Twelve years ago Dennis and Ellen Freed became actively involved both financially and with volunteered time with IDEA (International Deaf Education Association) in Bohol, Philippines. They immediately built a home and retreat center (to be used when they were in the country and by other groups throughout the year). It became increasingly apparent that the barrio where they lived needed a great deal of help.
They became convicted and challenged that they had an opportunity to improve on the safety, health, education and spiritual life of their impoverished neighbors. Their first assistance was provided to the school in the form of an outdoor performance stage and in the provision of post-high school scholarships to promising and needy students. Dennis and Ellen shared their calling and challenge with their church, Big Timber Evangelical. The church responded immediately and generously.
Several mission trips have followed that came alongside the men and women of the barrio to install wells, cisterns and water systems to each home. More churches are now involved and today it is no longer an outreach by the Freeds, but a growing vibrant response by several churches to the needs of the barrios through Montana on a Mission.
Dennis has a B.A. in psychology and a Masters in Education and Certification in Secondary Administration. His career in education started in Bothell, Washington and eventually lead to Egypt where he served initially as the high school counselor and later as the high school principal. After several years in education he went into international trading and bidding largely financed by the U.S. AID Program. Eventually he was contracted by U.S. AID as Chief of Party to provide Afghanistan commodities required to survive within Afghanistan during their war with the Soviet Union. After several years in Pakistan, he returned to the U.S. and continued on short term assignments for U.S. AID to Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zambia and also provided commodities to countries around the world sourced in the U.S. Much of the work he did was humanitarian relief. Eventually he became a member of a medical startup producing catheters and stents for cardiac lesion intervention. Since retiring in 1996, his wife and he have been working in support of IDEA - Ellen, a registered nurse, designed and equipped medical care facilities for the deaf and set up medical support programs for the barrios – Dennis works on housing projects for the deaf, participated as a board member of IDEA, and in all areas of income generation, housing, fundraising etc. for the barrio of Calunasan Sur, Loboc, Bohol, Philippines. Dennis also served as a board member in Pakistan for the International School of Islamabad.
Bryan has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Christian Theology. Bryan is the lead pastor of the Big Timber Evangelical Church in Big Timber, MT. He has been serving there for approximately nine years and has participated in four mission trips with Montana on a Mission. In addition, he is part of the core team that organizes these mission trips, establishes vision and works toward achieving Montana on a Mission’s goals.
Bryan helps call meetings, trains individuals for mission trips, facilitates travel arrangements, raises money and awareness about our mission work, and works with other leaders who do the same. He has several hundred hours invested in the above, not including actual time on mission trips which average two week-stints at a time.
- The lead pastor of the church which organizes and facilitates missions work.
- Has training in missions, community-building, and organizational development.
- Has training in board management, leadership development, and fund raising.
- Has worked in non-profit ministries and or organizations on a paid professional level for 17 years.
- Has passion for this work.
Jay Pravecek received his master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University in 1995. He currently manages the Yellowstone River Trout Hatchery for the State of Montana in Big Timber, MT. He and his wife have been married eleven years and have four children. They have been living in Big Timber for five years and have participated in four mission trips with Montana on a Mission (MOM). Additionally, he is part of the core team that organizes mission trips, establishes vision and works toward the achieving of our goals for Montana on a Mission as well as the Big Timber Evangelical Church. He has been serving as treasurer for MOM since 2008.
Jay has primarily been involved with the financial aspect of MOM. However, he also facilitates travel arrangements, raises money and awareness about our mission work, and works with other leaders who do the same. He has many hours invested in MOM, not including actual time on mission trips which average two weeks per year.
- Fisheries and educational background aid in development of fisheries projects.
- Managerial skills help with budgeting and goal development.
- Has participated in MOM mission trips since 2006.
- Has passion for this work.
Marv and his wife, Debbie live in St. Marie, Montana. They have six children and five "perfect" grandchildren (so far). They are active members of the Glasgow Evangelical Church.
Marv has been involved in Project Management, Real Estate Development, Economic Development and Community Development in Montana for over thirty years. He is currently involved in an effort to develop the community of St. Marie, the previous Glasgow Air Force Base.
Marv first visited Calunasun Sur in January of 2010 with his daughter Randell and returned in January of 2011. He is very impressed with the people of Bohol and how MOM has assisted this community in so many ways. He looks forward to what God will do through MOM and the sponsoring churches and individuals.
Tom is an owner of a landscaping company in Billings, MT since 2001. He has travelled to Bohol on three different occasions. The last, in October, 2007 was for an extended 3 month stay.
Tom is fascinated with missions, especially as they relate to other cultures and is excited about the future prospects of Montana on a Mission.