Senn called by God to help build churches worldwide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Larry Senn had never set foot in an airplane and the thought of flying was terrifying to him.

So, when a friend suggested that he join a mission team bound for Latin America, he asked, &uot;How are you going to get there?&uot;

&uot;When he told me they were going to fly, I said, 'No way! Not me!&uot; Senn said. &uot;But that night I couldn't sleep. So, at 5 o'clock in the morning, I called him and said, 'I'm ready to go.'&uot;

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It was 1987, when God first called Senn and, since that time, he has logged more air miles than he can count. He has traveled to every country in Latin America, to Europe and to Africa to build churches and school and, sometimes has carried the Good News to people who have never heard the name of Jesus.

&uot;I was called by God,&uot; Senn said. &uot;There is no doubt in my mind that this is what He wants me to do. And, every time he calls, I am ready to go.&uot;

Senn is a member of Mount Olive Assembly of God Church in Brundidge and a participant in the Assembly of God's Short-Term Ministry Abroad program.

&uot;What I do is head up construction teams that go into Third World countries to build churches and schools,&uot; he said. &uot;Many times, I am the only person on the team with any experience in construction.&uot;

When there is a need for a church or school in an impoverished country, the call will come.

&uot;They tell us what the need is and they supply the materials and we supply the labor,&uot; Senn said. &uot;The team members are responsible for their expenses - flight, lodging, food and anything they might need during the stay, which can be from two to four weeks.&uot;

The teams are nondenominational and are made up of people from different areas of the country.

Senn will leave in two weeks for Mexico. He will be linked with a team from Missouri.

He also has a mission trip planned to Costa Rica and possibly one to Cuba.

&uot;No matter where I go, I find people in need - in need of the necessities of life and in need of hearing the word of Jesus.

He has seen so much poverty that he is overwhelmed by it all. He has seen people who have been totally forgotten respond to the word of Jesus with tears and prayers. And, he has been uplifted by it all.

&uot;Seeing people who have never heard the name Jesus come to God is a wonderful experience,&uot; he said.

But, there are other experiences.

Senn's most recent trip to Angola in South Africa is still vivid in his mind.

&uot;The biggest industry in Angola is casket making,&uot; he said. &uot;It's a 24-hour-a-day, seven day a week job to make enough caskets for those who are dying from starvation, AIDS and war. There is little you can do to stop the suffering and it's a terrible situation.&uot;

While there, Senn's mission was to repair the houses of two missionaries who live in a compound.

&uot;One missionary was Baptist and the other Assembly of God,&uot; Senn said. &uot;The fighting was so close that their houses were shot up so badly they were in need of repair. We worked in the locked compound with guards all around.&uot;

If Senn has time after the designated construction project is completed, he will make his way into the deepest parts of the jungles or to the most impoverished areas to tell the people about his God.

&uot;I have been to places where the natives had never seen a white man before,&uot; he said. &uot;The children screamed and ran away.

But I am always with someone familiar to the natives and through the interpreter, we can spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.&uot;

Over the years, Senn has spent thousands of dollars going to places where God calls him.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Mount Olive Assembly of God will host a fundraiser to assist him with the expenses of upcoming mission trips.

The fundraiser will be a gospel singing and cake auction at the church.

The featured group will be the Mann Kirkland Singers from Georgia. A love offering will be taken and everyone is invited to come and enjoy the praise music and hear about Senn's experiences, first-hand.

Mount Olive Assembly of God is located on Highway 125 south of Brundidge.