Board of Directors and Staff
Nell Becker-Sweden - Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
Jesse Casler - HOPE International
Michael Cerna - Mission:Hope
Edward Densham - Samaritan's Purse
Herb Ehresman - Compassion International
Ravi Jayakaran - Medical Ambassadors Intl.
Mike Mercer - Compassion First
Joan Mussa - World Vision US
Gil Odendaal - World Relief
Micah Payton - Law Office of Dustin Sparks, LLC
Jonathan Wiles - Living Water Intl.
JoAnn Flett - Eastern University
Chad Hayward - Accord Network
Chad Hayward - Executive Director
Jon Creasy - Member Services Director
Nell Becker Sweeden has been serving in Nazarene Compassionate Ministries since 2004 and is presently the International Director, as well as CEO of NCM, Inc. She has conducted trainings and lectured in over a dozen countries.
Nell holds a PhD in Practical Theology from Boston University and is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Nell’s research is on hospitality practice and the life of the church in light of transnational migration, and specifically U.S. Latino/a immigration. She is author of Church on the Way: Hospitality and Migration.
Nell and her husband, Josh (Academic Dean of Nazarene Theological Seminary), most
recently served as Assistant Professors of Theology and Richard B. Parker Co-chairs in Wesleyan Theology at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon before returning to Kansas City. The two of them also served as volunteer missionaries in Paraguay in 2003 and taught theology courses in Asunción. Nell presently serves as Affiliate Professor of Contemporary Theology at Nazarene Theological Seminar and teaches in the Doctor of Ministry program in Innovative Leadership.
In their spare time, Josh, Nell, and their sons Elias and Asher, spend as much time as possible in the outdoors camping, biking, and hiking.
Jesse Casler joined HOPE International in 2004 and currently serves as HOPE’s Chief Operating Officer. He has a B.A. from Eastern Nazarene College and both an M.A. and an MBA from Boston University. The field of microfinance falls at the intersection of these degrees, combining Jesse’s heart for developing countries and his business expertise. Prior to and during his graduate work, Jesse gained experience in international banking at State Street Corporation’s international headquarters in Massachusetts and later at a subsidiary of Advent Software. He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America working in the finance, accounting, operations, and administration teams while at HOPE. He has served as a church board member and treasurer and is deeply committed to HOPE’s Christian mission. Jesse and his wife, Krista, live in Lancaster, PA, with their three children.
Michael Cerna serves as VP of Strategy with Mission: Hope, providing direction for programs, collaborative partnerships, and development of US-based and global staff. He has a Masters degree in International Policy and has a passion for helping unite the local and global church to vibrantly proclaim and demonstrate the gospel.
Prior to joining Mission: Hope, Michael served as a Missions Pastor at an Atlanta-based, multi-site church. He previously worked with various non-profits, domestically and abroad, as an economic policy analyst focused on China, the Palestinian Territories, and South America. Mission: Hope's focus on people-focused, community transformation combines Michael's experience in strategic partnerships and leadership development with his desire to strengthen the local church.
Edward Densham is the Director of International Projects with Samaritan’s Purse (SP), in which he provides management oversight to the international activities around the world. This includes the 15 SP field offices and numerous partner programs.
Edward started working with SP in 1999 in South Sudan as the Country Director, moving to the International Headquarters in 2004 as a Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child, before moving into the Projects department as a Regional Director for East and Southern Africa in 2005. Edward accepted the position of Deputy Director of International Projects in 2008 and transitioned into his current role as Director in 2010. He provides general direction and solutions for complex issues to improve coordination, cooperation, and consistency worldwide in all SP Projects and Programs; most recently leading the emergency response for Samaritan's Purse in Liberia and the Philippines.
Edward has his undergraduate and post graduate degrees from Loughborough University in the UK and his MBA from Sydney Graduate School of Management in Australia. Married for 18 years, Edward and his wife, Bethany have two school age children and enjoy many activities with them, including hiking and a variety of sports activities.
Herb Ehresman joined Compassion International in 2006 where he has held a variety of Program Director roles focusing on program design and delivery throughout Compassion’s network of field countries and partner churches. He currently serves as the Program Development Principal for Strategic Alliances - a new global function intended to increase Compassion’s collaboration and engagement with like-minded organizations.
Prior to Compassion, Herb has worked in both corporate and military settings, holding jobs as a civil engineer, university professor and business consultant. He holds a BS in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a MS in geotechnical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Duke University.
Herb, his wife Dawn, and four children live in Colorado Springs, Colorado where they enjoy raising goats, being outside and attending a church planted by the Anglican Church of Rwanda.
Professor JoAnn Flett joined Eastern University faculty in 2009. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she has 20 years of accounting and finance experience in industries that include: education, government, retirement communities and commercial real estate. She has held senior accounting and management positions for several organizations including: Delaware County Community College, Dunwoody Village, Pura Vida Coffee, Agent General for Queensland (London, U.K.), Bettinger Mifflin Rich C.P.A. Group and Spieker Properties LLC.
She lives in Newtown Square with her husband Eric (who teaches theology in Eastern's Undergraduate program), and two sons Miles and Elliot. They are members of Broad Street Ministry on the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Dr. Ravi Jayakaran has well over three decades of experience leading International poverty reduction and strategic development programs. He is the President/CEO of Medical Ambassadors International, as well as the Catalyst for Integral Missions for the Lausanne Movement. Dr. Jayakaran has worked in senior management positions in the corporate sector, International NGOs, the Asian Development Bank and the UNDP. He has lived and worked long term in India, Cambodia, China and the US and provided technical support in more than 23 countries on issues of Transformational Development, Integral Mission, Relief & Development, Participatory Poverty alleviation and development, Public health, & prevention of trafficking. Ravi and his wife Vimal live in Ripon, California. They have grown up sons who are married and have their own families.
