The Igniting Hope Team

Heidi O'brien Business and Financial Manager Heidi joined the Igniting Hope team in 2014 but as Steve and Wendy’s daughter has been on the Backlund team for longer than anyone (besides Steve and Wendy). Heidi and her husband Mike have been married since 2005. They live in Redding, CA, where they raise their three wonderful children, Caden, Ellie, and Madeline. Not only is Heidi an amazing daughter and mom, she adds wisdom and strength to the team that launches Igniting Hope to the next level. She has a passion to see people set free from lies and walk in their true identity in Christ. 

Heidi O'brien
Business and Financial Manager

Heidi joined the Igniting Hope team in 2014 but as Steve and Wendy’s daughter has been on the Backlund team for longer than anyone (besides Steve and Wendy). Heidi and her husband Mike have been married since 2005. They live in Redding, CA, where they raise their three wonderful children, Caden, Ellie, and Madeline. Not only is Heidi an amazing daughter and mom, she adds wisdom and strength to the team that launches Igniting Hope to the next level. She has a passion to see people set free from lies and walk in their true identity in Christ. 

MEGAN COTTON Project Manager Megan interned for Steve from 2014 – 2015 and joined the Igniting Hope team afterwards, in June 2015. She is originally from Wisconsin and currently facilitates the ministry's vision to empower people with hope, joy, and tools to renew the mind through managing any projects, products, or events from Igniting Hope. Megan brings her experience as a marketer, her go-getter attitude, and strategic thinking to help Igniting Hope influence people at a higher level. She is passionate about seeing people set free from fear and transformed through face-to-face encounters in the Presence of God.

MEGAN COTTON Project Manager

Megan interned for Steve from 2014 – 2015 and joined the Igniting Hope team afterwards, in June 2015. She is originally from Wisconsin and currently facilitates the ministry's vision to empower people with hope, joy, and tools to renew the mind through managing any projects, products, or events from Igniting Hope. Megan brings her experience as a marketer, her go-getter attitude, and strategic thinking to help Igniting Hope influence people at a higher level. She is passionate about seeing people set free from fear and transformed through face-to-face encounters in the Presence of God.

Melissa Amato Personal Assistant to Steve Backlund Melissa interned for Steve in 2013 – 2014. She is employed by Bethel Church as Steve’s Personal Assistant and oversees Beliefs Training for Igniting Hope. She travels extensively, sharing her heart for intimacy and encounters with God. She also serves as a church consultant, bringing strategy, structure, resources, and wisdom to churches. She cultivates family everywhere she goes and loves helping people come alive and thrive. She is passionate about people experiencing God's love, hope, peace, and joy, and living the abundant life that Jesus paid for. 

Melissa Amato
Personal Assistant to Steve Backlund

Melissa interned for Steve in 2013 – 2014. She is employed by Bethel Church as Steve’s Personal Assistant and oversees Beliefs Training for Igniting Hope. She travels extensively, sharing her heart for intimacy and encounters with God. She also serves as a church consultant, bringing strategy, structure, resources, and wisdom to churches. She cultivates family everywhere she goes and loves helping people come alive and thrive. She is passionate about people experiencing God's love, hope, peace, and joy, and living the abundant life that Jesus paid for. 

JULIA GRAHAM Personal Assistant to Wendy Backlund Julia joined the Igniting Hope team in June 2015 and has rapidly developed and expanded Wendy’s world ever since. Originally from Olympia, Washington, Julia helps facilitate every aspect of Wendy’s ministry by creating and managing projects that share Wendy’s message with others so they can experience personal breakthrough. Julia brings a can-do attitude and creative solutions to every project she tackles and has a passion for family, fun, travel, and people personally experiencing God’s goodness.

JULIA GRAHAM Personal Assistant to Wendy Backlund

Julia joined the Igniting Hope team in June 2015 and has rapidly developed and expanded Wendy’s world ever since. Originally from Olympia, Washington, Julia helps facilitate every aspect of Wendy’s ministry by creating and managing projects that share Wendy’s message with others so they can experience personal breakthrough. Julia brings a can-do attitude and creative solutions to every project she tackles and has a passion for family, fun, travel, and people personally experiencing God’s goodness.


Broader Igniting Hope Family

Steve, Wendy, and their staff team have mentored over 60 BSSM students through their internships. These individuals have contributed greatly to the ministry and lives of Steve and Wendy. They include:

Ahab Alhindi
Anna Maher
Anne Ballard
Autumn Elliott
Ben Winkley
Bobby Schwendenmann
Brendon Russell
Caleb Leong
Candice Ross
Carl Richardson
Chris Smith
Chuck Maher
Darlene Fussle
David Alcorn
Dean Ras
Edson Chavarria
Eli Villasenor
Elijah Orbea
Elisabeth King
Elizabeth Preece
Elizabeth Reisinger
Emma Nainby
Grace Colledge
Heather Sheppard
Heidi Anderson
Holly Hayes
Jaap Berg
Jacob Hornaday
Jared Neusch
Jared Cullop
Jaz Jacob
Jesse Skinner

Jesse Cupp
Joellah Lutz
Josh Montavon
Joshua Keurentjes
Julia Graham
Julie Mustard
Julie Heth
Kaehler Sterr
Katrina Stevenson
Kevin Reagey
Kim Jaramillo
Levi Hug
Madysen Lenihan
Matt Coil
McKenna Lefever
Megan Cotton
Melissa Amato
Melissa Smith
Michelle Robinson
Niyi Adereti
Peter Haynes
Phil Drysdale
Ron Day
Sally Schwendenmann
Slindile Baloyi
Sophie Cotton
Spencer Robbins
Steve Moore
Tara Nielsen
Thomas Harpham
Wendee Mannon
Zach Burandt