Sunday School Department June 20th, 2015Joshua Santiago
Andrew MerrimanSunday School Director
Rev. Andrew Merriman is currently overseeing our first satellite location – the Truth Church of Gardner, Kansas. He was born May 21, 1980, and raised in Southern Illinois. After High School, he married and joined the U.S. Air Force. He was eventually stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, where he accepted his call into the ministry. While there, his first two children were born.
In the Fall of 2003, Rev. Merriman was transferred to Minot, North Dakota. There, he worked with the Pastoral Ministry Staff, serving in Youth Ministry and Sunday School. The following year, he was deployed to Iraq and proudly served our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2005, Rev. Merriman left the Air Force and returned to Southern Illinois. There, he assisted in a Home Missions church, wearing many hats of the ministry. During this time, he also completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. It was also during this time that his third daughter was born.
Upon graduating from college in the Spring of 2007, God led him and his family to Kansas City and New Life Pentecostal Church. Under the direction and leadership of Pastor Gregory Riggen, Rev. Merriman experienced personal and spiritual growth as he fulfilled various roles while serving on the local Ministry Staff. Among those roles were the offices of Sunday School Director, Youth Minister, and Corporate Secretary for the church.
In the Summer of 2013, as a result of Pastor Riggen’s vision for the Kansas City Metro, God began dealing with Rev. Merriman about starting a church in the neighboring city of Gardner. After much prayer, fasting, and counsel, Rev. Merriman felt the confirmation of God to plant the Truth Church of Gardner. On Easter Sunday, 2014, the first service was held. God continues to bless this endeavor, and the church continues to grow.
In 2015, Rev. and Sister Merriman added to their family by adopting two siblings (a boy and a girl). They are excited about the opportunity to not only bring these children into their lives, but, more importantly, to raise them in a Christian home.
Rachel GoffToddlers Teacher
A homeschooling mother to five children, Sister Goff understands the needs of young kids. She has said that some of her favorite childhood memories are of devotions every day before school, which were very similar to Sunday School. In fact, that was where she received the Holy Ghost at five years of age.
It is obvious that Sister Goff loves to teach young children the basic doctrines, such as one God and baptism in Jesus’ Name. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing the “light come on” when the children understand and remember the concepts. She has made it a personal goal to see to it that each child who comes into her class feels important and learns truth.
Erica WilliamsToddler Assistant
Erica Williams is the oldest daughter of Pastor and Sister Riggen, and was born into a family with a rich Apostolic Heritage. She received the Holy Ghost at the age of 6 while living in Aransas Pass, Texas. She moved to Olathe in 1996 when her father became the pastor at New Life Pentecostal Church. She married a young man in the church and has been blessed with 4 children, raising them in the truth.
Erica has always had a passion for working with children. She started assisting in the Sunday School department at the age of 17, and has been involved with Sunday School off and on since that time. Her passion for working with children spread beyond her involvement in Sunday School and into my career. She is currently a Registered Nurse specializing in pediatrics, employed at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and working as a substitute nurse for the Olathe School District.
It does not take long for one to recognize Erica’s love for working with preschool-age children. She knows that they find joy in the simple things of life which older individuals often overlook. They are quick to forgive. They love one another freely. They have a pure sense of faith in God and His ability to fix any problem that may present itself. Erica loves helping preschoolers hide God’s Word in their hearts.
Anika SantiagoSubstitute Teacher
Trish RedusBeginners' Teacher
Trish Redus and her family came to New Life Pentecostal Church in 2003, and says she feels blessed to have been able to call this church her home for the last 12 years. As a young person, her desire was to teach children. She enjoys being able to serve the Beginners class because, although the students are young, she finds their enthusiasm for the things of God amazing. Each week they bring sincere prayer requests, and share testimonies of answered prayers.
She has expressed how honored she feels to be entrusted with teaching this class. It is her desire to see each student advance in their knowledge of the Scriptures, and grow to have a genuine faith in God and an unwavering belief in the power of prayer.
Anna OlmosBeginners' Assistant
The Olmos family moved to the Olathe area in 2012. They visited many churches before settling at New Life. When she came, Anna said it felt as though she had found a family. She often expresses her appreciation for the truth that is taught and the love and support that is shown at New Life Pentecostal Church. That appreciation is readily recognizable as she pours her heart into everything she does for the Kingdom of God.
