Originally from Michigan, Autumn Kerr moved to Nashville, TN in 2002. Before coming on staff at Visiting Orphans, Autumn worked in the advertising agency world for 11 years. Her background is design and writing but her passion is serving the Lord through missions. This passion came alive on a trip to the Philippines in 2007 where she went on a group tour with Compassion International to meet her sponsored child. This trip was truly life changing and Autumn returned home with a heart on fire for missions and doing more to help children around the world. She now sponsors 5 children through Compassion and has been on mission trips to the Philippines, India, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, China, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Haiti.
Autumn came to Visiting Orphans in November 2009 and has served in many roles since - administration, trip coordination, management and most recently as Executive Director. Serving on staff at Visiting Orphans is a huge answer to prayer and is truly fulfilling the desires of Autumn’s heart. She considers it a joy and privilege to be a part of the work the Lord is doing to help orphans around the world.
Autumn lives in Nashville, TN and recently adopted a little boy from Ethiopia. You can read about her adoption and parenting journey on her adoption blog here.Close
Missions, for Merrill, is a calling that runs in her blood. She was born in Kenya where she lived for ten years with her missionary family of six. When she returned to the States, her heart for orphans continued through multiple trips to China, Mexico, and Uganda.
In college, she developed a passion to see justice for victims in sex trafficking and, in turn, completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science-International Relations. She is now pursuing a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Merrill finds so much joy in helping and serving those in need.
Joining Visiting Orphans has refueled her heart for missions and she is excited to see people awakened to the needs of this world and the powerful work of Jesus. As her dad always said, it is a chance to abandon the cruise ship lifestyle of America and experience God’s love and faithfulness off the grid. Drawn from a popular worship song, her daily prayer is “break my heart for what break Yours, everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause…”Close
Frank Pass served in student ministry for almost 20 years. It was during his time with students that he developed a love for missions. Frank has led trips to Peru, Colombia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda and China. Frank's life verse and blueprint for missions can be found in Romans 10:13-15.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ''How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!''
Frank and his wife Robin live in Prattville, AL where they raise 3 daughters, Anne Louise, Katy and Ella Grace and a son Gabriel. Ella Grace was adopted from China in 2005 and it was this experience that helped to develop his passion for orphan ministry. Frank is active in his church, which is the same church where he and Robin met and married. He volunteers in the children's and youth ministries when he is not traveling around the world.
Frank is thrilled to be working with and leading teams for Visiting Orphans. He says that when we send teams to visit these precious children we are showing them the love that God shows us. We remind them that there is hope and that they are loved and valued. It is like shining a light in the darkness.Close
Starting from an early age, Casi has had a heart for orphans and the underprivileged. This passion only intensified after participating in several mission trips over her college spring breaks to Dominican Republic and Mexico where she had the opportunity to visit some orphanages. Casi graduated from Judson University with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics, but felt drawn towards making a positive impact on youth and began her nine year career with Big Brothers Big Sisters. During this time, she was very involved in her church as youth group leader and then as the Outreach Director. With the goal of helping her church to become more externally-focused, she planned and lead mission trips to New Orleans and Honduras. Her relationship with Visiting Orphans began with the trip to Honduras which she helped facilitate as a Visiting Orphans team leader.
Casi lived in the Chicago area for most of her life and relocated to Nashville in 2011. In 2010, she felt God was preparing her for a transition in her life; she prayed seeking earnestly after God's will and where He was leading her. In March of 2011, she pursued an opening with Visiting Orphans and felt complete peace about making the transition. Working for Visiting Orphans is a perfect fit for her passion to bring hope to the orphans also incorporated with her love for travel. She is so excited to work with the staff at VO, the mission teams, and the ministries and children that Visiting Orphans partners with. She is expectant for what God has in store for her and the lives she can influence by being a part of Visiting Orphans.Close
Julie has a deep and passionate heart for orphans. She believes in reaching out to the hurting, broken, lost, and forgotten. Across the world, or in the community God builds around her, she makes heartfelt connections through sharing hearts with honesty and vulnerability.
