March Alumni Spotlight: Joshua and Alyssa Huang—From Handbells to Wedding Bells
Pastor Joshua Huang (BA ’13, MA ’15, MDiv ’16) and his wife Alyssa (Levy ’12) have been married a little less than a year, but their connections to Faith run deep into the 99-year history of the school.
Joshua was practically born at Faith. His parents, Jesse and Becky Huang, were students at the college and seminary when he was delivered. He wasn’t born on campus, but he did fill the role of Baby Jesus in the 1989 Christmas play at Faith just a few weeks after his birth.
Joshua’s dad was raised in the Philippines and moved to the state of Washington, later deciding to enter the seminary. He chose Denver Baptist Theological Seminary, which merged with Faith Baptist Theological Seminary just before his enrollment began. This was all part of God’s sovereign plan to introduce him to his future wife, Becky Gonnerman, who was a freshman at the college in Ankeny. Becky is the daughter of Gary Gonnerman, who graduated from Omaha Baptist Bible College (more connections to Faith’s past), and pastored three churches in Iowa.
After the Huangs finished schooling, they moved to Mason City, where Joshua and his seven siblings were raised. Josh’s familial connections to Faith, along with his frequent visits to campus for events, made his college decision an easy one.
“Because of my grandpa’s background while the school was in Omaha and then the experience of my parents, I had a good understanding of what Faith represented,” said Joshua. “I knew that the school faithfully adhered to its mission of maintaining a high level of excellence both academically and spiritually. In junior high, God used my family and my church to confirm a desire for full-time ministry that He had placed in my heart. Faith offered the biblical education that I sought as I pursued full-time ministry, so going there for both college and seminary only made sense.”
Alyssa was raised in several different states across the Midwest as a pastor’s daughter. She chose Faith because it was accredited for teachers.
“I had always planned on attending another college, but when I realized the importance of accreditation for my degree as a teacher, I changed my mind and went to Faith,” said Alyssa.
Of course, Josh and Alyssa had no idea their paths would one day cross as students at Faith, but like Josh’s parents, God orchestrated that in His perfect way and time. They both came to Faith in the fall of 2009 but never got to know each other until 2011.
“I was heavily involved in the orchestra for seven years, playing whatever stringed instrument was most-needed each year (violin, viola, bass),” said Joshua. “I also played handbells for three years, learning how to ring from Alyssa during my first semester. Even though Faith is an academic institution, the relationships I formed there are what I enjoyed the most. From the faculty and staff, to the coaches, to the three presidents who served while I was there, they all treated me as family and were concerned about my spiritual well-being more than anything else. I developed close friendships with dozens of other students, many with whom I still communicate or visit on a regular basis. Oh, and one of those close friends eventually became my wife!”
Joshua and Alyssa spent the summer of 2011 at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp—Alyssa as a Contender, and Joshua as the camp photographer. It was there that they began a long-term friendship.
“Through email and texting, we became good friends as a brother and a sister in Christ,” said Joshua. “We maintained that friendship for eight years as I became close friends with Alyssa’s siblings who also attended Faith. We would talk off and on as we each experienced life’s changes throughout the years. However, we never entertained the thought of marriage until nine years after we first met.”
After they graduated, Josh and Alyssa’s paths continued to cross through their mutual interests of photography and videography. They began a dating relationship in 2018 and were married on June 1, 2019.
The Huangs are enjoying life and ministry together at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, where Joshua is the assistant pastor.
“Most of my time is spent teaching children, coordinating the music ministries, overseeing various technology ministries, assisting with the youth group, and organizing many of the various church events that take place each month,” said Joshua. “Our church is also generous in allowing us to go on a couple of missions trips a year and volunteer at camp retreats and conferences.”
Alyssa is enjoying her role as a pastor’s wife to Joshua, helping with children’s ministries at church, media ministries, and music.
“I just try to jump in and help out wherever I’m needed,” said Alyssa. “I currently work at a childcare center as a substitute teacher so I can be more flexible to travel and do ministry events with Joshua.”
The Huangs are thankful for their time at Faith, and the way God introduced them to each other and prepared them for ministry together. Joshua fondly remembers his pastoral classes taught by Dr. Robert Domokos and the relationships he built with like-minded believers that he says have opened up ministry opportunities all around the world, especially with photography. Alyssa is appreciative of the training she received as a classroom teacher and her student-teaching experience in Guam.
Joshua is also thankful for the time he spent at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his M.Div., further preparing him for his ministry. Joshua encourages current students who are considering ministry to “serve God now!”
“The more you serve right now in your local church and participate in other ministries outside your church, the better prepared you will be to take on the rigors of ministry preparation in a college and seminary setting,” said Joshua.
In the future, the Huangs believe photography will be an even larger part of their ministry.
“In today’s image-driven culture, visual media has become an essential part of reaching our world for Christ,” said Joshua. “Not only has photography allowed us to help churches, Christian schools, colleges, and missionaries promote their ministries, but it has also become a means for us to build relationships and invest in the lives of other people. We believe that the role of visual media will increase significantly in the coming years. So one of our greatest desires is to educate churches and individuals on how to use pictures and videos effectively in their ministries.”
From their introduction to each other in handbells, to wedding bells this past summer, the Huangs’ connection to each other, and to Faith’s past is all part of God’s picture-perfect plan for their lives.