Local / Ohio Missionaries

Church Plants

Refuge of Hope

Refuge of Hope (ROH), a Christian rescue mission in downtown Canton, Ohio, operates a meal ministry and a men’s emergency and transitional housing shelter. Provided services are free. ROH’s mission is to serve God by serving those who live daily in dire circumstances.

Serving more meals annually than any other such organization in Stark County, ROH provides hot, nutritious meals seven times per week to hungry men, women, and children. In the past six years, the number of meals served has risen from 14,500 annually to 73,322 in 2013. In June, 2014, ROH served 7,171 meals, the most ever in one month.

ROH’s 34-bed men’s emergency shelter, one of only two in Stark County, is a safe, sober, support center where homeless men can come to grips with the personal, economical, and societal issues that caused them to be homeless. The shelter has been occupied over capacity during the past 3½ years. Bedded nights provided annually in the past six years have increased from 8,800 to 16,280.

ROH meets vital community needs by providing: 1) hope to those with little; 2) spiritual guidance; 3) hot meals for the hungry; 4) shelter, meals, showers, clothing, transportation, and other basic necessities for homeless men; 5) social interaction, a feeling of belonging, and a sense of self-worth for meal guests and shelter clients 6) opportunities to find housing and employment and 7) a conduit to other local social service agencies.

405 3rd St NE
Canton, OH 44702

Ways to serve:
Items needed at Refuge of Hope:

ROH Items Needed

Haven of Rest

Founded in 1943 as a small storefront rescue mission, Haven of Rest is now one of the largest private social service agencies in the Summit-Portage-Medina-Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne-Holmes county area. Filling a vital community role, Haven of Rest provides Christ-centered programs and services that respond to the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of homeless and poor men, women and children.

Haven of Rest Ministries
175 E Market St.
Akron, OH 44309

Esley and Chris Patsch, Summit Missions

Esley and Chris Patsch. Summit Missions International (SMI) is a non-denominational Christian mission that exists to mobilize the church and community to respond to the physical and spiritual needs of people in Eastern Europe through relief products and service projects as a visible model of God’s love. SMI operates in the context of serving and strengthening the national churches and in partnership with established missionaries.

SMI is committed to mobilizing the church and community to respond to human needs worldwide as a living example of God’s love. “Let us not love with words and tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
A major part of the Summit Missions International vision is to provide relief products to people in need as a means of demonstrating God’s love and opening doors of witness. During an average year SMI will ship between 300-500,000 pounds of donated food, clothing, shoes, soap and other supplies.

Recently SMI sent 38,000 pounds of soap to the Living Word Mission in West Africa, 27,000 of products to Transnistria and 37,000 pounds to Haiti. These products are sent to consignees who are committed to helping people in body, soul and spirit.
At Summit Missions International we believe the ministry of relief is a valuable tool used to help accomplish the Lord Jesus’ mission to the hopeless all over the world. “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

We are committed to assisting the local church. Christ said He would build His church. SMI believes there is a biblical basis for relief and ministry to the poor. As the goods are distributed, recipients can be pointed toward God, His love for them and their need for a personal relationship with God through Christ. The Church can serve as a conduit for disseminating physical help with spiritual hope and then follow up on the needy in their communities.

In addition to its shipping mission, SMI dispatches project teams who work in several areas to include construction, water well drilling, children’s programs, summer camps, conferences and other projects as needed. Team members have combined to travel over a million miles to provide a variety of services in Eastern Europe.

Esley Patsch
Summit Missions
PO Box 26500
Akron, OH 44319-6500

Tel. 330.896.9300
Fax 330.848.9813

Ways to serve:
Volunteers for sorting clothing for shipment – hours are Wednesdays 9-11:30 am
Supply needs: sports equipment, school supplies, new children’s underwear/socks in the package, new children’s shoes

Pregnancy Solutions & Services

PSS is a life-affirming pregnancy resource center whose purpose is to share the gospel of Christ by offering practical, emotional & spiritual support to women, men & children facing pregnancy & abortion-related concerns. PSS provides free pregnancy testing, limited ultrasound, pregnancy options consulting, post-abortion support and educational programs.

