ABOUT US

Rizzo Family Oct2015-3

 

OUR STORY

Anne and I were born and raised in Buffalo, New York. We committed our lives to Christ as young adults, in 1975, and met one another while attending bible college. We were married in 1981. From 1982 to 2003, we served the Lord in full time ministry in our hometown. I was an Assistant Pastor in a large congregation for 10 years and then a Senior Pastor of a small church for 10 years. In addition to serving on the worship team and being a pastor’s wife, Anne was a full time mom, home schooling our three children.

In 2004, our son Justin came to do an internship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. Over a period of three years, we made frequent visits to see him and found our hearts deeply impacted by this 24/7 prayer room and missions base. So, in the Spring of 2007 we left our jobs, sold our house and relocated, along with our daughter Danielle, to do an internship, and then joined the staff of IHOPKC. One year later our son Jonathan also relocated to join the staff of IHOPKC. (Click here to see the prayer room “live”.)

Our pastoral calling soon found a new place to emerge as we were surrounded by hundreds of staff, students, and interns, here in Kansas City.

My (Mike) first full time ministry assignment was in 1977, as a short term missionary to the Philippines. It ended up being for two years, short by some estimates, long by others. I had only been a Christian for two years but my senior pastor felt I was ready for the challenge. I was under the umbrella of the Assemblies of God church and my specific role was to evangelize and disciple college students and young adults.

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Upon my return from the mission field, I attended Elim Bible College, a wonderful place of training with a strong emphasis on prayer and missions. Here, I met my life partner. We spent many hours on the front porch of the cafeteria, discussing our future vision and goals. Together, we surrendered our lives to ministry, wherever God might lead.

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The foreign mission field that I initially felt was my calling, evolved into something a bit different. If I may, allow me to condense the twenty-five years that followed. We got married (1981), had three beautiful children over the next four years; I was a full time pastor; Anne was a full time mom and we home-schooled our family. My ministry formation took on the roles of pastor, teacher, counselor, and in more recent times as a writer. Then came the missionary call I wasn’t expecting.

The term “intercessory missionary” first appeared in a 1948 missionary publication of the Nazarene church. Intercessory missionaries are laborers who cannot go in person to the field but who have set themselves apart to pray for the definite details of missionary work. These servants deserve titles as important to those who are appointed as global missionaries. In other words, the one laboring in the place of prayer was considered equal to the one on the mission field. Their assignment was strategic and influential to the ministry on the foreign field

Mike Bickle, Director of the IHOPKC Missions Base, has adapted this term and defines it this way: An intercessory missionary is one who does the work of the kingdom from the place of prayer and worship, while embracing a missionary lifestyle and focus. If you are interested in reading more about the history of 24/7 prayer, here is an excellent summary A Brief History of 24/7 Prayer

If I might apply another perspective, we are akin to “campus pastors.” The primary population of the IHOPKC community (staff, students, interns) is college age adults. So I have come full circle from my first full time assignment in Southeast Asia, to my current assignment in the Midwest of the USA.

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We are “watchmen on the wall” (Isaiah 62:6) helping to staff the house of prayer, while also serving in a pastoral role.

 

Married couples small groups along with premarital counseling, are two of our frequent activities.

 

A more recent family photo update:

One thought on “ABOUT US

  1. Hi Mike and Anne,

    Greetings to you in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    How are you? It has been almost 4 decades since the last time we communicated. Glad to be anle to search you Byron Berwick.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    In Christ,

    Teddy Sugpatan

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