Shannon & Catalin Popa

Shannon & Catalin’s story began in 1990 near Vienna, Austria and reads something like this:
“Romanian refugee meets American missionary and the two fall in love and live happily ever after.”
100% truth, minus a few important details! They did meet in the summer of 1990. Catalin had recently escaped communist Romania, fleeing religious persecution and was seeking political asylum in Austria. Teaching himself English and German simultaneously, he would need both languages for a future outside Romanian borders. His language skills were impressive – so much that he was invited to be a translator for an international team of missionaries working with the organization, Operation Mobilization (OM). One of the team members was a 23yr old girl from Seattle, Washington. The rest, as they say, is history.

After years of praying for the persecuted church behind the “Iron Curtain” of communism, Shannon sensed God’s leading to work with OM as they prepared teams to assist the thousands of refugees flooding into Austria after the collapse of communism in Easter Europe. Her first assignment – a small village near Vienna where she and 9 teammates from various countries offered assistance to those fleeing their homeland.

Shannon & Catalin married in 1991, and soon after settled in the U.S. Having witnessed tremendous need while living and working in Austria, it was their dream to one day return to Western Europe. In 2004, with three small daughters, 10 suitcases, and a dog, their missionary journey continued as they moved their young family across the world having partnered with Communitas (then known as Christian Associates International). Catalin had stated on more than one occasion to never choose to return to Romania, but God had other plans and gave him a new vision. Serving as bi-vocational missionaries, they lived in Romania for over 10 years, and later moved to the island of Cyprus. Catalin’s work led him from local hospital management to community development with the NGO World Vision; Shannon volunteered at various local ministries to International women, victims of human trafficking, orphans, abandoned baby hospitals, and the school where their children attended. Through the years, they were delighted to host and lead an international Youth Group, various Bible study groups, and a weekly gathering of believers in their home. A once forbidden act under communism became a testimony of God’s faithfulness and love for the nations of the world.

Currently residing in Tulsa, Oklahoma near their grown daughters, Daniela, Lexi & Naomi, Shannon & Catalin are business owners with a missional mindset. They look for opportunities to engage with internationals, the marginalized, and participate in local house-church development. Shannon had the privilege of serving on Communitas’ Adsideo prayer support team for many years while living in Europe, and is presently leading a similar team in North America.


Time on Staff
19 Years


Adsideo prayer support
Adsideo prayer support


Seattle, Washington, USA

Personal Biography

Meeting people from around the world and listening to their stories, loving with intentionality and care, and pointing them to Jesus is my heart’s cry.
Some of my favorite things:
-coffee and a good book on a crisp fall day
-long walks and bike rides
-exploring new places with my adventure-loving husband
-gathered around our ever expanding family table, giving thanks for each new seat filled