The 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 training 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.