Matt & April Sykes
Matt Sykes started doing mission trips around age 10. He grew up in a Christian home in North Carolina with lots of love and encouragement. He accepted Christ at the young age of 6 at a Billy Graham Crusade and had some great spiritual influences in his life. Matt had taken three short-term trips to Puerto Rico before he received the opportunity to do a one-year internship at Camp Caribe under Jon Marshall. Jon then returned to the States to pastor a church in the Northwest so Matt took over as the Mission Adventure Team Director — a job that requires him to oversee the work teams who come to help year round at the camp. He has also been attending and helping at the Juana Diaz Church.
April was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her family was very involved with church and taught her the importance of serving others. She was saved at a young age and was encouraged to learn more about God and seek His direction for her future. April grew up going to mission conferences to hear missionaries speak and wanted to serve God overseas by ministering to others through the Gospel. She had the opportunity to serve as part of cross-cultural mission teams to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico with GMI missionaries. In high school she went to Mississippi to do Hurricane Katrina relief and learned about mission work close to home as well. She is thankful for the experiences that mission trips have brought her and the important role they played in leading her to cross-cultural missions. Ministering to others through evangelism and meeting their needs is one of April’s passions.
April attended Grace Bible College (now Grace Christian University) to pursue a degree in Intercultural Studies and Biblical Studies. While attending Grace, April was a leader and mentor for youth at Rush Creek Bible Church for the 5th and 6th graders, Junior High, and Senior High. She really enjoyed working with the youth and seeing them develop their faith and learn more about God. She did her Practicum in Puerto Rico working as an intern in the Barrio Singapur, and helping Kaylah Alicea run the after school center. April took a year off from school and returned to Puerto Rico. As a short-term missionary in Puerto Rico under GMI, April assisted Kaylah Alicea with the daily operations of Club Maravilla, an after school center for kids in the barrio. After building relationships with the kids and people in the community, April realized that God was calling her to pursue a future in Puerto Rico. April finished her last semester at Grace Bible College, graduated, and is now excited to be a part of the GMI team in Puerto Rico.. She is running Club Maravilla while training and equipping leaders to work together. She is also excited about partnering with the Juana Diaz church and discipling and mentoring students to help out at Club and in the community.
It was while she was serving in Puerto Rico that she met her husband Matt whom she married on October 21, 2017. Matt and April both have a real desire to serve the Lord wherever He places them and however He wants to use them.
To read Matt and April’s most recent newsletter, click HERE.