Jonathan was born in Greenwood, Delaware, the third child of Ira and Ellen Miller. After the sudden passing of his mother, Ira eventually remarried and the family moved to Dry Fork, West Virginia to help start a small mission church where Jonathan became a Christian at the age of 12 . Although life was challenging on a mountainside farm, the work ethic he was taught there lasted a lifetime, making Jonathan the man of character and conviction he grew to be. It wasn't until he was on his own at age 18 that his deep commitment to the Lord solidified as the Lord directed his heart towards missions. This lifelong passion was heavily influenced later by his semesters at Rosedale Bible College and volunteer work he did in Canada.
Jonathan's philosophy regarding foreign missions became one of “vacationing with a purpose”. He volunteered with various missions including CAM, MDS, SEND International, Habitat for Humanity, Bible smuggling to China, YWAM, and the Jesus Project. Over his lifetime, he was blessed to visit 38 countries on 5 continents, doing construction, providing relief work, assisting in orphanages, and coming alongside missionaries to help with their needs. Each time he volunteered, he built extra travel time into the trip which would allow him to explore the land, learning about the people and culture of each country. But Jonathan's view on missions also encompassed missions closer to home, so he could often be found doing outreach and work projects stateside.
As a young man new to the Sarasota area, Jonathan got plugged in to Ashton Mennonite Church. He also became very involved in the Singles Bible Study. Though he thought of himself as a hillbilly from West Virginia, it was at Ashton his leadership qualities and unusual wisdom began to be recognized by others, eventually leading them to install him as an Elder. This was a time of growth in Jonathan's life as the Lord helped him see how He could use him to further His kingdom. During this time, Jonathan was put in charge as the live-in director of a halfway house for troubled men. He joined Bethel Mennonite Church in the late 90’s. There, the Lord has used him in several leadership positions including serving as an Elder and Mission Board Chairman.
Jonathan's first jobs were in the construction industry. He set out on his own at the age of 18, traveling around the US, and working various jobs until he joined his childhood friend, Jimmy, who had settled in Sarasota. Shortly after, Jonathan made the purchase of the first of many homes he would buy, which eventually turned into his part-time lifelong vocation as a landlord, as he continued with his full time work of construction. Jonathan found he enjoyed the process of procuring a property, using his spare time to improve it, and eventually finding people who needed that place to live. He continued in the construction industry until 1996 when he started his own business as a handyman/remodeler. Jonathan kept that business until December 2018 developing close friendships with many of his clients.
Jonathan met Michele at the age of 59, and took what he perceived as one of his most courageous steps when he proposed at age 60. When he married Michele (2012), he did so with the intention of taking in her whole family, making him a husband, a father, and a grandfather all on the same day. Jonathan embraced his 4 new sons as his own, as well as their families which now include 10 grandchildren (and one on the way). He and Michele dreamed of serving on the mission field together and started with a trip to YWAM in Switzerland, followed by a small tour of Europe. Their second trip was helping a missionary in Costa Rica, which was to be followed by a missions trip to Australia. This trip was preempted by health issues. They enjoyed traveling and serving the Lord side by side as they built their life together.
Jonathan lived his life with intention for the Lord, and his desire for his final earthly service was that it glorify the Lord, lift up His name, and celebrate the life with which He'd blessed Jonathan.