Surrendering to the Potter's Hands

Molded in Ministry
Potter's Field Ranch is a Calvary Chapel ministry that disciples young adults to serve Jesus.

Potter’s Field Ministries trains young adults From Montana, to Guatemala, to Uganda.

Story by Margot Bass
Photos courtesy of Potter's Field Ministries

Pastor Michael Rozell sat at his potter’s wheel on a Calvary Chapel stage, shaping a large clump of clay into a slender vase. “As the potter, I have absolute control over this clay,” he told the congregation. “At first the clay will resist, but it will finally surrender all its rights to these hands.” He shared how he had surrendered his life to God, the Master Potter, who restored his marriage to his wife Pam, now singing by his side. God had also healed him from alcohol and cocaine addiction and deep rage inside his heart.

MaKayla Ross, 18, listened, filled with anger—at God and the world—since her parents’ divorce had caused pain and upheaval in her entire family. Although she had grown up in church, she knew she was living a lie by letting people believe she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That night, Michael described Potter’s Field Ministries (PFM) and its IGNITE Mission Training School in Whitefish, MT, a discipleship program for young adults to serve with local CC pastors and missionaries around the world. I’ve always wanted to get to Africa, she thought. This is the way! Still, she wavered as she signed up. Even leaving 18 months later in 2015, she determined, I’m not going to change. I’m going to keep wearing this mask that I’ve been wearing for so long.

Field IGNITE interns pray over a man during an outreach in Antigua, Guatemala. Based in Montana, IGNITE interns serve overseas for six months as part of their practical ministry training.Once in training, she felt the Lord’s conviction, finally accepting that He loved her and had laid down His life for her. “Once I understood that, I had a hard time painting the mask, because I was drowning in all those lies,” MaKayla related. She confessed everything to a staff member and Pastor Michael, calling it her “night of forgiveness.” 1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

“I experienced grace from the Lord and from people in PFM who had experienced His grace, too,” MaKayla said. “I had to be taught everything about the Lord at that point, learning to read and study the Bible and apply it to my life.” Ironically, she was sent not to Africa but to Guatemala to teach English in public schools and assist with the Potter’s Field Kids (PFK) children’s programs. Today, at 23, she works with those who sponsor children through PFK. “I just hope my life spills out Jesus. I want to continue to grow so close to Him that others who meet me see Him.”

Hearing God and Discovering Gifts

IGNITE begins with a three-month training program in Montana. Students study the Book of Acts, the Inductive Bible Study method, spiritual growth, servant leadership, cross-cultural missions, and media skills. They serve in the community or on campus and spend time alone with God. “The bottom line is to help young adults hear from God personally and find their gifts and calling from Him,” Michael explained. Next, they go on the field for six months—feeding and educating children and assisting in medical outreach in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, MT. Students then return to serve in their home churches. Some choose to serve at PFM in IGNITE’s 2.0 vocational training program. PFM has trained 240 students since 2011.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

“The bottom line is to help young adults hear from God personally and find their gifts and calling from Him.”

Finding A Calling

Austin Hiatt, 27, from Portland, OR, has filled up his first passport book over the past 6½ years serving around the world with PFM. A former heroin addict, he is now IGNITE’s assistant director. “Christ used IGNITE to build me up. God has gifted me to be a teacher and allowed me to teach the Bible to thousands [on the field],” he stated.

Austin remembered hitting rock bottom emotionally during his field experience, when he was not seeing spiritual progress in the teens and children he worked with in Kenya. Then he read: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44a). He realized, “This was the work of God. Right there I found meaning and power in prayer. I knew more was happening in the spiritual realm when I prayed than when I was actually in person with these children.”

Pastor Michael Rozell shares the Gospel through his “Potter and the Clay” presentation at PFK Uganda while Pam sings. The pottery demonstration illustrates God’s care for His people and, in the U.S., raises awareness of PFM programs.

Bitterness to Joy

By age 16, Paige Grace was lonely, bitter, and confused, following a miserable path of self-destruction through drug and alcohol abuse. “I had exercised every worldly thing to make myself feel better, and it wasn’t working,” she explained. But a friend talked her into attending a church service, where she heard the Gospel and cried out to Jesus Christ to save her.

“I realized that if I wanted to get sober, learn the Scriptures, and live a life fully dedicated to God, I would need to change my atmosphere immediately,” Paige related. So she called her grandparents, longtime CC Pastor Don McClure and his wife Jean, who had been praying for their unsaved grandchildren. He connected her to PFM. Within a few days she was enrolled in IGNITE’s first class, where she remained for two and a half years.

“I spent my time being rehabilitated by the Lord under great leadership and tools that have kept me clean and sober,” Paige recalled. “That first year in Montana was a foundational time for the rest of my life. I sat at the Lord’s feet, challenged and convicted, and I experienced a lot of growth and freedom.”

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Pam Rozell hugs a camper at the kick-off of the 2018 summer Champs Camp, an annual 3-day horse camp for adults with disabilities or special needs. Photo by Megan ColeHer path led to Bible college, ministry in Australia, and marriage. Paige, 24, returned to PFM in 2018 as assistant curator of MudMan Gallery in Whitefish; proceeds from the art sales and MudMan Burgers help fund overseas ministry and the IGNITE Mission Training School. “I’m an artist who previously designed tattoos. It’s cool how God has actually used my artistic ability to serve children around the world,” she recounted.

Finding Satisfaction

Before joining IGNITE in 2016, Jessica Krobatsch was at the lowest point of her life. She’d walked away from church in her teens. Rejected by students at her Christian school, she had turned to alcohol, drugs, and unhealthy dating relationships to fill the void. “I remember driving home one night, drunk and high from cocaine, and crying to God: Are You even there? You’re going to have to take this [problem]!” Soon after, friends from IGNITE put her on a call with Pastor Michael. “By the end of two hours, I was on my knees, had recommitted my life to the Lord, and had committed to IGNITE. I didn’t have anything left, and the Lord reached down and grabbed me,” she affirmed.

“I remember driving home one night, drunk and high from cocaine, and crying to God: Are You even there?”

“At IGNITE, people really cared about me. I could turn down the volume of the world and learn what the Lord’s voice sounded like in my life.” Jessica fell in love with Jesus when she read the Book of John for the first time. Jesus actually did these things for me! she thought. Her training was foundational as she began to work out questions about love, grace, and faith. “The Lord really defined them for me, making them real,” she confirmed. The 20-year-old isn’t worried about her future as she serves in PFM’s office and media ministry. “It’s so satisfying just doing whatever the Lord has set before me that day. I want to eat off the plate the Lord has set on my table today, and I know that He will bring me to the future.” Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Since 1992, Michael and Pam have shared their pottery Gospel presentation in thousands of churches to raise awareness and funding for PFK. Pam has written a book about their lives, Stones of Remembrance.