The Kotvas Family
Joe is a former Deputy Sheriff who worked with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office just prior to answering the call to missions. He is also a 6 year veteran of the United States Navy and served with VS-24 aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz.
In 1983 while stationed in Millington, Tennessee, Joe received Christ as his personal Saviour at the First Baptist Church of Millington. From Millington, he was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida where he became a member of Trinity Baptist Church. Joe became involved with the Deaf Ministry at Trinity in 1985. While there, he met Lisa.
Lisa was born in Australia while her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force. After moving around quite a bit, her father retired and the family settled in Belleville, IL.
At age 16 Lisa trusted Christ as her Saviour at the Faith Baptist Church in Belleville. and at 17 went off to Trinity Baptist College. It was there that she developed a burden for deaf people and became involved in the deaf ministry at Trinity in 1985.
In the Summer of 1987, she took a short term mission trip to Lima Peru to work with Vernon and Velma Miller at Efata. Lisa graduated in May of 1988 and two days later we were married. She is a homemaker and my partner in ministry at Efata.
Our Journey to Peru
In November of 1988 Joe completed his enlistment in the Navy and moved to Belleville, IL, going on staff as Assistant Pastor to the Deaf at Faith Baptist Church under Pastor Scott Baker. After a year of training and experience at Faith, Joe & family moved back to Jacksonville for further training in the Deaf Ministry. While there, he attended classes related to the Deaf Ministry at Trinity Baptist College, as well as attending the Police Academy there.
In 1991 Joe graduated Valedictorian from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office/FCCJ Police academy and in February of 1992 he was hired with the Lee County Sheriff’s office in Ft. Myers, FL as a Deputy. In Ft. Myers, Joe & family became active members of Emmanuel Baptist Church. It was there in April of 1994 in a mission’s conference that Joe surrendered to the call to preach. Pastor Richard Riley brought him on as assistant pastor where he worked for over two years. From there Joe took a position as assistant pastor at Labelle Baptist Temple in Labelle, Florida. While serving there, Joe & Lisa went on a vacation to visit deaf missionaries Vernon and Velma Miller in Lima, Peru. It was during that vacation that God called Joe to become a missionary to the Deaf in Peru, South America. In November of 1998, Joe resigned as assistant Pastor, resigned his position with the Sheriff’s Office, and went on full time deputation.
On December 2, 1999, the Kotvas family moved to Peru, South America where they are serving today.