck of the woods.
Tristan Spuller is from Warsaw, Ind., and will be graduating from Grace College this May with degrees in youth ministry and biblical studies. Tristan has a heart for people and for seeing them grow to love Jesus Christ. He works as an office assistant at Community Grace Brethren Church in Warsaw, Ind., and serves as an adult leader for 909 Student Ministries. This will be Tristan’s third time leading on Operation Barnabas, and he is overjoyed to be a part of a program that continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of students. In addition, Tristan enjoys making waffles, playing music, and the Muppets. — from cenational.org