We are the Hamilton Family – Ben, Andrea, Elaine (5 years old), Nolan (3 years old), Liberty & Nehemiah (18 months old).
Ben & Andrea attended Ambassador Baptist College in Lattimore, NC. They were married shortly after graduation in 2007. Ben continued his Biblical language studies at Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Virginia Beach, VA. Elaine was added to the family in November, 2009. In June, 2010 the Lord led the Hamiltons to Brooklyn, NY to continue their ministry training under Pastor Jim Bickel at Bethel Baptist Fellowship.
Since arriving in Brooklyn, Ben & Andrea have been involved in many ministries at Bethel Baptist Fellowship, including music, nursery, overseeing & teaching children’s Sunday School classes, teaching Children’s Church, leading summer children’s activities, scheduling weekly evangelism & outreach, assisting in the youth group, and building maintenance.
The family has continued to grow with the addition of Nolan in June, 2011. The Hamiltons welcomed twins in April, 2013 – Liberty and Nehemiah.
I was blessed to be born into a home with parents who love the Lord. I recognized early in life that I was a sinner and at a young age, trusted Jesus to forgive me and to be my Savior. When I was 14, I believed God was calling me to prepare to be a pastor. Upon graduation from high school, I began to prepare for the ministry by attending Bible college. During that time, I received my first exposure to ministry in New York City when I completed a summer internship of Jewish evangelism with Dr. Craig Hartman and Shalom Ministries. During my time in Brooklyn, I stayed at Bethel Baptist Fellowship, where I became well acquainted with Pastor Jim Bickel. Upon graduating from college in 2007, the Lord gave me my wonderful wife Andrea, and we moved to Virginia Beach to continue my seminary studies. As we sought the Lord’s direction for our future ministry, He reinforced my burden for urban ministry and called us to be church planters in New York City. The Lord used Jonah 1:2 to confirm this calling in my life. I made contact with Pastor Bickel who was glad to have me come, work as an assistant and get more training as I waited for specific leading.
In June 2010, we moved to the foreign field of Brooklyn. In the past several years, the Lord has taught us much about city ministry and even more about simply learning to depend upon the Lord for our every need. Toward the end of 2012, the Lord began to impress upon us that the time was drawing near for us to launch out and start a new church. Pastor Bickel had long been praying that someone would come and start a church in the Bronx, and so we agreed to pray about it and take a survey trip to the other side of town. While we were touring the Bronx, the Lord impressed upon our hearts the need for a church in that borough.
Like Ben, I was privileged to be reared in a Christian home. One day, as I was in the car with my mom, I began asking questions about salvation. That night as a seven-year-old, I knelt beside my bed with both my parents and asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. On October 8, 1995, I settled some doubts and received assurance of my salvation. I was baptized two weeks later.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my family began attending Highlands Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Jeff Musgrave. There was an emphasis on world missions and surrender to Christian ministry. This was my first exposure to a missions program. During revival meetings Evangelist John VanGelderen preached about surrendering your life to the Lord, based on Romans 12:1. That night I gave my life to God.
I began to feel the Lord working in my heart about the mission field specifically. I was hesitant to tell God I would “go” when I didn’t know all that that entailed. During my personal devotions I read Genesis 19. In this chapter Lot is given very specific instructions to gather his family and leave the city before God sent judgement. However, verse 16 begins with the words “while he lingered.” The Lord smote my heart that He had been giving me specific instructions and I was lingering to obey.
Upon graduation from high school I began preparing for the mission field by attending Bible College. There I met Ben, and we were married on October 26, 2007. God has blessed us with four children. People tell us all the time that we have our hands full. This is very true, but our hearts are also full.When I married Ben I had no idea where God was going to take us. Ben was a Pastor Studies major, and had a burden for church planting. Little did I know that the Lord would guide us to New York City – the nations largest city, and in many respects, the capital of the world. There are so many cultures here, and it is estimated that there are over 800 languages spoken. It may be a city in my own country, but it is definitely the mission field. I did have some “culture shock” when we first arrived in Brooklyn. Living in the Big City was very foreign to me. But God has worked in my heart to confirm that this is where He wants us to serve, and I am excited to be a church-planting missionary to this culturally-diverse city.