• More about Us

    We told you a little about us as a family. Let us tell you a little about each of us





  • Brandon

    What led to this point

    I was 15 years old the first time someone called me an egg. I was confused, but the look on my asian friend's face told me it was a compliment. An egg, they went on to explain, is someone who is white on the outside but yellow at the heart.

    While it has been awhile since anyone has called me an egg, anyone who has gotten to know me over the last 20 years, knows the meaning remains true. I love Asia. I always have and always will.
    Over those same years, another passion has run parallel - I also love pastoral ministry. I believe the Church is the hope of the world. I believe Jesus is alive, that God is active, and that the Church is his vehicle for transforming this world. As such, pastoral training and investing in the next generation of leaders is something I view as paramount. If you look at my time spent each week, you will see this reality played out in a number of venues.
    Finally, a third interest area, counseling, has also emerged in the last decade or two. Well, I guess that isn't fully correct; I have been a counselor of sorts since my earliest memories. For those who don't know, I grew up with an alcoholic and drug addicted father. I lost him to Hepatitis C (from the needle drugs) and Cirrhosis of the Liver (from the drinking), but he was formative to my upbringing. He also used me as a tiny counselor almost from birth. While this was likely not the greatest of parenting strategies (or the best way to deal with his personal shame, suicidal ideations, and addiction), it has helped to foster a passion in me to come alongside those who are hurting. I believe real change is possible, difficult, but possible.
    Perhaps you have gathered by now, this opportunity at ABTS represents a trailhead - a place where several passions running in tandem have converged. Space prohibits me from mentioning the many other trails joining these three (for a list of 10 I had written earlier, click here). Thus, it feels like an understatement to say, but it is readily apparent how God has been shaping us for this position, in this place, at this moment in life. We couldn't be more excited!
    Professional Background
    I have spent nearly 20 years doing ministry. Over a decade of that, has been spent working at Crossroads Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Although my job has shifted some throughout the years, most recently, I have been serving as an elder, preacher, and head of both our Care and Counseling Department and residency program.
    The residency program is something I brought to Crossroads out of an effort to invest in the next generation of leaders and to boost pastoral longevity. It is two years in duration with a goal of sending the resident out better equipped and prepared for whatever church role they assume upon leaving. I probably should be focusing on my professional background here, but honestly, I could talk about this program for the next 20 pages. It is exciting stuff.
    Prior to returning to Crossroads, I attended seminary and received my MDIV from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) just north of Chicago. I emphasized this degree in pastoral counseling and leveraged my electives to take as many counseling classes as possible. Recently, I decided to add a second master's degree in pastoral care and counseling and am slated to graduate from Calvin Seminary this winter.
    I also spent a couple years working as a pastoral counselor and mediator. Honestly, I loved this time! If God hadn't made it clear that he wanted me in the church, I would probably still be doing this. This is something I love about the role at ABTS, as mentioned, it brings together not only the different passions God has birthed in me, but also so many of the different educational and work experiences.
    I can't believe that I've been asked to teach Asian pastors and leaders to do exactly what God has graciously allowed me to do for the last 15 years. It blows my mind!
    Quirks (Idiosyncrasies - we all have them folks)
    I can count on two hands how many times I've used nail clippers (I rip those suckers); I prayed to be bald; I am overly excited about venomous snakes (even held a couple deadly ones in my bare hands); I don't wear deodorant; I freak out when ice sticks to my hands; I regret praying to be bald
  • Gabe

    What led to this point

    I’ve heard people say that a ‘calling’ is the thing that’s found at the intersection of skills and passion.

    We are so so excited about this position at ABTS because it appears to be just that. For those of you that know me, you know my love for other cultures, especially within Asia, isn’t new. In 2005, I helped lead a missions trip to China with some fellow PBA University folks and just fell in love with the whole experience.

    Over the years, I was drawn back to Asia time and time again. My first “real” job after college was at SIAS International University where I stuck around for three years loving this new world I had uncovered. It was so hard to believe that I was being paid to do this job! Teaching English became a natural fit for me… I loved my students, and the unusual new scenarios that were common living abroad, but mostly I was forever changed by the genuine kindness, and extreme generosity I experienced from the local people during my time as a “foreigner”. In many ways, I believe these first few years changed the trajectory of my life. After that, I couldn’t go back to something that WASN'T my calling... that wasn’t THIS.

    We’ve lived overseas since, falling in love with new cultures and groups of people all over again. When we visited ABTS this year with our family and heard about the opportunities that they are providing for local believers, it tweaked something in our hearts and still gives me goosebumps to talk about.