Besides the Accord network board, Ravi serves as a member of the board of directors on several other boards, including the Chalmers center and Forward Edge International.
More information on Ravi’s work and his publications can be found on his web site at www.ravijayakaran.com
Mike Mercer is the Founder and CEO of Compassion First, a Christian relief/anti-trafficking organization that has pioneered holistic, long-term care and rehabilitation for survivors of child sex trafficking in Indonesia. Their work is also supported by peer-to-peer law enforcement training efforts, legal advocacy for survivors, and community development work in severely vulnerable communities.
Prior to working for Compassion First, Mike was also the Co-Founder of Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) following a prolonged partnered relief and rebuilding effort post-Katrina led out of his home church in Beaverton, Oregon where he previously served in various pastoral roles since his graduation from Multnomah University in 1995. Mike remains an advisor to FDR International and an ordained minister in the Foursquare Church. He lives Portland, Oregon with his wife, Kymra, their three children, and an Australian Labradoodle. He loves golf and the Martial Arts and is good at neither.
Joan Mussa has provided World Vision U.S. with leadership in communications and fundraising for more than two decades. In 1985, Mussa came to World Vision to produce fundraising videos about the Ethiopian food crisis. She was later based in Nairobi, Kenya, and worked throughout the continent before returning to the United States.
Mussa was named senior vice president for advocacy and communications in 2005. In 2009, private fundraising was added to her portfolio. Under Mussa’s energetic leadership, achievements have included a thorough brand review, development of advocacy and government relations efforts, launch of a capital campaign, and creation of award-winning print and electronic communications. Among her current areas of focus is a project to develop new and innovative fundraising methods.
Mussa holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She and her husband are the parents of three children.
Gil Odendaal serves as the Vice President of Integral Mission with World Relief. Prior to holding his present position he served as Global Director for PEACE Implementation with Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and as Global Director for the HIV/AIDS Initiative. He has thirty years of ministry experience as missionary, pastor, educator, and leader. For the past 15 years he has progressively immersed himself in community development and the church’s fight against HIV and AIDS, especially in the African context. Other professional positions held by Gil include Regional Coordinator for Africa with Medical Ambassadors International. He also served as Regional Coordinator for Russia and Eastern Europe for a period of two years.
Deeply committed to unleash the untapped human resources latent in the church worldwide and to see health equity become a reality in the southern countries, Gil is committed to mobilize the global church to serve the most vulnerable effectively, spiritually and physically. He has developed innovative programs, projects and campaigns that empower the local church globally toward education, prevention, treatment and care for the infected and affected in the pandemic.
Gil and his wife, Elmarie, were born and raised in South Africa. They have been married for 37 years. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Micah Payton is Of Counsel at the Law Office of Dustin Sparks, LLC and represents non-profit organizations, charter schools, and churches. Prior to his current role, he served as Assistant General Counsel for Compassion International, focusing on HR matters, contracts, intellectual property, marketing, litigation, policy/legislation, and religious freedom issues.
Prior to his role with Compassion, Micah served as Assistant Attorney General at the Colorado Department of Law in the Civil Litigation & Employment Law Section. He is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and James Madison University. He lives, serves, and plays in Monument, Colorado with his wonderful wife, three children and his Newfoundland dog.
Jonathan Wiles is a nonprofit executive and strategist with 15+ years of cross-cultural leadership experience and a passion for integral mission. As Senior Vice President of Programs at Living Water International, he is responsible for the organization’s operations outside the United States: 230+ staff across 17 countries who serve 300,000 people per year through church- and community-centered WASH programs, along with the US-based teams that directly support them. He also advises other organizations on strategy and change, and since 2013 has served on the board of the Accord Network, where he recently completed a term as Chair.
Before joining Living Water ten years ago, Jonathan spent six years at Schloss Mittersill—an intentional Christian community and study center in Austria. He completed postgraduate work in biblical and cultural studies at Regent College and earned an MA in International Development from Eastern University, where he is now a PhD candidate in Organizational Leadership. Jonathan lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Maridyth and their four children.
Chad Hayward has served as Executive Director for Accord Network since 2007. Prior to this, Hayward served in the federal Faith-Based Initiative as the Senior Adviser for the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID is the primary United States governmental agency extending assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.
Prior to joining USAID, he spent several years on Capitol Hill where he served as Communications Director for Rep. Jim Ryun of Kansas and Policy Aide to Rep. John Thune of South Dakota. Before his time in Washington, Hayward worked as Director of Operations for Prayer for the Persecuted Church, an organization working to encourage involvement among the church to the subject of persecuted Christians worldwide as well as for a development/consulting firm that specialized in helping non-profit organizations.
Chad holds a Bachelors degree in political science and history from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and resides in Washington DC.
Jon Creasy has been the Member Services Director for the Accord Network since June of 2016.
Jon has experience in relief and development nonprofits both internationally and domestically, as well as a working familiarity with Congressional offices and nonprofit lobbying. Before he worked at Accord, Jon interned with the Austrian Red Cross, the LSZ Burgenland, and for a midwestern Republican Member of Congress.
Jon graduated in 2015 from Bryan College with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, and a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance. He is an Eagle Scout originally from Tennessee, and he now lives in the San Diego area with his wife, Virginia.