Hello to all! Before I go any further, I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and give a brief background to those of you who I may not know. My name is Machaela Cowart, and I am 24 years old. I graduated from the University of Mobile in May of 2017 with a degree in History and a minor in Intercultural Studies. During my junior year of high school, the Lord called me to church planting, but I had no idea what that was at the time. When I got to college, I knew that whatever I majored in I wanted to be able to use it as a gateway into the mission field, specifically overseas. During my fifth year of college, the Lord changed my plans from possibly moving overseas to staying in the States. Never in a million years did I think that place would be Salt Lake City, Utah. I had the opportunity to travel out to SLC twice in college with the college group at Mars Hill and participate in inner-faith dialogues and immediately was exposed to some of the brokenness here. A couple of months before graduating from UM, and not having any idea what the next step was going to be, I was told about an internship in SLC working alongside a church plant for the summer. During my second week of the internship, I strongly felt this was the direction God was calling me. After lots of prayers and seeking counsel, God opened the doors for me to move to Salt Lake and this is now the place I call home!
Since moving to SLC, I have had the incredible opportunity to teach middle school, at Endeavor, in what is known as the “rough” part of the city, West Valley. I had no idea what I was stepping into (almost think of Freedom Writers), but as the year went on these kids absolutely stole my heart. There is a good mixture of different beliefs in the workplace as well as among my students all ranging from Christians, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), atheists, and agnostics. I ask that you would join me in prayer for my kiddos as some are returning to Endeavor next year or moving on to high school. The majority of these kids deal with a lot of pressure ranging from not living with their biological parents, having to make up for one or both parents not being present, peer pressure to join a gang (there are huge issue in the schools here), abuse at home, depression, and drug use—both of these are state of emergency here, where Utah leads the country. Pray for teachers to be able to love on their students and for school to be a safe place for them. Pray for the minority of Christian students and teachers to be a light. The downside to working in a public school is that I can’t talk about my faith, but I have had so many kids this year ask me my beliefs and had a few get excited to hear Christian and even had a few ask to know more.
Pray for church planters here in the valley and for the church body. One very unique thing about ministry in SLC is that no matter what denomination you come from, as Christians, we stand together to see the Gospel brought to the valley and lives be transformed. I will never forget my first week during my internship last summer meeting a lady who talked about growing up in Utah as a Christian and how for years and years she has prayed for God to send harvesters out here to work the fields and how incredible it has been to see God do that. Pray that the Lord continues to send people to Utah and for the courage and boldness to speak the Gospel in a place that believes they already have it. Pray that the Lord will continue to break down barriers and remove the blinders over people's eyes so that they can hear and see the real and true Gospel.
Hope to meet some of you as I travel between Alabama and Utah for visits! If you have any questions about Utah- life here as a Christian, what ministry looks like, or even if you are just planning a trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out!