Both Abran (Music ’09, M.S. in Speech Education ’11, M.A. in Bible Exposition ’20) and Anna Grace (Performance Studies ’15) Miller were burdened for the mission field but in different parts of the world—until their paths crossed at Pensacola Christian College. Their heart for missions took them to several countries and then back to the States. Today in Georgia, he’s a high school Bible teacher at Creekside Christian Academy, and she’s a content marketing coordinator at the Medical Missions Outreach headquarters and a local professional photographer. Individually and as a couple, their humility to realize their need for a solid Christian education led them to a deeper understanding of ministry—and to each other.
Skills Used for God’s Glory
Anna Grace was serious about studying missions when she arrived on campus as a freshman, but she didn’t foresee staying for more than a year. As a teenager, she had begun missions work at a camp near the Mexican border and planned to serve there right after she graduated from high school. God had other plans. “Looking back,” said Anna Grace. “It’s so clear that I wasn’t ready and had so much to learn before returning to the mission field. I’d need a place to refine my skills and exercise what I was passionate about.” The one year of college turned into four as the Lord shaped her heart for people through leadership and local ministry opportunities.
At a missions conference, Anna Grace was blown away by the visiting missionaries’ needs. The pamphlet in her hands listed several ministry opportunities in Papua New Guinea. Content Creator. Blogger. Photographer. Fundraising Strategist. “Titles like these flew off the page at me as I read about the deep need on the mission field for technical skills in the ever-developing virtual world of missions,” she said. Anna Grace immediately started getting advice from missionary friends and determining which degree to study.
“I read about the deep need on the mission field for technical skills in the ever-developing virtual world of missions.”
She chose performance studies with minors in marketing and English, knowing that God could use skills she was passionate about to reach an unmet need. “That made choosing a study path simple. I would start with what I loved, work hard, and let God grow those skills into something that could be useful to Him.”
Education from a Christian Perspective
Because he grew up in public school, Abran chose to attend PCC and pursue music from a Christian perspective. “I needed my subjects taught by fellow believers who [recognized] that we are living in a world created and governed by God,” he said. “PCC’s training was challenging, but I’ve seen how it gave me a good biblical grounding for each degree I completed. A Christian perspective has made all the difference in how I work.”
“I needed my subjects taught by fellow believers who [recognized] that we are living in a world created and governed by God.”
As he considered full-time missions, Abran knew he needed a concentrated Bible master’s degree that would also work with his schedule. An online program from Pensacola Theological Seminary allowed him to complete his studies overseas and apply what he’s learning on the field. “I honestly don’t think I could have worked with a program that didn’t have as much flexibility,” Abran explained. “The professors allowed me to focus my projects on whatever ministry I was involved with at the time, which made it extremely practical.”
Ministering Side by Side
Abran and Anna Grace Miller began pursuing a relationship after Anna Grace joined PCC staff. The couple had gotten to know each other through summer missions trips and traveling ministry teams. They soon got married and spent a year together in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. While Abran taught national pastors in the seminary, Anna Grace used her photography talent and served in the local church’s women’s ministry. “Our year serving in Africa was a truly humbling, formative time as we unlearned everything we thought we knew about the mission field,” Anna Grace said. “And we fell in love with the precious people of Bingerville.”
Following their time in Africa, the birth of their first child, and Covid shutdowns, Abran and Anna Grace found that their training went beyond book knowledge. Anna Grace was inspired by many of her early business and communication classes and teachers. “I can’t say enough about how the fields I studied prepared me for what I do now. My marketing, writing, and speech classes gave me the framework for what marketing and communication could look like in a missions setting,” Anna Grace said. “I learned how to ask the hard questions and how to answer them with the truth of the Bible.”
“I can’t say enough about how the fields I studied prepared me for what I do now.”
As a high school Bible teacher, Abran finds his M.A. in Bible Exposition most valuable. He’s not afraid to answer the tough questions his students ask, having devoted time studying the Word. “I teach high schoolers living in an age when Christianity is questioned, and worldly influences are more available than ever,” he said. “I enjoy finding answers for the students. We have a tendency to stifle the questions that make us uncomfortable, but if we don’t talk about it, our students and children will talk about it with someone else.”
As they continue to serve in ministries stateside, Abran and Anna Grace Miller enjoy working with those who genuinely love people. “Honesty and love are contagious things,” Anna Grace said. Each day they apply the training they gained as college students, and one lesson a teacher shared remains with them today: “Everywhere you go, you send a message to people around you. You’re a walking headline, whether you realize it or not. Use that for good. Use that to point people to Christ, hope, and heaven.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.