Meet the Team: Ben, Samuel, & Blake

 Ben Pertl

Greetings from Southern Illinois! I'm Ben Pertl. I'm from a little ol' podunk town called Albion. Albion's a small, close-knit, farming community, which is absolutely awesome. I could probably name over a dozen people I would list as a "second family". I grew up with a Christian background, attending all the youth group events and showing up to church every Sunday. I was your stereotypical good kid, I guess you could say. Christ was my Savior, but I wasn't living it daily.

The past two years, I've been an Education major at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. God caught up with me in a big way, using a number of people who have touched my life majorly. Ignited with a passion I hadn't really experienced before, I began let go of the control I felt I had, allowing God to direct my course. I've been absolutely blown away by His grace and mercy and by willingly submitting to His will, door after door and blessing after blessing have been placed in front of me.

One of these doors was an invitation to check out the Choose to Invest Journey Trip. Despite having already planned a study abroad trip, I just knew Africa was my destination the moment I looked through the website. I had been looking for something deeper, something more, and God came through in a big way. I can't even put it to words, but I knew that God was calling me directly to apply. Throughout the entire process, I just felt this absolute peace like I've never felt before. I knew that I was following God's will and man, was that exciting. God had prepared a way for me to be tested and challenged in an environment incredibly different than the farmland of Southern Illinois I was used to.

I am so excited to be a part of the Journey 2012 team. I have already been blessed to be able to stay in touch with the rest of the interns via conference call. I know each of us is here for a reason, and the encouragement and fellowship has already started. Lifelong bonds are already being built between 20-somethings from across the country, most of whom have never met in person. Serving such an awesome God who works in a way beyond my human understanding is so awesome. I can't think of any other way to explain it. Almost as exciting as our Journey is the fact that it is not the end goal. For me in particular, this trip will be a launch pad to the even more radical future that God has mapped out for me. I for one cannot wait to see what He has coming up next!

Samuel Green

I am from Rochester, Illinois and I go to Lincoln Christian University. I feel like God is calling me to Africa to begin a new chapter in my life. This has been my first year of college and I have learned so much about who God is and how he works throughout His Word, but that is not enough. God is calling me out of my comfort zone to begin a journey (pun intended) that will draw me even closer to him!

{Picture Coming Soon}

Blake McFadden

My name is Blake McFadden. I am from Atlanta and I am a junior vocal performance major at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. My family has always been very involved with work in Africa, working with the 410 Bridge and taking a family trip about 4 years ago. I think that after being surrounded by Africa here in the US, the Lord is asking me to be more involved in the country now. I can't wait for all the crazy things that God is going to teach me there and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the lives of the awesome people that live there!