Advance Magazine

Class of 2021: Aaron & Rachel Houtz

Ministry: Alaska

Sending Church: Mount Calvary Baptist Church—Greenville, South Carolina

Children: Anna—4, James—1, Third child due in October

Sitting in the passenger seat of a Piper Cherokee airplane, Aaron turned his eyes to the remote Alaskan villages below. Above the engine drone, missionary pilot Mike Clark called out as he pointed to one village after another, “They’ve never heard the gospel.”

Spending six weeks in Alaska in 2018 opened Aaron and Rachel’s eyes. The Great Commission stretched far enough to include even these small native villages. Here was the ministry the Houtzes had prayed for and sought.

Aaron had begun praying as a teen after God called him to aviation ministry after hearing a missionary presentation. Several years earlier, the Lord had given Aaron victory over his struggle with pride. In its place, God gave him a deep love for people that developed into a ministry calling. Aaron prepared himself through Bible college, work experience, and his church’s Undershepherds-in-Training program.

Both Aaron and Rachel had grown up in New York state and attended the church pastored by Aaron’s father. Before marrying, Rachel studied string pedagogy. She hadn’t sensed a prior call to missions, but the Lord developed it over time. After they moved to Greenville, the Houtzes served in a church ministry reaching kids from broken homes. This challenging ministry has given Rachel a deep burden to tell others about the life-changing gospel.

As Aaron was finishing his undergraduate work, he picked up a pamphlet on Mike and Jeannette Clark’s aviation ministry in Alaska. The Clarks had long prayed for coworkers to expand outreach into unreached native villages and those that no longer had pastors.

On the Houtzes’ last Sunday with the Clarks in 2018, they held a service at Levelock, a village with no pastor. Afterward, an elderly native woman looked up to Aaron and said, “Are you the preacher I’ve been praying years for?” Aaron felt a huge lump rise in his throat. He and Rachel sensed that God was answering not only this woman’s prayers but also theirs. After their support is raised, the Houtz family plans to work alongside the Clarks to take the gospel farther so that even remote Alaskans have a chance to hear.

* The Houtzes are approved for service pending final church authorization.

Fall21 Houtz PI
Aaron and Rachel Houtz on an Alaska survey flight with Mike and Jeannette Clark's family

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