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 there 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. It was there where he met his wife Lisa. They were married on May 20, 1988. In November of 1988 Joe completed his enlistment in the Navy and moved to Belleville, IL and went on staff as Asst. Pastor to the Deaf at Faith Baptist Church under Pastor Scott Baker. After a year of training and experience at Faith, Joe and 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.
In 1991 Joe graduated Valedictorian form 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 Asst. Pastor where he worked for over two years. From there Joe took a position as assistant pastor at Labelle Baptist Temple in Labelle, Florida. It was there that 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.
Lisa was born in Australia as her father was in the U.S. Air Force at the time. 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 eldest son Joseph is married to Zulema. They have two children – Joseph James (J.J.) and Esther. He is a missionary working with us and focusing on the deaf and new deaf ministries. Joseph is an excellent teacher and preacher, loves the Lord and has a great heart for the deaf.
Birthday: September 19
Julianne grew up on the mission field with us for ten years before returning to the states to marry Frank Miller, a fine young man who is active in his church in South Florida. They are serving faithfully in the bus ministry, as well as the music ministry. Julianne has always enjoyed playing the violin, and now she accompanies her husband who is an excellent pianist. They have two beautiful boys, who are a great joy to us.
Birthday: August 2
James is in his final year of a master’s degree in Bible at the Baptist College of Ministry at Falls Baptist Church in Wisconsin. He is looking forward to serving the Lord in missions and evangelism. While growing up here in Peru, he was a great blessing to our church, both hearing and deaf, leading the music and the choir, interpreting, in construction and many more areas, as well as a wonderful older brother to the “little guys”. We are looking foward to him coming back to join our missions team.
Birthday: October 23, 1993
Jared is serving our country in the United States Air Force, having enlisted in 2017 after a year of Bible College at Master’s Baptist College in Fargo, North Dakota. His brothers and sisters love it when he calls home and spends time talking with each of them. Jared enjoys cooking and politics. We are proud of Jared, he is faithful to the church where he is stationed and is a man of good character.
Birthday: October 12, 1995