Transforming Communities Together
World Impact established a presence in Fresno in the 1980s in response to the invitation of a group of local churches with a shared vision to reach the poor in the city. Initially our efforts focused on after-school Bible clubs for neighborhood children, sports options for teens and summer camping. As our missionaries continued to meet needs and build relationships with local families, adults responded to our invitation to join Bible studies. The long-term commitment of our missionaries has resulted in a variety of opportunities to connect with our neighbors and to celebrate as God transforms our city.
Sharon was born and raised in California. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University and decided to spend a year "doing God a favor" by doing missions for a year before attending law school. After 5 months in St Louis, she committed to staying with World Impact for 5 years. Four months later she and Rick started dating and they got married a little over a year later. She obtained a Masters degree in Administration and Organizational Leadership and they welcomed Jacob, their first son, while in Canada. The Browatzkes had the pleasure of helping to plant Jubilee Community Church in north St Louis, which now runs several Christian Community Development Programs including a christian school, men's home and businesses employing church members. Two more sons, Levi and Nathan, were born before they moved across the country to serve in the Fresno ministry. In addition to helping Bethany Inner City Church establish itself (just celebrated 20 years), Aaron and Abigail joined their family to make seven. Other churches have been planted and Sharon served as the Urban Ministry Institute Coordinator for a couple years and has served as City Director since Oct of 2014. Over 27 years, Sharon treasures dozens of life changing stories. Her main focus is facilitating churches and organizations working to Transform Communities Together.
Rick grew up in beautiful, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and misses his 2 brothers and his sister still living there. He is looking forward to seeing his Mom and Dad who are both waiting for him in glory. He has great memories of his preparation for ministry at Caronport, Saskatchewan. He graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies, from Briercrest College, and and 12 years later, on a study sabbatical, from the Seminary with a MA in Biblical counseling. He joined World Impact in 1982 and served his first 15 wonderful years in St. Louis. In 1992 he married an amazing woman, Sharon, who is now the Fresno City Director. They have 5 delightful children--Jake, Levi, Nate, Aaron and Abby. He is a ministry developer and enjoys discipling men, and facilitating The Urban Ministry Institute.
While a student at John Brown University, Kim heard the Lord calling her into full-time urban missions work. She joined the team in Fresno in 1993. Manuel grew up in the hood and came to faith in Christ in the Fresno County Jail. He was discipled through World Impact's Morning Star Ranch in Kansas and returned to Fresno in 1997. He and Kim met working together in Bible clubs and married in 2002. God has blessed them with two children, Ian age 13 and Sophia age 8. As a family they can be found trying out the newest taco truck on the block or playing games with their neighbors in their yard. Together with the Fresno team they seek to learn from and empower the urban poor to reach their community for Christ. Church planting, leadership development, and compassion and justice initiatives like our Thrift Store, tutoring, Bible club and human trafficking outreach provide avenues to build relationships and share Jesus.