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Serving Together Around the World – The Banta’s

Author: David Davolt
Published on: January 7, 2021

With a huge heart for kids and no need for fame, Nate and Stacy Banta have been in ministry together almost since the day they met at Boise Bible College. They work quietly and effectively to share the love of Christ with people wherever they are.

Nate was familiar with BBC since his parents, Dr. Larry and Ellen Banta, had been adjunct faculty. But he was already involved in missions work with Ninos de Mexico in Mexico City, so he planned on attending a Christian college in California. A quick trip from Mexico City to Boise to visit his sister, who also worked with Ninos, changed that.

Remembering Boise Bible College students’ good experiences he’d heard about, he stopped in to visit the college on a whim. He wanted to pick up some materials, “just in case.” Little did he know he would run into his former youth leader, Ross Knudsen, working in Admissions. Nate sums it up, “Long story short, Ross talked me into attending, and 8 weeks later, I moved from Texcoco, Mexico to Boise, Idaho.”

Meanwhile, Stacy Loos had planned to attend a Christian college in Oregon that unexpectedly closed the summer after her high school graduation. She remembered BBC from meeting Ross at a college fair. When she showed up to check out the school, he remembered her by name and convinced her to attend.

Nate and Stacy met as students, married, and in 2001 started Child Help International as a ministry to children in Baja California Norte. Taking groups of students on mission trips, they reached out to the children and offered hygiene programs. This would pave the way for missions work that continues today.

Stacy obtained a Bible certificate in 2000. That same year, Nate served as Eagle Christian Church’s first Children’s Minister, which he considers an honor. Nate had a lot of fun in college and had some favorite pranks. He would call the student lounge’s payphone and try to order pizza from unsuspecting students who answered or start an argument about baptism or taking communion weekly. He liked to debate seniors about the bizarre theologies of fake churches he claimed he would start after graduation. As president of the missions committee, he helped found Missions Emphasis Week. He worked hard to get students to buy in, hoping it would survive beyond his time at BBC.

Stacy came from a Pentecostal background and found professor Dale Cornett to be a patient, thorough teacher, helping her wade through theological questions. Kenny Beckman always supported and encouraged her. Dr. Charles Crane, Bill Krause, Chuck Faber, Rich Schell, and Glennis Thomas all influenced her profoundly and gave her a safe haven to learn, grow, and find direction for her future.

Nate found a lot of encouragement in Bill Krause. Mr. Faber encouraged him to complete his degree and helped him develop better study habits. Nate’s classes on crisis and pastoral counseling have been most useful as he ministers to hard-hit families and children worldwide.

He graduated in 2003 with a BS in Christian Ministries. He took a position as Children’s Minister at Caldwell Christian Church, where he served for three years, while also teaching at Caldwell Christian Academy. They then moved to Kentucky for a Children’s Ministry position at Shively Christian Church in Louisville, where he served for six years. Nate did full-time missions work from 2012 to 2019. He started as Senior Pastor of Sunrise Christian Church in Ontario, Oregon in 2019. Stacy led the youth ministry at Weiser Christian Church for a year. 

Nate still serves at Sunrise and still directs CHI. In 2015, he founded CHI Coffee, a coffee shop in Caldwell that serves as a continual fundraiser for the ministry. CHI continues to have an impact in Kenya and India; they’ve started three children’s homes and partnered with other organizations to rebuild three more. Nate has started and run ministries for street children in India and Kenya. He has continued his education, becoming a certified barista through the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe via Dorman’s School of Coffee in Nairobi, Kenya. He’s also certified as a School Administrator with Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) and has obtained child psychology and nonprofit management certificates.

Stacy, who is trained as an EMT and ER technician and certified in Primary Healthcare through Pioneer Bible Translators, provides healthcare training for jungle medics in northeast India and first aid training to children’s home workers.

Their experience on the mission field was well prepared for by their BBC education. They spent a year in Kenya, half of it in a remote tribal area, sharing old UN refugee tents with street children while the children’s home was being built. Nate survived cerebral malaria, Stacy was attacked by a mob and arrested, and the family has become quite skilled at removing parasites. Another six months was spent in Shillong, India, setting up two orphan care projects. Nate and their daughter Miriam survived typhoid and experienced hospitals in India. Stacy trained a group of jungle medics in a restricted area to provide emergency healthcare in villages and camps many days’ walk from the nearest passable roads or medical clinics. During that time, Nate helped orphan care projects in Southeast Asia, providing relief for children in a restricted country.

Nate and Stacy share that the varied education at BBC prepared them well for their many experiences on the mission field. Classes in missions, Bible, preaching, teaching, education, counseling, and more prepared them for work as a lead pastor, missionary, coffee shop owner, street child rehab director, children’s minister, teacher, and more.

BBC’s values are reflected in their ministry. The love and community they found at BBC have spread to slums in Mexico, the darkest alleys of India, and restricted areas of Southeast Asia. Innovation is continuously called for as they revive age-old practices and apply them to today’s church and mission field.

When they’re not directly leading the church or helping children or an organization that does, Nate and Stacy like to travel and explore new places and follow Boise State football and women’s basketball. They have four kids:  Daniel, 19; Miriam, 16; Micah, 14, and brand new Josiah, at 2 months old! They encourage them all to attend at least a year at a Christian college. They want them to have the foundation of knowing how to study, understand, and apply Scripture to build all other aspects of life on. It’s something they believe every Christian needs, to be able to withstand the lies of the ever-adapting enemy and combat whatever life throws at them, no matter what profession one chooses.