Maryellen was born in Dallas, but moved to Cairo, Egypt when she was four. She spent her childhood years homeschooling, horseback riding near the Pyramids, learning Arabic, traveling with her family, hiking, snorkeling, spelunking, discovering native wildlife, and growing in her relationship with Jesus Christ. Since returning to the States for college in 2011, she has enjoyed working with horses, reptiles, youth, and people with disabilities. Although she originally planned on a career in wildlife research, God has directed her heart toward cross-cultural ministry. Since graduating from Bob Jones University with a degree in Zoo & Wildlife Biology, she now lives with her parents in Rockwall, TX, where her dad pastors a church. She first started volunteering with For the Nations in January 2016, and has loved the opportunity to serve and learn from people with all kinds of stories and backgrounds.