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“How could a country boy from mid-Missouri become a missionary?”
Mark Verslues asked himself that question as the Holy Spirit began speaking to him about committing his life to a missionary calling. It was illogical! The very idea of it seemed ill-timed. His degree was in Civil Engineering. He was already established in a career. He had no theological training.
A small town boy
In a small town just south of Jefferson City, Missouri, Mark grew up the middle child of five siblings. His father worked hard as a carpenter and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. During grade school and high school, Mark excelled in academics and sports. Mark recalls, “Growing up as a country boy I enjoyed fishing, hunting…and all other things that I could get into on the farm.”
At age 12, Mark attended a Bible Camp where he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He learned to pray during tough times, but God was not a first priority. He sensed that God was always with him though he didn’t understand what it meant to make Jesus Lord of his life.
Mark graduated from high school at the top of his class and went on to study at the University of Missouri. Immediately after he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering he accepted a job offer with a major construction company based out of Kansas City. He advanced in the company, becoming a superintendent of major projects in various cities across the country. One such assignment took him to Las Vegas, NV, to oversee the completion of condominiums.
He lived by a standard of what was right in his own eyes but found it to be unfulfilling. Even his successes left him empty. Mark reports, “After 25 years of chasing my own selfish desires, I slipped into the back of an AG church in Las Vegas and gave my life to the Lord.” His life would never be the same again.
Three months later, in January of 2008, God began to talk to Mark about missionary service when AG missionary Todd Churchill spoke at the church he was attending. His first response was, “Lord, what do I have to offer you?” What he has learned is, “…the only thing that any of us has to offer is all of our heart, soul, mind and strength…and that’s all He wants from us. The outcome of that is up to Him.”
Two days before embarking on a short term missions trip to Nicaragua, Mark received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was on this trip that the Lord would prove to him that he could be used to build the Kingdom of God.
When he returned from Nicaragua, his company relocated him to help build a Port of Entry into San Luis, AZ. As the next eight months unfolded, Mark recognized that God had arranged this move. It was “my time in the desert where God performed surgery on my heart; a time of seeking the Lord and the Lord revealing Himself; a season of growth and separation from this world.”
Mark’s goal was to become a well-equipped missionary. He realized that he needed theological training. He also knew that in order to receive ministerial credentials and missionary appointment with the Assemblies of God he would have to fulfill certain educational requirements. Following counsel from the pastor of his new home church, Paul Killingsworth, at Yuma First Assembly of God, he enrolled in online classes through Global University.
Global University not only offered him the courses he needed, with academic fees more reasonable than residence schools, it gave him the option to continue working while studying. This enabled him to pay down the educational loans he had accrued while pursuing his Civil Engineering degree. To attend a typical Bible College with classroom requirements was not an option because of traveling for his job. He was eager to get started with his studies and found Global University to be the perfect fit for what he needed.
When Mark was once again reassigned to work as an assistant superintendent on the construction of the United States Federal Courthouse in Jefferson City, MO, Lowell Perkins became his pastor. Pastor Perkins introduced him to Tim Rickman and the Missouri School of Ministry.
Global University partners with Missouri School of Ministry, providing the curriculum for their ministerial training. This made it possible for Mark to effectively transition into MSOM from his online studies. MSOM provides classroom experience with peers having similar concerns and common goals and leaders with experience and wisdom to share. Regarding his studying with MSOM Mark says, “Practical teaching from experienced ministers of God’s Word has personally challenged and matured my relationship with Jesus Christ and equipped me to be a better minister myself.”
Having completed the required studies, credentials and AGWM requirements, Mark received appointment as an Assemblies of God missionary. “I quit the job that I always wanted to pursue the calling that the Lord has always had on my life. My answer will continue to be ‘yes.’ This life belongs to the Lord.” He hopes to be ordained this year where is he now serving in Zimbabwe, Africa.
God details our lives, with each experience teaching and preparing us for something in the future. God was preparing Mark for ministry even through his education and experience in Civil Engineering. He now builds tabernacles, drills water wells and oversees construction on Bible Schools and churches while “spreading the love of Jesus every step of the way.” His perseverance in studying with GU/MSOM has prepared him to be able to preach and teach in these churches and Bible Schools.
He states, “The partnership between GU and Missouri School of Ministry has helped prepare me for preaching the Word of God in Africa. I typically preach at a different church every Sunday and have been involved with several crusades and revivals. The education I received will be passed on to students at Evangel Bible College in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe.”
Mark is one of many GU students who have studied both online and through a School of Ministry. The partnership of the two allows advancement at the student’s pace, a seamless blending of courses, challenging academic experience and sound theology. When asked what advice he would give to those considering studying with Global University, Mark replied, “Consider your options and figure out what is best for you and for the Kingdom of God. Through GU, you will get a well balanced education and learn what to expect when entering into the ministry. You will never regret obeying the Lord! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? HE SAID ‘GO’!”
by Carolyn Hittenberger, University Communications