An Obeying Heart in Africa

My name is Autumn Pettit. I grew up in southern Illinois and I am the only child to Kenny and Sheryl Masterson. My dad was raised in a large family who attended church whenever the doors were open. On the other hand, my mom wasn’t raised in church. As a child, I attended church on a handful of occasions and that was with either friends or the babysitter. The only time I remember being in church with both parents was at my wedding. With that being said, I wasn’t exposed to religion or spiritual faith during childhood. As I grew into an adult and married, my husband Darin and I were not involved with a church.

In January of 2010, Darin visited with Raelenna Ferguson about her trip to Africa with Heart for Africa. When he returned home that day and handed me the book, It’s Not Ok With Me. I said, “I have always wanted to do a mission trip.” He looked and me and said, “Well, go.” That is how I decided to go to Africa. I contacted a high school friend, Angel Klund, and asked her to meet me and tell me about Africa. After meeting Angel, I signed up to go. One morning in April, I heard a voice that said, “Ron needs to save you in Africa.” Our family had recently started attending Cape La Croix Methodist Church and Ron Watts is the pastor there. I had never met Ron and was not familiar with him outside of hearing him speak on Sunday mornings.

This simple thought weighed heavily on me for several months because I had never experienced anything so powerful. Never before had I received a message that I felt God had delivered. This message was not a request but more like a command. Upon arriving in Africa, the statement about being saved became more of a constant recording in my head. I was unable to think of much else. On our long journey everyday to our village, I told my team about the overwhelming feeling. I visited with Jeremy Ferguson one evening and through him made arrangements to visit with Ron. I prayed and prayed about what I was to do. When Jeremy, Ron, and I met we spoke about faith they were able to answer all my questions. Before we parted for the night, I asked Jeremy and Ron if they would help me commit my life to Jesus. I explained my belief that I was brought to Africa for the purpose of finding Jesus and committing to his work.  I could not leave Africa without doing so!  Working with Heart of Africa was the catalyst that brought me to faith. Pastor Ron prayed with me and I committed my life to Jesus right there in the hallway at the hotel. We debated on baptizing in the pool but I decided I wanted my husband to be there.

As noted above, Darin and I were very new to church. So upon my return, we attended membership classes.  On the 12th of December, Darin and I were baptized and became official members of La Croix.  I truly believe God called me to a remote village in the mountains to bring me back to his flock. I am even more amazed that through me God brought Darin back to the flock too! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be filled with God’s love and be eager to attend church. Even more, I would never have dreamed Darin would be baptized at my side. I love this new chapter in our lives! We focus on servitude and we are teaching our children to serve is to bring glory to God. God works in mysterious ways!!!

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