When Alicia Dunlap was in the 5th grade, she felt the Lord call her into mission work.
“A missionary visited our church and he called the young people up at the end of the service,” she remembered. “To end his prayer, he said, ‘I believe in this group there will rise pastors, there will rise missionaries.’”
When he mentioned the word missionaries, Alicia remembered her little 5th-grade heart starting to beat quickly and she began to cry.
“I didn’t know what the holy spirit felt like at the time, but now I know that was the holy spirit saying ‘this is going to be you.”
God opened up the door for Alicia in her senior year of high school to travel to Haiti for her first mission trip, and after the first trip, she was hooked. Over the next four years, she traveled to Haiti nine times.
Alicia’s husband, Chris shares a similar story.
“I was called to missions my senior year of high school,” he remembered. “I went on a trip with my youth group to Nicaragua, and then to New York City where I felt the Lord confidently calling me to missions.”
As students at Emmanuel, both Chris and Alicia honed in on their calling and with the help of professors and mentors, found their passion.
“I’m extremely thankful for Emmanuel and the professors along the way who guided me and led me,” Chris said. “They helped me realize what I was passionate about and how it relates to my calling and what God has gifted me to do.”
While at Emmanuel, Alicia had the opportunity to work with The Awakening, a World Missions organization affiliated with the IPHC, and traveled to Costa Rica and Indonesia.
It wasn’t until Chris traveled to El Doret, Kenya to work and live with EC alums, Kevin and Summer Sneed during his Agriculture internship, that he and Alicia truly gained insight into what life as missionaries looked like.
“I spent two months with the Sneeds, and Alicia joined me for three weeks of that,” he said. “We loved every minute of our time serving alongside Kevin and Summer at East Africa Bible College. For the two months, I spent in Kenya, things slowed down from the busyness you see during a short-term mission trip. You get more of a reality of what living on a mission field looks like – we weren’t doing some grand project every day.”
Chris and Alicia enjoyed their time in Kenya so much that they set their sights on returning after graduation.
After graduating in 2019, Chris and Alicia were married in January of 2020 and began working in Hartwell. In October of 2020, the Dunlap’s took the next step and were approved and commissioned by the Executive Council of World Missions in the IPHC to begin their first assignment as missionaries in…El Doret, Kenya.
While in Kenya, the Dunlaps will focus on three main areas of ministry. First, they will join the Sneeds in their work at East Africa Bible College, teaching classes and learning the administrative role. Alicia will also partner with Summer (Sneed) on a few of her projects, including Girls & Women’s ministries.
Lastly, Chris will put his Diversified Agriculture degree to use on agriculture projects around the area.
“When I was in Kenya as a student, I met a student at East Africa Bible College named Nixon and I was able to teach him and others in an Ag course,” Chris said. “This past May he graduated and went back to his home country of Malawi where he was given a Church plant from his conference. He has raised funds and has built a church, and on his property, he has a small farm already started. That’s going to go an extremely long way to support his family and ministry.”
Chris & Alicia will be in Kenya with the Sneed family for 1-2 years before heading to their long-term location, Ginga, Uganda where they hope to establish a pastoral training program, similar to East Africa Bible College.
If the Dunlap’s could give a piece of advice to anyone interested in going on a mission trip, they’d simply say…JUST GO.
“Find an opportunity,” Chris added. “Going and have that experience, whether it’s a week or two weeks, go and get emersed in another culture. Even if you’re not called to missions, it’s eye-opening.”
For Chris and Alicia Dunlap, their path always led to missions. Now, as they embark on this new journey in January 2022, they are thankful for the community at Emmanuel who helped nurture and prepare them to be ready to serve.
Click the link below to find out more about the Dunlap’s next chapter!