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Lay Elder Chris Otto
My wife, Carmen, and I married in 1993. We have eight children consisting of six boys and two daughters. I own a concrete construction business, which I run with some of my sons. Carmen has been a homeschool mom for many years and is now busy enjoying the fruits of her labor…our grandchildren!
Growing up, I was pretty much a normal kid. I worked full-time as a mechanic from the time I was 15 until I joined the Army. When I got out of the Army, I started a summer job pouring concrete. I ended up skipping out on the college idea and continued in concrete. Four years later I met Carmen. A year and a half later, we were married and our first child was on the way. When Carmen became pregnant with our second son, who is now 27, we decided that I would start my own concrete company, A-1 Concrete, so she could stay at home with the kids.
My personal conversion: New Year’s Eve 1999 the reality hit me that if these Y2K people were right I could die tonight… That would mean I would be in Hell tonight forever!!!! Out of 100% fear, I asked God to please give me another chance. Two days later I was “alive” and in church.
December of 2000, I took my first trip to Romania, and six months later there was no doubt God was calling us to go live there. In 2002, we (myself, my pregnant wife, and 4 children) jumped on a plane. We had no idea what we would do in Romania we simply knew God had called us to go. Through a series of events, it became clear that my construction experience was needed by missionaries in Romania, so I ended up starting a construction company and building for missionaries and non-profit organizations. In April 2004, we returned stateside to keep A-1 Concrete afloat, as it had been supporting us the entire time we were in Romania.
In the fall of 2005, we began holding church services in our home Thursday nights, Bible studies on Tuesday nights, and I was on a preaching rotation at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Also in 2005, we entered into the challenging yet rewarding arena of foster parenting and were blessed with several additions to our family.
In 2007, we joined SHC and truly realized God is doing something incredibly unique in this fellowship. In 2009, I became an elder at Summit. We have been at Summit for over 15 years and I can truly say they are my family.
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