Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Call to Africa

God has called me to Africa. How do I know this? Let me tell you the story...

Almost five years ago our church got a new teaching pastor, Matt Guerino. When he arrived, he brought with him a heart for a small town in Southern Sudan called Boma. Since he has been on staff, our church has begun supporting SEA Partners to help this town in the name of Christ. Harvest has sent two teams of people to Boma, and continues to support SEA financially.

About two months ago, Rosemary, a Kenyan woman who leads the mission in Boma, came to Harvest to give an update on how things were going there. Just a couple of months prior to this, one of the mission's rare male teachers was murdered in Boma, leaving behind a young pregnant wife and small child. It had been two years since Harvest had sent a team to Boma. Rosemary explained that they needed help encouraging the teachers and doing some construction for a water piping system; the leaders at Harvest announced they would be sending a team in the fall.

This is where God spoke to me personally. My heart had already broken earlier when the teacher, Anthony, was murdered. On this day, while Rosemary was speaking, I felt a deep connection with what she was telling us about in Boma. When she explained that her teachers needed encouragement and their pastors needed some support, I immediately thought, "Wow, the kind of people she wants on the next team to Boma is just like me!" God was telling me so gently and gracefully that He wanted me to look into it.

So I told my wife about this, expecting something like, "You're crazy!" Instead, she had the same thoughts and feelings I had, and suggested I attend the informational meeting the following week. So I went, filled out the application, and submitted it the same day. I began praying (actually, the day Rosemary spoke at Harvest I had already started praying) for the team God was putting together.

Harvest's last team to Boma, from 2008
As time went by, I heard rumors of various things from guys in my church that the leaders selecting the team for Boma: they wanted newer, less experienced people (me); they wanted younger folks who would have more physical ability for the projects (me); and finally, that while over 20 people attended the informational meeting, only 10 had actually applied (including me). It felt as though God was narrowing His focus down, preparing me slowly to follow Him to Africa.

Finally, about a month ago, I got the email. It was official - I was selected to serve in Africa with my church family!

The dates of the trip are September 20th through October 3rd. We will be in Kenya on both ends of the trip, but spending most of the time in Southern Sudan, which just became an independent nation on July 9th.

If you know me and care about me (enough to read this far!), I ask that you would please pray for our mission team - pray for safety, humble hearts, and willing attitudes to serve and work hard in whatever way is needed. As a society they need assistance. But, more importantly, as people they need Jesus. Pray that His Name would appeal to the Sudanese people, causing them to discover their need for a Savior, and choose our Lord to rescue them from their sins to give them life.

Watch my video to hear an overview of the ministry in Boma:

If you have the financial means and would also like to support this mission in that way, you can send any amount of money to Harvest Community Church, Care Of Aaron Potratz (on the Memo line). You can also submit payments through Razoo, using the button below (and view my Razoo page here):


Matt Guerino said...

Love it! I'm fired up that you're going, and I don't think you'll ever be quite the same for having been there. Thanks for asking God what he wants, and listening to him!

Aaron said...

Thanks, Matt. I'm super excited, too! Everyone keeps saying that, and I can already see how God is preparing me by loosing my heart's strings that are attached to material things and things of this world. He is so good to those whom He loves!

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