Meet the Students – Brian & Michaella Bittner

Meet Brian and Michaella Bittner–and their sons Olivander, Inica and Leicori!

Brian and Michella have been married for 7 years. They are originally from Northern Virginia; they moved to attend Ethnos360 Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan. They made the decision to go to Bible school during their second year of marriage when they felt God steering them towards missions 

What drew Brian and Michaella to pursue missions? 

A friend challenged us with the simple idea of ‘you should be missionaries’. That was something we had previously dismissed because it didn’t line up with our priorities at the time. However, after prayerfully considering the idea as it was brought up again, we decided to at least attend the Bible school we were familiar with–New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan. During our time there we were presented with the needs of unreached people groups around the world and saw that the position God had put us in (no kids at the time, no debt, a desire to serve him, amongst others) gave us a great advantage in pursuing full-time overseas missions.  

When we first went to the Bible school to spend 2 years studying the Word of God, we knew we would never regret it, but we did not know the adventure God had in store for us if we would only say “yes”. During our time there, we felt overwhelmed with God urging us to become overseas missionaries and give our lives to full-time ministry. God has led us faithfully since our decision to pursue overseas missions, and we knew that we wanted part of our journey to take us to Durham for Missionary Training.  

“We finally made it! It seems like it’s been such a long journey in getting to training and yet it’s only been 3 years since we graduated from EBI in Jackson, Michigan.” 

Since then, we’ve had 2 more children, taken time to work in secular workplaces, built relationships with a whole new church family in a state of America we had never previously lived, and fell in love with the role in the ministry God placed us in for that season of time. Even though it took us longer than expected to get here, we have learned and grown so much in a few short years. We’ve learned how to live and thrive in ministry and community in the midst of less-than-ideal circumstances (COVID mandates, young children, health concerns), what church planting looks like here in North America, and how to be intentional disciplers. Even being required to wait for borders to open up was a test in patience and perseverance, but well worth it.  

Many people have asked us why, as Americans, we did not attend the Missouri campus [operated by our U.S. affiliate Ethnos360] for missions training. We simply decided that in light of our choice to go overseas this seemed like an easy way to get an introductory course in living in a foreign country and the processes we will likely face wherever we serve. Going overseas would include culture shock, red-tape, and discomfort; so why wouldn’t we try to grow and stretch ourselves even now? We wanted a taste of moving to a different country so that we could begin to feel and struggle with the discomfort of change and the concept of ‘foreign’. We are loving the ability to apply some of the things we’re learning in class about delving into Worldview and having a learner’s heart as we encounter different cultures and persons. Even though there have been some challenges, the benefits and blessings God continues to lavish on us have made them all that much more enriching and enjoyable. We’re so grateful to be here and so excited to see what God will ask of us next as we say “yes” to Him, one day at a time.