PSS operates Image Clear Ultrasound, a mobile ministry serving Summit & adjacent counties, as well as Emma’s Closet, which provides clients with new & lightly used maternity, infant & children’s items.

If you’d like to help with any donations of clothing, baby items, or money, or volunteering time, please contact PSS.

Pregnancy Solutions & Services
3136 Manchester Road
Akron, OH 44319

Image Clear Ultrasound Mobile

ICU Mobile (pronounced “I See You”) is the pioneer and leader of mobile pregnancy center and mobile ultrasound ministry. We partner with and serve pregnancy centers and other life-affirming ministries to help them go mobile – to GO to women in crisis rather than wait for them. We provide a full turnkey approach that includes all the equipment, pre-deployment consulting, comprehensive training, and ongoing consulting and guidance.

Founded in Akron, Ohio in 2003, ICU Mobile was incorporated on November 25, 2007 and became a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization on June 3, 2009. Our purpose is to provide free, convenient, comfortable, and non-judgmental ultrasound services to pregnant women who may be experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and may be considering an abortion. We seek to reveal life at the crossroads of decision and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Steve & Sue Oswald, Word of Life

Sue and I were both privileged to grow up in families where our parents loved the Lord and lived for him. Sue’s dad left them when she was very young but God blessed her with a godly stepfather. We both trusted Christ and attended church from the time we were children.

We both lived at least nominally for the Lord during our high schools years, but it was in college where God worked in our hearts to bring us to a place of true dedication. Sue and I attended Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone University) and God used those years in our lives to prepare us for the ministry we are now involved in. We were married in 1984 and immediately began working with the student ministry in our small church in Michigan. We were blessed to have a local pastor mentor us in youth ministry and continually challenge us in our own spiritual walk. This pastor introduced us to Word of Life and we started using the tools they provided in our church.

After serving with the students at our church for 19 years, God called us make a huge change and to join the staff at Word of Life. On January 3rd of 2003 we left the job I had worked at for 24 years and our ministry with our local church. On January 4th we moved to Ohio to begin the ministry of reaching and discipling children, teens and youth leaders in NE Ohio. God has been faithfully expanding this ministry and we are excited to see what plans he has for us in the future as we continue to serve him here. Throughout our time in ministry one verse continues to stand out: John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


Dennis & Tamela Shawhan and John & Debbie Wiseman, Broken Chains Jail Ministry

Broken Chains Ministry is a non-denominational missions organization headquartered in the Summit County Jail in Akron, Ohio. Their mission is to form relationships with those that are incarcerated, evangelize, disciple, equip and aid in re-entry of these individuals back into the community. Approximately 16,000 men and women from our community are incarcerated each year, 700+ men and women are incarcerated in this maximum security facility each day. Their goal is to help break the chains of recidivism through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Broken Chains Ministry acts as a liaison between the local churches and the jail to minister to incarcerated men and women and to disciple them through a disciplined workbook curriculum. Through one-on-one relationships, Broken Chains Ministry volunteers show the love of Jesus Christ and help to reconcile men and women to Christ, help them to mature in their faith, aid in re-entry needs and help them to find a church home upon their release.

Dennis & Tamela Shawhan are both ex-offenders and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as inmates in the Summit County Jail. Dennis in 1993, Tamela in 1999. After traveling to India on several short-term mission trips, preaching in prisons there, and serving in a volunteer capacity in the Summit County Jail, Dennis responded to the Lord’s call for full-time service in June 1998. After coming to know Christ and becoming part of a local church, Tamela met Dennis and they were married in 2003. Dennis served as Chaplain for a church-based ministry in the jail from 1998-2003 and saw the vision to encompass more of the body of Christ to aid in the ministry there. Broken Chains Ministry was formed in February 2004.

Tamela oversees the ministry to incarcerated women, aiding in the scheduling and hosting of ten local churches for Sunday Chapel services and women’s discipleship.

Dennis serves as the Director of the Ministry and oversees all ministry activities, has a weekly Bible Study with male inmates, schedules and hosts Chapel services in the men’s Chapel, and directs all discipleship for men.

