Over the past 17 years, Firstlight has been effective in pursuing its purposes in six countries of Southeast Asia. Our experience (Dan & Debbie Ecker) spans more than 30 years of full-time Christian service in 25 countries on 5 continents of the world. For 15 years now, we have been living & working in Thailand.

Dan & Debbie Bio:

Graduates of Dayspring Bible Training Center

As part of their preparation for ministry, Dan and Debbie graduated from Dayspring Bible Training Center in Tarentum, PA, a two year Bible School giving practical application to a theological study of scripture. Debbie graduated in 1983. Dan graduated in 1987. They went on to serve as missionaries of Dayspring Christian Center until 1997 when they returned to the States and founded the ministry of Firstlight International.

Experiences in Ministry

1983 – 1986: Debbie, as a single missionary, has taken the gospel to to places like India, Nepal,Guatemala, Thailand, Philippines, China, Sweden, Scotland and the Soviet Union.

In one year, she traveled and ministered in nine countries. It was during those years that God gave her the ability to lead worship in languages of the people she came to serve as He sent her to minister in Bible schools and local churches. Debbie had gone on from there to lead worship in nine languages.

1987 – 1989: Shortly after their marriage in 1987, Dan and Debbie went on to complete a two year internship of service to local churches and ministries in Scotland, Germany, US, Africa and throughout parts of Asia. They served at a local church level in areas of Worship, Evangelism and Discipleship. Halfway through their internship, Dan and Debbie were ordained into the Gospel ministry.

1990 – 1991: This was a year of evaluation for Dan and Debbie. As they continued to travel and minister, they began to sense, in the Lord, a need to plant themselves in a place where they could make some disciples. In 1991,  Debbie gave birth to their son Josiah, and Dan continued to travel and minister in the U.S., Panama, Hong Kong and China.

1991 – 1996: Shortly after the birth of their son, Dan and Debbie relocated their family to work as missionaries in the northeast coast of Scotland where they served for five years as part of the Leadership Team of Riverside Christian Church, having responsibilities in the local church. They shared in the pastoral oversight of young people aged 12-24, and Dan was the Evangelistic Coordinator of the church, seeking to train people and implement evangelism in the areas they lived. Dan also was involved in helping the local eldership start other works in the region. They held a very important role within the church of helping others make their way to the mission field in a short and long term experience. Dan and Debbie helped to prepare short-term teams that were being sent by the church to minister in Germany, Croatia, Hong Kong and China. They were also very instrumental in helping the church send their first full-time missionary to China. Other young people who were under their care have gone on to serve Christ more fully.

1996 – 1997: In September of 1996, Dan and Deborah relocated their family to the U.S. and, within one year, they founded the ministry of Firstlight International. They continued to engage themselves in effective ministry locally and abroad. Dan has traveled and ministered in Guatemala, Croatia, Indonesia, Singapore, Burma and Thailand, often times returning more than once to some of these places. Dan  also worked as a consultant for three months for North Way Christian Community to start an Alpha Course and Debbie taught a class on Hebrews and Church History in the Dayspring BibleTraining Center for two semesters.

1998 – 1999: It was during this year that Dan and Debbie made preparations to move their family to Chiang Mai, Thailand. There where two “spy out the land” trips – one in January 1998 and in July of that same year. They explored homes, schools, churches and met up with other missionaries who were living there. They then returned to the States to work on raising new support for living and ministering in Thailand.

1999 – 2014: In July 1999, they relocated as a family to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Dan and Debbie studied the language, and are able to read and write in Thai. Over 15 years of ministry they have engaged in many platforms of ministry including church planting, evangelism, a mobile training center that met four times a year in Cambodia and trained over 300 pastors and leaders in that nation, participating in a two year Bible school on the border of Thailand and Laos,  working in the the far south assisting in the efforts to rebuild after the tsunami of Dec. 2004.

In 2006, Dan and Debbie began to feel a pull toward establishing a work of more beneficial permanence for the region.  They had become aware of the great needs, especially in certain regions of the country of Thailand, for assistance and development, especially in the areas of health, education and economic development.  In these same areas, there were very few, if any churches, and so, in 2007, they began a Thai foundation, to meet the needs of impoverished families, assisting in areas of scholarship, school supplies, medical outreaches, and micro economic lending.

Through this platform,  4 churches have been planted, collecting the spiritual fruit of the outreach.  Children who were formerly at risk for dropping out, even of elementary school, are staying in school, and some even completing high school and going on to higher education.  Several thousand have been able to receive good eye care, micro businesses have been started, with the idea to bring strength to our targeted family’s income, assisting them to stay together through troubled times.

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