Life before becoming missionaries

We are like many who walked away from Christ after school was out and then found God again after realizing that there is darkness and loneliness without HIM.  Katie moved to Central Oregon and recommitted her life to Christ right around the same time that I did and lo and behold, God had been creating us just for each other. We met at Bible study in Bend, Oregon in February of 1998 and we got engaged on Easter and it was June 27th of the same year that we were married. Two years later we had Nickolas and 14 months after that we had Sydney.

The truth is that the many years leading up to our call of missions God was testing and refining us through many small things. Things as small as providing groceries for families in need when in truth we were on the brink of needing help purchasing groceries as well. Simple acts of obedience to what God was telling us to do. Both Katie and myself had worked short term missions through our church and had really pushed to go into missions early in our marriage, but Gods’ timing is always better!

The call

It was not until 2011 that we started to hear God’s call on our lives (even if at the time we didn’t know what the call was). He had us patiently waiting to hear Him. So when He did call us we would understand and be ready to say, “YES LORD”. Soon we were selling our dream home that we built in Terrebonne, Oregon. A home that God had everything to do with. When we went to sell it in a low economy, it sold for a great price in less than 24 hours!

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How do you become a missionary?

These were the very first words that came to thought as we were processing what God was saying to us.

I thought missionaries were people that went to seminary, or pastors that got called to the missions field after already having experience.  Shows my ignorance and my thought process. I actually had to google, “how to become a missionary”.  Did you know there are actually a lot of organizations that do missions training and handles your money as well. It was a time of really asking God to show us the way. After many hours praying God asked us to do a search on sailing and Missions and it was through this that God brought us to YWAM or Youth With A Mission. A Non-denominational or as we like to say “cross denominational” missions training organization.

YWAM is 100% volunteer organization with around 40,000 volunteer staff working in 300+ countries at any given time. So, not a small organization.

We knew right from the beginning that God was calling us as a family to do this, not just Katie and I. When we looked at YWAM, we found that they had many of the beginning DTS courses available. Which DTS to choose? This is when we found a class called Family-DTS offered that had family missions in mind. After 3 months of training in a classroom we got the privilege to go to the Philippines and do ministry for 3 months there in the field. If you have a heart for missions, giving up 6 months to train and do great work is nothing, right? There are more places to do the family-DTS now but when we looked into it in 2012 there were 2 places offering it. This is how we got trained to go to Micronesia where God had called us.

The Suderno's family during their mission trip to the Philippines
Mission trip to the Philippines

After the 6 month training we joined YWAM Ships Kona as staff. At YWAM ships Katie helped with HR and placement. That breaks down to anyone looking to staff or volunteer during that time. For Scott he worked in Fleet Support. That looked like working directly with the Hawaii Aloha captains in communicating weather and volunteers working with the vessel. For almost 2 years, we worked with and around YWAM Ships 74 foot vessel the Hawaii Aloha. I recall the first day we walked through the door and Brett Curtis said, “step into your office and join me on a phone call.” Turns out to be a call with Captain Ann Ford who was about to set sail from California to Hawaii and we were coordinating how we were going to stay in touch over the 15 day passage. That was the beginning of a series of events that lead us as a family to sail from Christmas island in the country of Kiribati to the capital of the Marshall Islands, Majuro. A 3,000 nautical mile passage between islands and nations with nothing but blue water in-between.

The journey to Micronesia


Where are you called to? For us pretty quickly and prayerfully we felt that God was calling us to Micronesia. We had to look it up – do you know where it is and how many countries are included in “Micronesia”? There are a total of 5 countries in Micronesia as well as three U.S. territories in the northern part. It was while serving on the Hawaii Aloha with YWAM Ships Kona in the Marshall Islands that we felt that this was specifically where God was calling us.


Since all of the countries in Micronesia are islands we really felt that a boat would come into play. During our search for a family DTS and YWAM we found out about YWAM Ships and soon after learned about their call to Micronesia as well. YWAM Ships is where I was able to obtain additional skills in navigation through their navigation school called the S.O.N.S School. If you are interested in learning more about boats and missions I would highly recommend this school.


After working with YWAM Ships for nearly 2 years and knowing that God had called us specifically to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, we realized that God’s timing is always best. It was in 2014 that we started looking for a boat to purchase for our own use. Cloud Nine is the second vessel we looked at and immediately felt that God was giving us confirmation that this boat was the one take us anywhere safely. In 2015, we moved to Ebeye in the Marshall Islands.

Have you felt the call to missions? If you have and are ready to talk about it, let's chat!

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