Aaron Van’t Hul, Sioux Falls Seminary Graduate, Class of 2011, M. Div.
February 2, 2012
Carrying out the call…
A lot of things have happened for Aaron since graduating in May of 2011. While he was still a student at Sioux Falls Seminary Aaron was the seminary intern at Center for Hope, and after graduation that internship turned into a staff position. This position currently includes being Pastor of Restored 2 Life Church, Director of Bike-to-Work, and Director of Sports Night.
Restored 2 Life is a multi-ethnic/ Native American congregation that meets every Sunday night at 6 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Ministry Center. Aaron co-pastors the congregation with Brian Narcomey, who is a born again native man from the Seminole tribe. The Bike-to-Work ministry last year helped 630 people get bikes, and roughly 300 people fix their currently owned bikes. Aaron says Bike-to-Work is an empowerment ministry that teaches people how to fix their own bikes, which then empowers them to help others. It also gives them great opportunity to share the Gospel with both word and deed.
The Sports Night that Aaron leads is a basketball ministry which he got involved with because Dr. Jay Moon knew Aaron has played college basketball and had encouraged him to look into it. The first year Aaron volunteered, and now he has been leading it for three years. The group plays basketball and midway through the night they split into small groups to study the Bible. Many of those who come to Sport Night have not heard much from God’s Word, but after four years of laboring they had a wonderful year of harvest. Aaron said a number of young men gave their lives to Christ and have begun to come to Restored 2 Life Church.
“I am thankful for Sioux Falls Seminary,” Aaron said. The classes that he enjoyed the most were the ones of practical application such as; Sermon Delivery, Effective Listening Practicum, and Story-Telling. The classes all provided Aaron with not only head knowledge about the subject, but also allowed him to practice these arts he would later use. He has been able to use these skills at the Center of Hope and also when visits different churches as a guest speaker.
Another ministry Aaron is still involved in is the Summit House, which he says has blessed his family greatly. He has learned so much being able to minister to a neighborhood like Pettigrew Heights, and it allows him to continue in the calling the Lord Jesus has for him. Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor…” Aaron says it can be challenging to live in community, but the rewards far outweigh the struggles. He and his wife Michelle have been able to raise their son, Silas, in a loving community and also look forward to Silas growing as a follower of Christ in a neighborhood that needs the Lord’s light to shine brightly.
(If you would like to volunteer at one of the ministries at Center of Hope, or would like more information please email Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The original call…
God's call in my life began shortly after I was baptized with the Holy Spirit in 2005. I now know what it means to be born again as Jesus talked about in John 3:3. He began sending people into my life that would encourage me to go to seminary. Well, that was the last place I wanted to go. More schooling meant more bills. After rejecting this call for over 2 years, God told me that I needed to go to Sioux Falls Seminary through a chain of events that could have only been from God.
December of 2006, I was speaking to my mentor, Pastor Demke. I was venting on how miserable I was at my job and how God had placed a passion in my heart for the lost. He said, ‘Maybe God will tell you to leave now the place you are at just like he did to Abraham.' I didn't take much heed of what he told me until God actually told me to leave now. On July 29, 2007, the Holy Spirit spoke to me through two different pastors. They both said that I had to leave the place I was at now! Monday, July 30, I had an external audit at work for ISO standards. Since I was the Quality Manager, I had the responsibility of showing the external auditor around our plant. I had only met this gentleman once before, and at lunch I took him out to eat. The subject of faith and Jesus Christ came up, and he told me the same thing I heard the night before. He said, ‘You have to leave the place you are at now!' The next day, which was Tuesday July 31, I spent praying and fasting. On Wednesday August 1, I went to Bible study. There I told my friend Nicole what had happened and that I didn't know what to do. A group of my friends laid hands on me and prayed over me. The Lord spoke this through Nicole, ‘You will have an answer tonight.' Nothing came that night or at least that is what I thought. The next day there was an email from Pastor Demke in reply to one I had sent earlier, he noted ‘I'm also hearing great things about Sioux Falls. It's quite ecumenical and very spiritual... So, if I'm to add my voice to the chorus you're beginning to hear, I would definitely urge you to pursue the seminary option.'
The awesome thing was that the email was sent right after we got done praying the night before at 10:04 p.m. That was my answer from God spoken through a pastor the very instant after we said amen.
God's goodness doesn't end there. That day, I went on the Sioux Falls Seminary website to get information on the school. On the page was a picture of a fork in the road. The caption read something like, has God placed a fork in your road, not the splitting of the road, but literally, a fork. Does he have your attention now? This really grabbed me because two months before this all took place; I saw a fork on the shoulder of Highway 18. When I came upon this shiny fork while riding my bike and crossing the highway, I stopped dead in my tracks and had a desire to pick the fork up and take it home. I rode past that fork every day for two months. I'd always wonder who would throw out a nice fork like that from their car window. This was another amazing thing the Lord did for me to confirm my call to seminary. I went back and found that same fork (which is now rusty, but the same fork none the less) on the shoulder of Highway 18, and I now have it in my possession. God is good. And he does have a sense of humor.