SBI staff members are dedicated to the discipleship, formation, and safety of our students.
Missions has continually shaped Samuel and Amber Spatola’s life: Samuel grew up on the mission field in Italy and the couple later met when Amber’s university missions trip brought her to Saints Equipped to Evangelize. They married and moved to Italy to serve full-time at Saints Bible Institute in 2007 after Samuel completed seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Samuel serves as Dean of Saints Bible Institute and Amber is the Italian Instructor. The Spatolas live in Italy near the Saints Bible Institute campus with their children Dylan and Claire but still call Bradenton, Florida, their home in the United States. They recently celebrated 10 years of marriage and enjoy traveling, cycling, food, books, history, and theology.
“We felt drawn to Italy because of the enormous need for the Gospel— Italy has never experienced a reformation. We also love the country and its beautiful history, culture, and food.”
Sam Spatola has been committed to seeking the kingdom of God and sharing Christ in the United States, Italy, and the Philippines. Sam came to Italy as a church planter in 1978 after learning of the profound spiritual need throughout the country. Sam founded Saints Equipped to Evangelize in 1994 and Saints Bible Institute in 2002. He continues to lead the SEE/SBI team in church planting and missions training. He lives in Italy where they enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Lia first came to Saints Bible Institute as a student at Bryan College (where she received her B.A. in Liberal Arts) and later returned to volunteer as a Resident Life staff member. She now lives in Italy full-time as an SBI Residence Life Facilitator and Office Assistant where she enjoys mentoring and supporting students on the campus as well as bringing vital day-to-day administrative support. Lia calls Davenport, Iowa, her home and loves the history and food of Italy.
“My favorite part of working at Saints is the constant reminder of the great blessing of the local and global church. Living in an intimate, Christ-centered community drives home the New Testament challenges to the church. Getting to know believers from all over the world makes me excited about the unity we have as the Bride of Christ.”
Matt and Melody joined Saints Equipped to Evangelize in 2014 after 20+ years of student ministry at Bryan College. As Director of Strategic Partnerships, Matt initiates strategic planning, teaches courses at Saints Bible Institute, and develops partnerships with universities and churches in the United States. The Bensons live in Peachtree City, Georgia, where they enjoy living life with their children— Jonathan, Joshua, and Emilyn—and offering hospitality to missionaries and friends.
SBI and SEE Teams Recruiter
As a family, Justin and Effie desire to serve God wherever He leads. After attending Word of Life Bible Institute and The Baptist College of Florida they began a season of leadership development with Chick-fil-A. They have served in several churches as youth pastors and Christian education directors. The Ables felt a call on their heart to respond to God’s leading into missions and joined SEE in 2015. Justin will be traveling throughout the United States visiting colleges and churches as a SEE Teams and SBI recruiter.
Justin & Effie love to spend time with their 9 fun loving children.
Director of University Relations
Bill Hartley has been a friend of SEE and SBI since they began. He taught Church History during the inaugural semester of SBI back in 2002, and has returned to teach several times since. A career pastor, Bill has been the senior pastor of three churches, including the one he helped plant in 2009. For the past 13 years, Bill has been active in the field of international education, serving as consultant to Christian colleges, and as the founding director of one of the largest Christian study abroad programs in the country. Since the fall of 2016, Bill is pleased to be putting all his energies into the advancement and development of SBI. Bill and his lovely wife Karen live in Mesa, Arizona, and are the parents of two adult children. Bill graduated from Westmont College (BA, Religious Studies), and Wheaton College (MA, Historical Theology). He has taught at SBI, Grand Canyon University, and most recently at Phoenix Seminary.
Director of Admissions
Carla joined the Saints Bible Institute team in March 2017 as the Director of Admissions. Carla and her family has partnered with Saints Equipped to Evangelize on several mission trips to Italy. Carla has served as Volunteer Ministry Director at McGregor Baptist Church (MBC) in Ft. Myers, FL since 2005. Prior to her ministry experience, Carla worked in the hospitality industry at Walt Disney World. Carla and her husband, Mark, live in Ft. Myers with their two children.