Johannes Marakalla is a layperson serving on the Church of the Nazarene’s General Board. He is from Pietersburg, South Africa. Married to Agnes, the couple has four daughters, Audrey, Heritage, Destiny, and Thembi. They are members of Seshego Church of the Nazarene.
What do you do for a living? I am project manager for a power and energy company. We provide electrical power for South Africa.
How long have you served on the General Board? This is my first term. I was elected in 2013 for a four-year term.
What does Agnes do for a living? Agnes is self-employed as a tailor.
How are you involved at Seshego Church of the Nazarene? I am the local Nazarene Missions International (NMI) president.
What is your Nazarene district? South Africa’s Limpopo Northwest District.
In what ways are you involved on the district? I serve as district treasurer, serve on the district advisory board, and am vice president of the district’s NMI council.
While growing up, did you attend church? I lived in a rural area. In 1981, I went to live with my uncle in Seshego to further my studies. He was pastor of that church. Because of this, we were at the church all the time.
How did you come to faith in Christ? During a revival service the guest preacher was sharing a message about hope. I knew I needed to renew my life; Christ was the one who could save me. I felt God anointed him to preach just to me. Immediately when there was an altar call, I was one of the first to go and pray. I had a feeling that, indeed, Christ had saved my life.
How did you get a passion for missions? Initially, I was asked to be part of the committee that counted the offering. That developed into the service of financial ministry. Then I was elected treasurer of the church. I served for about 10 years.
Along the way, I had an opportunity to attend an NMI South Africa Field workshop event. Samantha Chambo was the NMI coordinator for Africa. Ezekial Mnisi represented the Africa Region on the global NMI council.
In that workshop things were explained about NMI’s role. Also, the materials clarified how things work in the Church of the Nazarene. After that weekend, I realized that firstname.lastname@example.org was a storehouse of information with helpful tools. I started reading and learning more about the Church of the Nazarene’s mission emphases.
Have you seen a rise of interest in missions at your church? Yes. Throughout this we were able to call previous missionaries to come and speak at our church. Cosmos Mutowa and Daniel Mokobe came and spoke about missionary matters. Ezekial, too.Cosmos shared that you have to have passion for the mission.
That workshop weekend opened my eyes. Now we are receiving visitors and they are seeing and hearing that the mission is alive.
I was challenged by Cosmos Mutowa when he came to our church and shared that he went to a refugee camp in Africa. A long line of people was waiting to be accommodated in the camp. He noticed that the people were desperate for help. They didn’t want to make space for a woman with a baby. One of the workers called her forward so she could be assisted. She looked desperate.
Then he shared that you have to have passion for the mission. That same day they left the camp. Two hours after they left the camp, individuals with guns came and shot some people.
How has this affected you? Although I live to be compassionate, I know there are challenges. We can never stop helping people just because it’s inconvenient.
I have personalized this and now it’s a passion in my teaching and in my life. It is the way I serve God.
Life motto? If God’s plan can work in my life, I will do whatever to fulfill that plan.
Why are you a Nazarene? The Church of the Nazarene is my spiritual home. It made me what I am today. I am a better person mentally, physically, and emotionally because of God working through the Church of the Nazarene.
Future plans? I am studying theology at the extension school from Nazarene Bible College in Johannesburg and am working toward a diploma in theology.
Life scripture? Isaiah 55:9-11. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.