    In short, I consider us both blessed beyond measure to be asked to join in this effort and lucky to have been honing the skills necessary to step into a situation such as this.

    The final note of this chorus is the piece involving my family. As Brandon and I have travelled together over the years, we’ve sat in airports and in tiny cafes over bowls of noodles talking about how one day we wanted to raise our children with a global perspective, knowing that there’s a whole great big world out there… With loving, unique, hospitable, and generous people who will enrich their lives.

    This is it. The convergence of teaching, ministry, discipleship, Asia and family. At the very least, the intersection of passion and skills - CALLING -


    Professional Background

    As a sophomore in college, I decided to stop taking business classes (what a disaster business would have been for me personally, lol) and decided to take one class in each of six different majors. Since I now had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I figured I would hedge my bets. I added a class in the field of education, not because I thought I would like teaching, but more because the specific course in culture and diversity sounded interesting. Well, I ended up loving the classroom and it's now where I've spent some of my most defining and meaningful professional moments.


    I started with a degree in elementary education and English as a second language. After college, I left almost immediately to live and teach in central China. After one year, I signed another contract and returned to teach English to college sophomores the next year. I did this yet again the year after because, as I previously mentioned, I just couldn't see myself ever doing something MORE fulfilling. I learned a lot about HOW to teach those first couple of years.


    When I returned to the states, I went to work at Western Michigan University teaching English to international students from all over the globe. I gained such a diverse palate of experiences working there for the next six years and grew exponentially as an educator. I often equate working at WMU as playing in the big leagues where everyone else is better than you at their trade and you can ONLY improve because you are "playing ball" with all the pros. I like to think maybe some of their wisdom and expertise rubbed off on me during this time.


    I said goodbye to WMU only to travel, once again to China, to fulfill my heart's need to live abroad once more with my husband before taking on the grand adventure of kids. We lived in southern China for one year and returned to Michigan where I went back to WMU for a few semesters before we began our family.


    Since then, I have been home full-time with our two girls... a role I have gladly taken on, and also been immensely challenged by daily. I love being at home and being the primary teacher for my little ones. At some point, when the girls begin their more formal education, I hope to go back to teaching too. I absolutely LOVE being in the classroom, and knew that when I said goodbye to the ESL classroom, it wouldn't be forever.


    Quirks (Idiosyncrasies - we all have them folks)

    Oh so many, lol. To name a few, I don't like eating the crispy ends of french fries, I don't like the darker red inside of watermelon (I prefer the light pink part close to the rind), I really loathe mouth noises, I brush my teeth at least 5 times a day, and I wash my feet almost as frequently.

  • Adi

    Hi I’m Adelyn! But my parents usually call me Adi Joy, AJ, Chicken Nugget, or whatever else pops into their mind and sounds cute in the moment.

    I am a precocious toddler and have been talking in full sentences since 18 months. That gives you some insight into my favorite activity-talking! I also love books! I am a little shy when you first get to know me but if you offer to read me a stack of books we will quickly become friends.

    I love peanut butter and anything with sprinkles! Every morning when I come downstairs I excitedly announce that I want, “everything I need!!!” - this refers to juice, yogurt (with the occasional sprinkle tossed in) and peanut butter.

    Some of my favorite activities include watching heavy construction machinery, commenting on the names of all of the vehicles, doing “projects” at home (coloring, learning games, painting, making things etc.), and going on adventures with my family!

    Quirks (Idiosyncrasies - we all have them folks)

    Did we mention the peanut butter? This girl would eat like 20 spoonfuls of straight peanut butter a day if we let her. Also, her favorite people food as a baby was pickles.

  • Noelle

    Hi I’m Noelle! But my parents call me Ellie, Ellie Belly or Elmo. I can’t talk yet but I love to smile! It is my favorite way to communicate with everyone in my world.

    I am the newest addition to the Hirth family and the only one who has yet to visit Thailand first hand. When my family went there to check things out, I was still in mommy’s belly.

    I am a joyful girl who loves to laugh, is always smiling and is really excited that mommy is now letting me try lots of different foods! I am excited to get to Thailand and get my hands on some fresh fruit smoothies!

    Quirks (Idiosyncrasies - we all have them folks)

    My bottles must be dangerously HOT. Not warm...Certainly not cool. And don't even think about trying to get me to drink that last garbage ounce at the bottom of the bottle...that's not happening mom and dad.