Mark Louw is the Asia-Pacific Regional director for the Church of the Nazarene. He was elected to that role in August. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, his career path has taken him from a major in the South Africa Infantry Corps to pastor in California and then to missionary in West Africa. He and his wife, Linda, have four daughters, Kathryn, Kirstin, Johanna, and Alexandra.
Tell us about your parents:
My father was in city planning and administration. He was a layperson who loved Jesus and was a great role model for me. Mother was from a Christian home. A homemaker, she provided the strength, stability, and nurture we needed.
Describe that 'we:'
Four kids'three boys and one girl. I?m the oldest.
Favorite memory of your father?
I have memories of him on his knees praying and reading the Word, something he did first thing every morning.
Where you have served and positions held?
For 11 years I was in the South Africa Army. When I resigned, I had the rank of major in the South Africa Infantry Corps.
Following that I was a youth pastor in Chico, California, and then a senior pastor in Gridley, California. Both churches are on the Sacramento District.
After California we went to Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) as missionaries and then to Burkina Faso. I was assistant to the field strategy coordinator for French-speaking countries in West Africa. For six years I was field strategy coordinator for the Africa West Field and for the last three years held that role as well as being the Africa Region's education coordinator.
As a South African, if meat is offered, I?m going to eat it. Otherwise, pizza and Mexican.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was fascinated by being able to alleviate mouth pain. That's still my personal choice. God had other plans.
Where did you and Linda meet?
On a blind date in 1982 at Disneyland's 'Nazarene Night.' It's a long story.
Why are you a Nazarene?
I believe in the message of heart transformation that sees a person's life change from the inside outward. It brings about real change that's not superficial or a façade, it's a change of the being and what you do is the real you'not an act'it's who you are.
A second reason is that the Church of the Nazarene is missional, truly. We are outward thinking. Around the world, we are looking for people who are not yet disciples of Jesus.
How were you introduced to the Church of the Nazarene?
Initially, because my best friend, Robert Steigleder was a Nazarene missionary kid, and my wife, Linda (Robert's cousin), was a Nazarene. She lived a life of integrity and walked the talk. She was authentic in living out her faith.
How did Linda's faith impact your life?
After we were married I was in the South African Army, and although I was a person of faith, I was struggling to live out my faith. Ultimately, Linda's faithful devotion to corporate Bible studies and devotion to worship affected me and brought me to a place of divine encounter where God convicted me and I recommitted | my life to him.
Are you really as happy as you seem to be?
I am. I'm a happy man.
Thoughts about life?
Here I am today, amazed at the redeeming grace of God.
For more information about the Church of the Nazarene on the Asia-Pacific Region click here:
Holiness Today, 2012
Please note: This article was originally published in 2012. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.