While attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, the Lord made it clear to Jared that he was to go live amongst the Nicaraguan people and preach Christ. In 2000, after graduating from Moody, Jared and Tanya were married. After completing a year in language school in Costa Rica, they went on to serve the Lord in Nicaragua. God used many trials in their first year to teach them more about depending on Christ, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.
At first, the Cox’s started a youth center to teach and train youth who had a desire to learn and serve the Lord but there was not biblical church to send them to. After a year, Jared was burdened to plant a biblically sound church where the young people could be discipled and trained according to God’s Word, and sent out to serve the Lord.
They began the first church plant in Managua in 2005. The Lord has done a mighty and powerful work over the years! By God’s grace, many have been saved, discipled, trained and sent out to start new churches. The main church in Managua now has over 300 members. Churches have also been planted in Balgue and Merida on the Island of Ometepe, along with in Chinandega and Matagalpa. The churches are based in prayer, the Word, worship, and serving the Lord.
After fifteen years in Nicaragua, the Lord brought John 3:30 to Jared heart, “He must increase. I must decrease.” After much prayer, the Cox family left the churches in the hands of the Nicaraguan pastors and leaders. They returned to the United States in 2016 and now reside in Bozeman, Montana where the newest Petra church plant is located. Recently, Petra has become partnered with churches in Colombia as well.
God continues to build His Kingdom as the work carries on!
Meet the Pastors
Pastor Jared was born in Alton, IL and raised in Phoenix, AZ. He received Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age seven. From a young age Jared dreamed of being a shepherd and taking care of sheep. After losing his dad to a massive heart attack at age ten, the Lord used the tragedy and many trials to call him to be a missionary. After finishing his degree from Moody Bible Institute, he married Tanya. The Lord called them to be missionaries in Nicaragua, where they spent fifteen years planting churches and making disciples. In 2016, the Lord called their family back to the States to start Petra Bible Church in Bozeman. In 2018, Jared finished his M. Div. from Western Seminary and the bilingual church plant began in Bozeman. Jared and Tanya have four kids: Josiah (17), Isaiah (15), Gaby (13), and Jeremiah (11). Jared’s favorite hobbies include camping with his family, hiking, date nights with Tanya, and playing sports with his kids.
Pastor Nick was born and raised in Saint Charles, IL. He received Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age eight. Nick was fascinated with the life of a missionary, even participating in multiple missionary trips during his years in high school. During one of those trips at age 17, he felt a call to be a missionary. Over the next ten years, God used various circumstances in Nick’s life to show him that life apart from that calling would not be satisfying. He travelled with a church from Denver in July 2012 on a short term missions trip to Nicaragua where he met Meileen and the Cox Family. That trip captured his heart in a very convicting and special way, leading Nick to take a full-time position as an English Literature teacher at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, while also allowing him to grow in serving the Managua Petra Church as a deacon and elder-in-training over the next five years. In 2017, Meileen and Nick were asked to return to Bozeman, MT to help plant the church with Pastor Jared, Tanya, and another missionary, Amber Lundskog. Meileen and Nick now have three children: Emilia (5), Caleb (4), and Thomas (3). Nick’s joys in life include dating his wife, playing with his kids, hiking, hunting, gardening, woodworking, and raising a backyard chicken flock.
Jason was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ but left for Oahu, Hawaii at 18 and spent nearly 25 years on the island. After graduating with a music degree from the University of Hawaii, Jason became a regular performer in the Waikiki bar scene. After life-long battles with depression and anxiety, and years of struggling with alcohol and substance abuse, Jason surrendered his life completely to Jesus in 2013. The healing and restoration in his life since can be best described as miraculous. Jason has dedicated his new life to serving the Lord and ministering to others not only through his musical gifts and leading worship, but also by sharing his personal testimony in the hopes that others will also experience the healing and freedom he found in Christ. In 2019, Jason earned a MDiv with an emphasis in Worship Leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is married to Shayla who is from Kailua-Kona, HI and is a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, and has a daughter Maya (23) who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Shayla and Jason enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and exploring new cultures together.
Jared Cox Senior Pastor
Nick Creal Associate Pastor / Petra Missionary
Tanya Cox Worship Coordinator
Meileen Creal Petra Kids Coordinator
Amber Lundskog Petra Missionary / Administrator / Ministry Coordinator
Four Pillars of Petra Bible Church
Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology. 2 Timothy 4:2
Believing firmly in the power of prayer. Ephesians 6:18
Lifting up the name of Jesus in worship. John 4:24
Sharing the Good News of Jesus with boldness. Ephesians 6:19-20
Values of Petra Bible Church
Psalm 86:11-12, 1 Timothy 1:17, Romans 16:27
Psalm 119:97-99, John 14:15, James 1:22-25, 1 John 2:3-6
Mark 10:45, 1 Peter 4:10, Philippians 2:6-11
Joy in Christ
1 Peter 1:8, Philippians 4:4-5
The Supremacy of Christ
John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 1:3-6
People become more mature disciples at our church by growing in their understanding and practice of: belief, obedience, abiding, serving, and worshipping Christ in their daily lives.
This process of growth happens through being a part of Sunday services, small groups, evangelism, and most of all, prayer.