Son of a pastor’s kid from Illinois and a missionary kid from Congo, Carlan was born and raised in Burbank, California. His were the varied privileges of a California upbringing including family camps on Catalina Island, summer backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas and the beautiful and ever-present Pacific Coast along with incredible cuisine, a first job in the TV industry and decades of the best Bible teaching available at Grace Community Church. Every few years, Grandpa Carper would return on furlough and recount tales of his adventures and service in World War II and the jungles of Belgian Congo. This rather sealed Carlan’s fate as he was convinced from age sixteen that his future lay in missionary medical service to the low-income world. And it was indeed that decision that led to his meeting of Michelle Rose, as recounted in Our Story.
Carlan became a Christian in 1994 while at a church summer camp for junior high students and was baptized a year later. In 2000 he graduated from high school and went on to attend UC San Diego where he merged his love of science and the humanities, receiving degrees in molecular biology and history. From there he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for medical school and finally returned to Los Angeles for Emergency Medicine residency at LA County + USC, finishing in 2012. After completion of his medical training, Carlan moved to France with a team of physicians from various specialties to learn French before embarking on the grand project of his life and ministry, the trTheaining of excellent Christian physicians from Africa, for Africa at Kibuye Hope Hospital as a professor at Hope Africa University. It is to that work that Carlan and Michelle hope to return after a period of years in the developed world.
Born and raised in Southern California, Michelle is the second of seven siblings in an active and loving family. Her father worked as a pastor for much of her upbringing, pastoring churches in the Bay Area, Santa Barbara, and Frazier Park. Growing up on a ranch in the San Fernando Valley allowed her childhood to be filled with many fond memories of riding her horse “Blue”, climbing trees, spending the Summers at the pool, and running barefoot.
Michelle came to know the Lord at the tender age of 7 during a Bible Study that her parent’s lead for the neighborhood children. In the following years, circumstances would test her faith, but cause it to deepen and her love for her Savior to grow.
Inspired from a young age by her musical uncle Dave Coppedge, Michelle also developed a love for music. She attended California State University in Northridge, known for its acclaimed music department, and graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance.
Since graduating, Michelle has enjoyed traveling, going on STM’s and also using her music by composing, arranging, and she has performed in California, Mexico and Colombia. Michelle teaches piano to over forty local students, and is the keyboardist for the band “No Less Days”, which plays regularly at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.
Her love of music, ministry, and missions is what God used to bring her to a place where she met the love of her life, Carlan Wendler. It was at a Missions Conference where she was serving with the band “No Less Days” that Michelle and Carlan met (see our story). All to the glory of God!!