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Mission Possible

For Adam Fogleman, a near death experience opened the door to a call to missions.

God calls missionaries via dissimilar paths.

Adam Fogleman had a near death experience in 2007 while trekking through the rugged Livingstone Mountains in Tanzania. He was a member of a Texas youth pastor team heading to a remote village in order to dedicate a new church building funded by U.S. offerings.

After hiking 7 hours in high heat and running out of water, Fogleman had passed out on the trail. His condition worried his colleagues who thought he would die of heatstroke as there was no cell phone service or medical help close-by. Feeling helpless, several pastors prayed urgently over his almost lifeless body.

Within an hour he spontaneously woke up, ate an apple, and continued walking. His near-death experience at age 29 exposed a new ministry route – missions.  “On that remote trail I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit revealing l would return to Africa in some capacity,” Fogleman, 44, recalls. Yet long-term youth pastoring and inspiring the next generation still excited him.  

In 1998 during his junior year at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU), he joined Crossroads Church as their youth pastor. Subsequently he held youth pastor positions in Texas at Real Life Church and then at Legacy Church.

Yet, while guiding student trips to Tanzania after his health scare, he felt God’s call to missions sealed on his heart. “I prayed and read the Bible for 60 days, focusing on The Great Commission in Matthew 28,” Fogleman says. He then took the step towards appointment, was approved by AG World Missions, and began itinerating in 2012.  

One year later, Adam, his wife, Alecia, and their two daughters, Sydney, 9, and Emma, 6, landed in Tanzania. He learned Swahili at language school and began teaching at a Bible college in Mbeya, a flourishing city.

Including his teaching duties, Fogleman gained new ideas about planting churches in Africa. He grasped the implications of Africa’s rapid urbanization and its impact on missions and evangelization, particularly among young people. The United Nations reports the continent has the youngest population in the world with 70% of Sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30.

“Africa no longer identifies as The Dark Continent of jungles, wild animals and primitive villages,” Fogleman emphasizes. Recognizing these demographic changes, AGWM Africa established its Urban Tribes ministry focusing on influential gate keepers in key cities.

In 2017 the Foglemans joined a missionary team to help plant Northplace Church in Durban, South Africa’s second largest city of 3.1 million inhabitants.

Northplace began in a home with only a handful of people and Alecia Fogleman conducted kids church in a bedroom. When Northplace grew to 40 people, it rented space in larger quarters.

As the congregation increased, the church moved several times. While government regulations have restricted attendance in its current building to 100, it ministers to many more, including those online.

As kids church pastor in Durban, Alecia Foglemen, 45, recalls teaching a challenging 9-year-old boy, already a professed atheist. The youngster, whose parents were divorced, attended the kids service but never engaged with anyone but just played with his own game kept in a cooler box.

Her heart broke when he left Northplace to live with his father in another city. However, she learned later that he had viewed every kids service which was streaming online due to the COVID-19 shutdown and now attends Northplace when he visits his mother.

“You never know in the natural what God does in the supernatural,” she says. “He moves mountains through our obedience planting seeds.”

Fogleman completed his Northplace term in 2021 and expects to begin his next term in Namibia in early 2024. As a coffee aficionado, he will open the Urban Tribes Coffee Company in Windhoeck, the capital city. Assuming the role of a professional Barista, he plans to share the gospel by building relationships, and eventually plant a church.

Journey Church in Colleyville, Texas has supported Fogleman for 10 years. Lead pastor Jeff Strickland and board members have visited him in Tanzania and South Africa.

“We have gained a new awareness of the sacrifices mission families make, to do what God has called them to do,” Strickland says. “My congregation also understands that the mission of Christ is bigger than the local church.”

In every mission possible venture, Fogleman trusts in the Holy Spirit’s power and direction. Reflecting on Habakkuk 1:5, he believes in God’s willingness to do something utterly amazing in Namibia. 

Peter K. Johnson

Peter K. Johnson is a freelance writer living in Saranac Lake, New York. More than 500 of his articles and short stories have appeared in Christian and mainstream magazines and newspapers, including the Pentecostal Evangel,Charisma, the Saturday Evening Post, Guideposts, and Decision. He also serves as a consultant and contributing editor to a scientific journal.