Tanya Parker is a new North American Mission Board Missionary serving as a Missions & Ministries Associate at God’s Appalachian Partnership in McDowell (Floyd County), KY. However, she and her family are not new to GAP. In 2001 Tanya and her husband Joe were living and working in Lexington, when they both lost their jobs within three months of each other. Tanya was pregnant and did not go back to work. The employment her husband was able to find was not the equivalent of what he previously had so they were struggling financially. They moved back home to McDowell, KY and, during that time, turned to GAP for help. “They helped us with food, clothing and encouragement in the name of Christ,” Tanya says. “Every time I hear the scripture ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…’ I think of GAP.”
Once back in McDowell Tanya and Joe both found employment and, with the help of family, friends, GAP and Dave Ramsey classes they took through their church, they gradually got “back on their feet.” Tanya would volunteer at GAP every chance she got and prayed for God to guide and bless the ministry so they could continue to share Christ and meet the needs of the people.
Around a year ago, when GAP was in need of staff, Tanya began praying for God to send missionaries to come alongside Directors John & Shaughanessy Morris and help carry out all that God had planned for the ministry. In March 2019 she volunteered at the annual Easter Egg Hunt and says she remembers exactly where she was standing when she felt the Lord tell her, “this is it, this is where I want you.” Tanya says she didn’t immediately obey, started second guessing herself and was becoming miserable. She met with John and started asking questions about the missionary life. “After a time of fasting and prayer,” Tanya says, “I confirmed that God truly was calling me to serve at GAP.
This was not an easy decision for Tanya. She served as administrative assistant at Fitzpatrick Baptist Church and truly loved her ministry there, but GAP seemed to be just where the Lord was leading.
Tanya’s pastor, Bro. Tommy Reed, was sad to see her leave, but had this to say: “If I were picking a team she’d be on it. She is mature. She loves Jesus. She loves her family. She loves her church. I love her and will miss her immensely.”
GAP Director John Morris said, “For over two years my wife Shaughanessy and I have been praying that the Lord would send someone like Tanya Parker to GAP. Who knew that He would send the one and only Tanya Parker. Praise be to God! We are so excited to welcome her to the Lords’ team here at GAP. She brings a wealth of gifts, talents and experience to the staff. She was raised here in the McDowell area so many already know her and/or her family, which makes building relationships for Christ easier.”
Tanya has come full-circle with GAP and God is using her in tremendous ways. Just a few days ago she posted on her Facebook page (Tanya Parker – GAP MSC Life for me!): “Today was a great day. I shared the Gospel today with a young lady and she made a decision to follow Jesus! Praise the LORD!”
Tanya has been married to Joseph (Joe) Parker for 21 years. They have three daughters, Makayla (20), Grace (18) and Allison (16). Joe is a deacon and Sunday School teacher at their church and the Lord has blessed him with a full time job at Prestonsburg City Utilities.
You can follow Tanya’s ministry at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2757262984283862/. Please pray for her as she serves at God’s Appalachian Partnership.