Brandon HiltonPre-Teen Teacher
Rev. Brandon Hilton was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1986 to godly Apostolic heritage. Both of his parents were raised in Apostolic homes. His grandfather, Rev. L.D. Hilton, was the second pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church. He was dedicated to the service of the Kingdom of God as an infant, and his parents raised him to love the things of God and pursue a relationship with the Savior! He received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in the lovely name of Jesus Christ at the age of 10. Six years later, he acknowledged the call of God on his life to become a minister of the Gospel.
As has already been mentioned, his grandfather was a minister. Rev. L.D. Hilton had not only been pastor of New Life, but had served in other ministerial capacities, including evangelizing. The influence of Grandpa Hilton, however, was abruptly taken from him when his grandfather was promoted to Glory in 1996. In spite of this seemingly devastating loss, God replaced that void with the coming of Pastor Gregory Riggen, the current pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church. These men have greatly affected the direction in which God has drawn Rev. Brandon Hilton to serve the Kingdom of God.
Rev. Hilton is currently active in teaching the New Converts’ Care on Sunday afternoons. He is also leading the effort to plant a new satellite location in LaCygne, Kansas. Every Wednesday evening, Rev. Hilton drives more than an hour each way to hold a weekly Bible Study. Already souls are coming to God, and lives are being changed.
Rev. Hilton is married to Pastor Riggen’s middle daughter, Andrea. They have two daughters and a son.
Andrea HiltonPre-Teen Assistant
Andrea Hilton says some of her earliest memories are of being in Sunday School. She has two distinct memories of lessons taught by a Sunday School teacher in a Nursery class. It has been twenty-five years ago, but she will never forget the tears in her teacher’s eyes as she taught the lessons. Even though she was very young, that teacher had an impact on her life. Andrea is hoping that some day a child will look back and remember her in the same fashion.
Andrea has been helping in Sunday School off and on for more than fifteen years. In fact, as soon as she graduated out of Sunday School, she was immediately sent back in as a helper. She loves working with kids and wants to help encourage them to be all that God wants them to be!
Dezarae AllbrittonYouth Teacher
Dezarae remembers the days as a small child when she would have her parents be the “students” in their living room which, in her imagination, was her “classroom.” As funny as this may sound, that passion for teaching felt by a little girl continued to grow as she got older. As a teenager, she constantly prayed that God would use her career and passion to help young people and allow her to be an asset to the church. Immediately after graduation, she pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She has since obtained her Master’s and is currently working towards her Doctorate.
Because of her desire to be used of God, she began teaching at a Christian School. She developed strong relationships with the young people, and was soon serving as a chaperone for youth trips, as well as planning various youth functions.
In the Summer of 2013, Dezarae moved to the Kansas City area to take a teaching position in the Kansas City, Kansas School District. It was at that time she became a member of New Life Pentecostal Church. Before moving here, she had prayed that Pastor and Sister Riggen would have a work for her to do in God’s Kingdom that involved working with teens. Two weeks after arriving, Sister Riggen approached her about becoming the Teen Sunday School Teacher. Her overwhelming feeling of excitement prompted an eager answer of “YES!”, knowing God had answered her prayer.
Dezarae loves teaching Biblical principles and says, “My desire as a Sunday School Teacher is to help young people to serve God in sincerity, maintain a prayerful relationship with God, and live for Him their entire lives.”
Victoria HiltonYouth Assistant
Victoria Hilton, was born into an Apostolic family in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved with her family to Olathe, Kansas in the Spring of 1995. She is fourth generation Apostolic. Both of her brothers are Apostolic ministers, and her late grandfather was pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church for more than 10 years. Additionally, her great-grandfather was a pioneer of the Apostolic faith who shared this message of truth, baptizing many people in the precious name of Jesus. Victoria received the Holy Ghost at the age of 10 at a church camp, and was baptized in Jesus’ Name shortly thereafter. She is thankful that God has graciously given her a personal revelation of this truth, as well as a hunger to see others come to know it.
After completing High School, Victoria worked as a child care provider in both as a nanny in single home positions and serving as a lead teacher for toddlers in a daycare classroom setting. She delights in helping children conquer new things, and overcome daily obstacles and fears.
Victoria has served as a Sunday School Toddler teacher at New Life for several years and has been the assistant for the Teen Sunday School Class since the Spring of 2013. Her desire is to see teenagers develop a passion for living for God and she carries a burden to see more teenagers born into God’s Kingdom.