Sam and Chris Spatola first met in Los Angeles, California, in their twenties when Sam began sharing the gospel with his beautiful co-worker Chris. Their life and marriage have been committed to seeking the kingdom of God and sharing Christ in the United States, Italy, and the Philippines. The Spatolas came to Italy as church planters in 1978 after learning of the profound spiritual need throughout the country. Sam founded Saints Equipped to Evangelize in 1994 and Saints Bible Institute in 2002. They live in Italy where they enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Samuel Spatola: Director & Church Planter
Missions has continually shaped Samuel and Amber Spatola’s life: Samuel grew up on the mission field in Italy and the couple later met when Amber’s university missions trip brought her to Saints Equipped to Evangelize. They married and moved to Italy to serve full-time at Saints Bible Institute in 2007 after Samuel completed seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary. The Spatolas live in Italy near the Saints Bible Institute campus with their children Dylan and Claire but still call Bradenton, Florida, their home in the United States. They recently celebrated 10 years of marriage and enjoy traveling, cycling, food, books, history, theology, and collecting vinyl records.
“We felt drawn to Italy because of the enormous need for the Gospel— Italy has never experienced a reformation. We also love the country and its beautiful history, culture, and food.”
Garrett joined the SEE team as a church planter in Italy in 2013. He grew up in San Gabriel, California, where he studied to be electrician before traveling to Italy on a SEE short term missions team. While in Italy, Garrett felt God answering his prayer to send him to a country where few people have a relationship with Christ and even fewer share the gospel. He enjoys studying languages and theology, learning to play the guitar, and spending time with friends.
“I asked God to send me where few missionaries go and where there weren't many Christians. God showed me through a short term mission here that Italy is one of those places, and I sensed his calling.” -- Garrett
Lia first came to Saints Bible Institute as a student at Bryan College (where she received her B.A. in Liberal Arts) and later returned to volunteer as a Residence Life Facilitator. She now lives in Italy full-time as an SBI Residence Life Facilitator and Office Assistant where she enjoys mentoring and supporting students on the campus as well as bringing vital day-to-day administrative support. Lia calls Davenport, Iowa, her home and loves the history and food of Italy.
“My favorite part of working at Saints is the constant reminder of the great blessing of the local and global church. Living in an intimate, Christ-centered community drives home the New Testament challenges to the church. Getting to know believers from all over the world makes me excited about the unity we have as the Bride of Christ.” -- Lia
Ed and Hilda Purvis were first drawn to Saints Equipped to Evangelize in 2006 when their children became involved in Saints Equipped to Evangelize. They now manage the SEE and SBI Office in Bradenton, Florida, as bookkeepers and office administrators. They enjoy traveling, camping, reading, spending time with their grandchildren, and amateur radio broadcasting.
Matt and Melody joined Saints Equipped to Evangelize in 2014 after 20+ years of student ministry at Bryan College. As Director of Strategic Partnerships, Matt initiates strategic planning, teaches courses at Saints Bible Institute, and develops partnerships with universities and churches in the United States. The Bensons live in Peachtree City, Georgia, where they enjoy living life with their children— Jonathan, Joshua, and Emilyn—and offering hospitality to missionaries and friends.
Adam and Jenny Bowers live in Lynchburg, Virginia, with their son Jackson and serve as Director and Assistant Director of Mobilization. They are passionate about turning American missions teams and churches into raving fans of SEE, Italy, and living life in service to God. Adam serves as Executive Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg and previously spent five years directing an international missions ministry. The Bowers love teaching, making disciples, and training others in evangelism and cross-cultural ministry. Their other interests include traveling, mentoring, counseling, sports, photography, the great outdoors, and music.
Justin: Recruiter for SBI and SEE Teams
Effie & Justin Able live in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and share the mission of Saints Bible Institute and SEE Teams throughout the United States. As a family, Justin and Effie desire to serve God wherever He leads. After attending Word of Life Bible Institute and The Baptist College of Florida they began a season of leadership development with Chick-fil-A. They have served in several churches as youth pastors and Christian education directors. The Ables felt a call on their heart to respond to God’s leading into missions and joined SEE in 2015. Justin & Effie love to spend time with their 9 fun loving children.
Mirko and Miriam have served as church planting missionaries with S.E.E. in North-Eastern Italy and are now living in Zürich, Switzerland. There, they started a Church plant for the Spanish-speaking community after realizing there were no gospel-centered churches with sound theology in the area.
Mirko been involved in church ministries his whole life. He completed his theology studies in Argentina (where he was born) and currently studies at the Seminario Bautista Biblico del Cono Sur and I at Universitá di Udine. Miriam is half Swiss, half Italian, and has a degree in International cultures. Mirko and Miriam have two young children and enjoy traveling, having deep conversations and seeing people getting excited about learning and growing in God's Word.
Board of Directors
Rev. Bart Culpepper
Rev. Russell Howard
Dr. Jeremy Purvis
Rev. Sam Spatola