John Wiseman’s responsibilities as project director include developing a business plan for their post-release facility, meeting with various churches, businesses, and individuals in regard to acquiring funding, and locating the right property for them to build on. He will then serve as overseer of the entire building process under the direction of the Broken Chains board of directors. He is also on a regular preaching schedule as well as leading Bible studies inside the Summit County Jail.

Debbie aids in the ministry to incarcerated women, participating in Sunday Chapel services and women’s discipleship. When the post release housing is in place, Debbie will assist in teaching and training women as they begin their fresh opportunity to live a Christ-centered life outside of the confines of jail or prison.

Broken Chains Jail Ministry
P.O. Box 502
Akron, Ohio 44309


Ways to serve:
Items needed: New or gently used men’s & women’s winter coats, new or gently used men’s & women’s sweaters, sweatshirts, or hoodies.

Volunteers for one on one, once a week visits to the Summit County Jail. Please contact Dennis for further information.

Perry Clark, Truly Reaching You

Truly Reaching You Ministries is a relationship-based reentry organization that reaches out to men who have served their sentence and are returning to their communities. Through relationships, mentorship, training and education, T.R.Y. provides a healthy support system for those who have made the commitment to surrender their old lifestyle, gain self-respect and renew their outlook on life.

Inspired by unconditional love, T.R.Y. encourages these men to continue surrendering to God while learning self-motivation, pursuing meaningful goals, building healthy relationships as well as reconnecting with their families and the community.

Perry Clark serves with Truly Reaching You Ministries.


Faithful Servants Care Center

The mission of Faithful Servants Care Center is to provide urgent care services with a Christ-like compassion for those without insurance and the economic means to access traditional health care, and to assist in identifying continuity of care. Volunteer doctors, nurses, assistants, and support personnel treat minor illnesses and injuries for those who have no insurance coverage and live at or below 200% of poverty level.

David and Laurel Derry, FamilyLife

David and Laurel Derry joined the staff of FamilyLife in September 2011 to serve as full time missionaries in the greater Akron/Canton area. Prior to sensing God’s call on their lives to serve in this capacity, David served as an Associate Pastor for 8 years and then started a new church where he served as the pastor for 9 years.

They were both blessed to inherit godly legacies from their families. David and Laurel each accepted Christ at an early age and were raised in homes where marriage and family were a top priority. They have passed on this tradition by intentionally working to strengthen their own marriage and committing to pass on a spiritual legacy to their children.

Over the years, they have witnessed a number of close friends, including many pastors whose families crumbled and marriages ended in divorce. This grieved their hearts deeply and they began reaching out to help and encourage others in the areas of family, marriage and parenting. They have led marriage small groups and mentored numerous couples prior to coming on staff with FamilyLife. They work with local churches throughout NE Ohio, helping them to start or strengthen marriage and family ministries within their church and work with and mentor individual couples, where they have the opportunity to teach biblical principles of marriage and many times see people come to know Christ personally.

Approximately 40% of people who attend a FamilyLife marriage event such as the Weekend to Remember are not connected in any way with a local church. David and Laurel are excited to help share Christ with these people and to serve as a bridge to help get them plugged into a local church where they can continue learning about God’s plan for their lives, as well as their marriage and family.


South Akron Youth Mentor

South Akron Youth Mentor’s focus is children ages five through nineteen along the south Arlington Road corridor of Akron, OH. They believe the train to successfully transformed lives rides on the rails of relationships and education.

Individual mentoring relationships are formed initially through weekly gathering for Bible based lessons and small group discussions, and for the younger children, games and snacks are added to the evening gatherings as well.

Lesson topics include faith, courage, thankfulness, perseverance, and hope. Special speakers are invited to speak on topics such as citizenship, hygiene, value of education, role models, personal support system, and God’s view of success.

SAYM’s success will be measured by their students performing at or above grade level; choosing behavior which is consistent with behavior standards for society in general and school in particular; owning a sense of intimacy with a church home; and accepting their dignity and uniqueness in God’s eyes, a personal God who loves them and has a purpose for their life.