If you’re wondering how a regular, Jesus-loving family goes from living in suburbia USA to serving full time as missionaries oversees, keep reading!
Branden and Ernie had both grown up going to church. Branden’s dad was in the oil field, which meant their family moved quite a bit when he was younger. He’s the oldest of four siblings and loves football, meat and potatoes.
Ernie’s parents are from the Philippines. Growing up as a first generation Asian-American, the language, food, and traditions of her childhood were a mix of two cultures. Rice and pancit at the Thanksgiving table? Absolutely!
They met young. Well, one was young; the other was super young. Branden was 20 and working for a children’s ministry resource company. He’d been involved in kids’ ministry for a few years – serving with Sunday school, a year interning with a children’s pastor, then puppeteering and teaching full time with this company. The work ethic exemplified in his childhood had definitely been passed down.
Ernie was 16, a sophomore in high school, loved Jesus, music and the arts. Family was core. She was also a hard worker and imagined her life somehow being spent to reach people for the Lord, but had no idea really what that would look like.
They met and married (not without a bit of controversy!) within two years. Ernie had just turned 18. They exchanged vows and, two days later, moved across the country – Colorado to Texas. Branden had taken a children’s pastorate, and their new life and adventure began!
Those first few years were full of learning and growth (and growing pains). They were learning to be married, to carve out a new life, and to do ministry together. Branden thrived, teaching kids and puppeteering, learning all the ins and outs of full time ministry with a church. Ernie, having never done any children’s ministry before, quickly took on new roles – teacher, kids worship leader, host to a ridiculous puppet character named Caesar! It was a season of laying foundation.
Nearly six years later, with their first son on the way, the couple moved back to Denver to be closer to family. Silas was born that September, and life changed in the best way possible! A year and a half after that, Silas became a big brother – Ethan made them a family of four!
The next five years was a collection of seasons, what seemed like normal life for a young family. Jobs and job changes, the start of a homeschool journey, participating and serving in church and ministry (mostly with children, but also worship for Ernie). They endeavored to be faithful to the Lord and everything in front of them, but always knew there was something more, something else the Lord had in store.
In May of 2014, the Lord spoke to Ernie about ministry in Ireland. The family had been going through a long season of discouragement – job loss and financial stress, health issues, heartache in relationships with others. But in that dark season, God’s word was surprising and sure! Ireland seemed far and foreign; the couple had never thought about ministry internationally, but Ernie believed this idea, whatever it would mean, was from the Lord!
Although Branden’s desire has always been for children’s ministry, the sudden idea of becoming a missionary and moving to a different country was overwhelming and extreme. For a season, the Lord would withhold His word about Ireland from Branden and teach this couple many things.
After almost a year of seeking the Lord, Branden still hadn’t received clear direction. In April, 2015, the couple decided to take a step of faith and see what doors might even be open in the Emerald Isle. That week, they learned about Calvary Cork, a church located in the southern part of Ireland. Unbenounced to them, the church had been praying for about a year (the same amount of time Branden and Ernie been praying about ministry in Ireland!), for a young family to come and oversee the minsitry to the children of their growing fellowship. Over the next 6 months, the Treus would begin to build a relationship with Calvary Cork and its leadership. In October of 2015, the Lord would take them there.
For two weeks the Treu family served with Calvary Cork, doing a Holiday Bible Club (aka VBS), serving in their children’s ministry, and enjoying the fellowship of the church. They learned more about the Irish culture and its people, and got the lay of the land. Through Scripture, a series of events, and drawing near to the Lord, God made it clear – He was calling Branden and Ernie and their boys to go back and serve in Ireland full time!
The Treus went back to the US, sold everything they owned, and began raising support to live as full time missionaries. A year after that initial visit, the family of four moved to Ireland and began serving! Now, six+ years later, the Treus continue to work alongside local churches as well as through their own nonprofit, Treuimage, bringing the Gospel to kids, young people, and families in Cork and beyond. In a country where less than 1% claim to be evangelical Christians, the Irish are considered an unreached people group. Despite these numbers, a pandemic and many other challenges, the church is growing and full of life! God is doing incredible things in Ireland, and the Treus are humbled and honored to be a part of it!