Her favorite scripture for ministry and missions is in John 15, staying connected to the Vine. “Apart from Christ, we can do nothing -- but with Him we can do all things! Go and bear much fruit!” It is with great faith and relational connection that Julie builds up and encourages her teams to GO. Julie believes in trusting God to take us out of our comfort zone as a means to greater growth, and to believe Him to accomplish huge things -- both in us and through us. More than anything, Julie seeks to live an authentic life completely surrendered to God.
Julie’s mission adventures have taken her to Egypt, Ecuador, China, post-earthquake Haiti, and Mexico. She has worked in the inner-city of Pittsburgh and the slums of Tijuana. She seeks to connect with people where they are. Her love of learning new languages and communicating with people in their native tongue, allows her to enter into different cultures in a very special way. Her work in orphanages is a significant part of what stirred her heart in a call to adoption.
Julie has been married to Todd for 20 years. They have four incredible children and two playful dogs. Their youngest daughter was adopted from China, where the whole family went to bring their new daughter and sister home. Julie is a nurturing mom with a huge heart to invest in her children, as well as her own spiritual and emotional journey to wholeness. She is excited to join the staff of Visiting Orphans.Close
Rachel Cook was born and raised in east Tennessee and graduated from the University of TN at Martin with a degree in Accounting. The year of 2000 was a milestone year as she not only obtained her CPA license but also was the year in which she was married to Jason. She has worked in public and private accounting for 9 years. In 2004, God blessed her and her husband with a baby. Rachel felt the call to stop working out of the home to stay with their son, Elijah. Since that time, God also blessed her family with a daughter, Leah Beth. She has thoroughly cherished and enjoyed staying home with the children but recently felt God calling her back to work. She is so excited to use her accounting skills for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ.
Rachel enjoys running, spending time with friends and family and is actively involved in her local church, Thompson Station Church. Rachel also enjoys volunteering at the local food pantry in Spring Hill.
Rachel and Jason went on their first mission trip in 2010 to Ethiopia and it has transformed their lives. The greatest impact and lasting memory of this trip was getting to meet their sponsored child through Project 61, Tigist, and to see the environment in which she was living. The vivid memories from this trip have certainly inspired a great passion for future work locally and globally. The trip also ignited her passion for orphans and caring for the impoverished. Her role at Visiting Orphans is an outstanding opportunity to serve others and God she feels it a true blessing to be apart of this amazing organization!Close
Eleven years ago, Kathleen Carney embarked upon her first international mission trip and was forever changed by the faces of the children in Kigali, Rwanda. It was a memory that was impossible to forget.
David Platt said, “_''Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.'' The desire of Kathleen’s heart was to share that experience with her husband, Jack and three children, Katie, John Thomas and Graham. In 2005, God provided an opportunity for the whole Carney family to go to Zambia. That trip confirmed in Kathleen’s heart that God was calling her to ministry with orphans.
Since that time, she has been able to travel to Africa five times to love on the sweet children in Zambia and Ethiopia. It is pure joy to be able to serve on the mission field with her husband of 28 years and their children.
Having graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Elementary Education, working with children has been a life long passion. Kathleen gained valuable experience in sales, merchandising, and customer service while working in a Christian gift showroom at the Dallas Merchandise Market. It is exciting to see how the Lord used that time at Market to prepare and equip Kathleen to serve at Visiting Orphans.
This past year, the Lord has blessed the Carneys with two new family members- Josh Myers married Katie and Amanda Rigg married John Thomas. Jack and Kathleen celebrated God’s goodness with each wedding.
Their youngest son, Graham, is heading to the University of Tennessee in the fall. As Graham often says, ‘My mom is most in her element when she is with the orphans in Africa or snow skiing!”Close