Jon Morales was born and raised in Colombia, South America. His parents divorced when he was young. Along with five siblings, including a younger brother adopted from African descent, he was raised by his mom. He came to America in April 1994 to live with his dad and go to college. By God’s grace, he came to faith in Jesus two months later, which changed the trajectory of his whole life. His call to ministry came about six months after his salvation.
My desire to go into full-time ministry came almost parallel to my conversion, set apart by about six months. I expressed this desire to my pastor, who kindly showed me 1 Timothy 3 and encouraged me to keep growing. I kept serving in the church and memorizing Scripture, then enrolled at New York University. In my sophomore year, my church invited me to do an internship working with college students. From there, my leadership began to develop, working with college students and young professionals; we baptized hundreds of them. My senior year was a thrill: I was ordained to gospel ministry, finished college, and got married! Anna and I worked together in ministry since my junior year. That’s how we fell in love, pursuing our shared mission in Christ.
Family: Jon and Anna have been married since 1999. Anna loves walking with others as they encounter Jesus. She had worked in full-time ministry for ten years prior to deciding to stay home with their four children: daughter Rayne (college), son Jett (high school), daughter Piper (middle school), and daughter Saylor (elementary school).
Work: Jon spent about 12 years in Associate and Campus Pastor roles at churches in New York and Florida. He stepped away from ministry for five years and co-founded an engineering company (2004–2009). This was a refining season for Jon, culminating in the economic recession of 2008. Eventually the company was bought by a bigger firm and Jon received a refreshed vision and passion for vocational ministry.
We were now in Florida, our family was growing, and I joined a friend in starting a company. It was an engineering firm that grew rapidly. We opened offices in Shanghai and New Delhi. At our peak we had over 100 employees. God brought me high to bring me low.
A bigger engineering firm bought our firm, so our debt was taken care of, and I could walk away, without money but also without leaving my partner stranded. We began to live on almost a fourth of what we made before while the children kept coming. Financially, we were poorer that we’d ever been. Spiritually, we never dreamed we could be so rich.
Education: Jon received a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, NY (1999), a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary, FL (2013) and a Doctor of Philosophy, concentration: New Testament from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, NC (2016).
It was the summer of 2008, when my family and I were in India, that he put on my heart Ezra 7:10—the Scripture that would set my trajectory for the next seven years and, really, for the rest of my life. “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”
After my master’s degree, the Lord opened the door to do the PhD full-time. His provision was incredible! One family alone, who wasn’t even on my list of people to ask for support, gave us over $40,000. In those years I did feel like Ezra, studying at the highest level, reading and writing eight hours a day, six days a week, three years straight. I knew how demanding ministry life is. I was relishing the focused time of intense study as our Lord poured into me, expanded my well, and impressed on me that the time to pour out was coming. I was a child in a candy store! Many times in those years Psalm 81:10 strengthened and encouraged me. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”