From Durham Natives To Asheville Missionaries

Jun 22, 2015

Back in March Nathaniel, Tori and Zach Hartwell moved to Asheville, NC to help plant Emmaus Asheville. Below you’ll find a snapshot of how God called them to Asheville.

We were Durham natives…

We’re Zach and Tori Hartwell. We’re from Durham, NC and have been members of The Summit Church from the time it was originally called Homestead Heights Baptist Church. We’ve witnessed a number of church plants be commissioned and always imagined how amazing it would be.

I (Zach) went to Western Carolina University and have family in Western NC. A few years ago Tori and I visited Asheville and fell in love with the city. We always talked about living there but settled in Durham after having our first child, Nathaniel, in 2014. In Durham we had the love and support of our intermediate family and friends, relationships we had cultivated for the past 30 years.

Called to Asheville…

One Sunday morning we saw a video about Summit planting a church in Asheville; Tori and I both had chills. It felt a little surreal but we both believed God was calling us to Asheville. After meeting Pastor Chase and hearing his vision for Emmaus we were excited to join the team and transition from serving ourselves to serving Jesus and others.

Though we were excited for this new calling we still had some fears, the biggest of which was my job situation. After having our son, Nathaniel, we decided Tori would become a stay-at-home mom.  So we began praying fervently seeking clarity about this decision and asking for provision.

Open doors…

Through that process doors began to open. Within a few short months I received callbacks from several interviews and we were able to rent a home in West Asheville owned by my Grandparents.  To make a long story short, I was hired for an incredible job and we moved quite abruptly in March of this year. We thought we would be the last ones to move with the church plant, but God had different plans for us!

Reaching the city…

Since being on the ground here in Asheville we’ve felt God’s presence more than ever. The weekend we moved, Tori randomly met a woman that was searching for a new direction with church and we have constant opportunities to engage non-Christians because Asheville is such a community driven city.  

It’s exciting to have so many opportunities to reach out to non-believers and help those in need. We are excited about God’s plans for Emmaus and urge you to call upon God to use you in ways you cannot imagine…we never thought this was possible!