Tracy grew up in rural Missouri and Texas. While studying at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, he came to faith in Christ. Karen, a city girl from St. Louis, was also converted at Truman State University. Sensing God’s call, together as an engaged couple, they transferred to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where Tracy received a BA in pastoral studies and Karen majored in communications with a writing emphasis.
After graduation in 1975 they moved to Oklahoma where their four children were born. Tracy provided for his family as a commercial finish carpenter. A stay-at-home mom, Karen home-schooled their children and served in children’s ministry. During these years Tracy served as a youth pastor and later as an elder with part-time support at their local church. Karen has worn many hats over the years, being involved in teaching, leadership, and women’s ministry. They returned to Illinois in 1989 in order for Tracy to attend seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. He then served as a Sr. pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Mt Morris [Illinois].
After a fruitful and encouraging ministry at Mt. Morris for 12½ years, he and Karen sensed God’s call to train national pastors and wives with Action Zambia’s Pastoral Leadership Development [PLD] team in Lusaka. Tracy served as the coordinator of the PLD team and started a school for Zambian pastors, Action Pastors College (APC), APC was a program of 17 courses for Zambian pastors who lack proper theological education. The program provided theological instruction as well as mentoring and encouragement for 15 pastors over a period of three years. Karen also worked with the wives of those pastors to encourage and strengthen them for their ministries.
After serving in Zambia for nine years [and 3 graduations of pastors!], Tracy and Karen returned to live in the states but continue in the training of Zambian pastors and wives. Making their home in Polo, IL, Tracy travels 3 times a year to Zambia for one month stints. Karen joins him once a year. Together they also prepare American pastors and wives to join them on short term trips to Zambia. In it’s new format APC now trains 20 pastors in fifteen courses over the period of three years. Tracy partners with several Zambian pastors and the staff of ACTION Zambia, who help him carry on the work while he is stateside.