GREENVILLE — After graduating from high school in Greenville nearly 12 years ago, Elizabeth Falknor enrolled in Grove City College, a private Christian college in Pennsylvania.
During the summers, she worked at America’s number-one tech camp for youngers called iD Tech Camps.
“The camp has locations all over the country, but I worked at Stanford University,” she said. “While working at the camp, I met my husband, Burke Shartsis, a native Californian, who was also working for iD Tech. We dated through the last years of college and got married after I graduated. Two days after we got married, we moved to Slovakia to work as missionaries in a Christian elementary school called Narnia Elementary running an afternoon English program. It was an incredible opportunity, and we got to really dip our toes into missional living. After two years at the elementary school, we joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), which operates all over the world, but the training portion of our program was in Slovakia followed by an outreach to India. We were actually in the paper back in early 2012 for our mission work in India. After wrapping up our year with YWAM, we moved back to the United States and lived in Berkeley, California. Burke worked at Google and I worked at a start up in San Francisco.”
In the summer of 2013, the couple felt like God was calling them to radically leave behind the fast-paced Silicon Valley lifestyle they had been living and move to Thailand to work in the fight against human trafficking.
“Over the three years we were there, we worked with a handful of incredible organizations, primarily YWAM and Nightlight International, and were transformed by some of the women we met and the stories we heard,” Elizabeth said.
“This is World Rare Disease Day [Feb. 28],” she said. “The goal of the day is simply awareness that promotes inclusion. As Ephraim’s parents, one of our biggest desires for his life is for others to see what an incredibly sweet boy he is and to truly get to know him. We hope that his peers and their parents would not shy away from him because he wears orthotics or that his voice comes from an iPad rather than his own mouth, or any other assistive device that he and other rare-disease affected individuals may need.”