Early LifePaul was born in Twin Falls, Idaho where his parents were farming in the area. As believers they endeavored to rear Paul in a godly home. When he reached school age, his parents enrolled him in a Christian school which is a ministry of the church he and his family attended.
Early CallSince he was five or six he has always wanted to be a missionary. When his pastor would announce that a missionary was coming to their church he would be excited to see all the cool stuff on the missionaries' displays. He especially loved the ones that would have machetes and snake skins. This was the beginning of his desire to be a missionary.
Salvation and BaptismAt the age of eight he made a profession of faith because of his best friend, but it was not a true profession. The Lord began to work in Paul's heart and many nights he would go to bed scared that he would die, knowing that he would not go to spend eternity with God. He tried many times to convince himself that he said a prayer so he was saved. Finally, one cold night in January he couldn't put off the prompting of the Lord any longer. It was a Saturday night and he had already been sent to bed and he went and sat on the couch to wait for his dad. When his dad came out and saw Paul, he was upset at first to see that Paul had gotten out of bed. But when he heard Paul say, "Dad, I think I need to get saved," he immediately sat down and took Paul through all the verses that he had already memorized for school. This time Paul understood that it was a personal decision and he made it. He was thirteen. A short time later he was baptized.
BurdenedThe summer of 1989 Paul attended a bible camp and the preacher there encouraged all the young people to be burdened for the lost now and to do what they could in their local churches. Paul and several teenagers from his church approached their pastor when they arrived home from camp. Their pastored was overjoyed to schedule a time for the teens to go calling. He asked Paul to be the leader. Paul was the leader of the teens until he left for college, and also for the first summer after college.
April was born and reared in small-town Colorado. Her parents started a church and have pastored that same church for over 30 years. April's parents enrolled her in 2nd grade at the local public school. She was excited for the first day for several reasons including her desire to witness to her classmates. After three years in public school, April's parents believed that it would be more beneficial to homeschool their children. April is very grateful that her parents decided to homeschool and has appreciated the education, both secular and religious that she received from her parents.
Salvation and Early Call
April accepted Christ as her personal Savior shortly after her 5th birthday. Her father took her through the passages of Scripture relating to salvation replacing the "whosoevers" with her name. She understood her need for salvation and prayed and asked the Lord to save her. Her father carefully recorded the event in her Bible.
April soon developed a burden for the lost, especially her paternal grandfather. She remembers a missionary visiting the church and challenging all, young and old, to be missionaries where they were. She went forward at the invitation and prayed with a lady in the church, surrendering her life to be used for God as a missionary if He desired. April was baptized at the age of seven, when her parents believed that she would have the best understanding of the event.
April continued to witness when given the opportunity to neighbors, relatives, and others whose path she might cross. She, too, dedicated her life to God at bible camp.
Two Paths Joined
Formal Education - 1995-1999In August of 1995 Paul packed his clothes and headed for Tempe, Arizona. Paul enrolled at International Baptist College majoring in Missions. After four years of hard work in his studies, and at his job, he graduated in May of 1999. In August of 1998 Paul and April met and began to get to know one another. They were engaged in July of 1999 and married January 14, 2000.
April packed her bags and truck and the whole family (in two vehicles) drove from Colorado to Iowa where April was enrolled at Faith Baptist Bible College. She studied there three years majoring in Biblical Studies and minoring in Music. In August of 1998 she moved to Tempe, Arizona where she completed her remaining credits, transferred them back to her Alma Mater, and graduated in early May of 1999.
Call to RomaniaPaul had let it be known that he was interested in being a missionary and the director of International Baptist Missions, Dr. David Sproul, approached Paul and April and proposed that they take a missions trip to Romania after their marriage. So, in September 2000 Paul and April flew to Romania. They were met at the airport by Robin Burnett and two of the Romanians from his church. After spending two weeks in Romania and talking with the Burnetts, they went home with a burden for the people of Romania.
Application to the Mission Board and DeputationPaul and April were accepted with International Baptist Missions in January 2001. They began part-time deputation in March of that year and by August were on the road full time. They only had about 3% of their support when they started, this was a step of faith for them and the Lord blessed it. By November of 2004 they had 85% of their support and the approval of the mission board to purchase tickets for Romania.
First TermPaul and April arrived in Romania March 2, 2005. It took about 30 days for them to find an apartment. Once settled they started some language classes and began to get involved in the ministry. Paul started teaching the adults Sunday school class and also preaching in the Sunday evening service in Targoviste. In the village of Sotanga he taught every other Thursday evening. September 2006 their co-workers, Robin and Sally Burnett, along with their two adopted Romanian daughters took their first furlough in seven years. From September until November 2007 Paul and April ministered in Targoviste and Sotanga, Romania alone. Paul began preaching and teaching five times a week while still trying to keep up with the daily activites of life. They were also renovating the building in Targoviste and this took many weeks to accomplish.
At the end of October of 2007 they took a short sabbatical to await the birth of their daughter. Sienna Rose Lawrence was born November 8, 2007. Robin and Sally Burnett arrived back on the field November 9, 2007, just in time. Paul and April allowed the Burnetts to shoulder most of the load for a couple weeks while they became accustomed to being new parents.
Paul and April continued to work in both Targoviste and Sotanga, Romania with the Burnetts until July 2008 when they left for their first furlough.
First FurloughPaul, April, and Sienna left Romania in July 2008 for their first furlough. They began traveling to their supporting churches and new churches in August. They have been in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The beginning of December they left for Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California before arriving back in Arizona in April 2009. The end of April they took a flight for states east to visit the few churches they have out that direction and some family and friends when possible.
Second TermTheir flight from Phoenix to Romania arrived on May 13th. The literally hit the ground running. A missionary family that had been living near Bucharest kindly loaned the Lawrences their home while the Lawrences looked for temporary housing in Targoviste. Within a week Paul and April had found an apartment willing to accept a short-term lease.
In August of 2009 the Lawrence family moved from Targoviste to the north-western part of the country, Cluj-Napoca, to further their Romanian language studies.