Michelle (McCulloch) Ochen: Missionary in Uganda
Seeing God Through the Pursuit of Purity!
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”
– 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV)
By Selma Komisky
Michelle (McCulloch) Ochen is a missionary that has been serving in Uganda for four years. She is also a recent newlywed and advocate for purity – this is her testimony. She prays it inspires the young people in the church to step out in faith, to do things with purity before the Lord, and to serve Him with the days of their youth.
Ochen grew up in a Christian home as she recalls, “My parents raised us up in Gods ways. I saw faith and devotion daily exercised in the lives of my parents.” In the eighth grade, her family moved from California to Texas to help with a church plant. That year she seriously struggled to make friends sharing, “I remember the time and investment our youth leaders testimonies made into our lives (they were newlyweds and spent each weekend with the kids). It inspired me to know God and make Him my friend. I began reading my bible five minutes a day which increased my desire for more time with Him.
Next year, they moved back to California for high school. God led her to Potter’s Field Ranch in Whitefish, Montana. Ochen states, “It was there the Lord spoke to me that He would use me in worship.” She then attended Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s School of Worship in California and there the Lord rekindled a heart for the foreign mission field.
So at 18, upon graduation, she joined Potters Field Ministries training program called Ignite. During her training, the Lord stirred her heart in three areas: to reach Muslims for Jesus, to learn the Arabic language, and to parent children who had no one. Which she still wasn’t clear on the meaning or the connection.
God was faithful to His promise that He would be her covering as she stepped out by faith. He would help her through the fog and be her stepping stone. He also used her in worship and raised her up eventually to be a missionary. The Lord directed her to Uganda to then serve at Calvary Chapel Entebbe.
In Uganda, she met a young man that Christ shined through. They served on worship team together stating, “During a God ordained conversation, he shared his vision for life with her to minister to Muslims, take in street children, and studying Arabic.” With pure vision the Lord knit them to pray for each other.
Returning to America and seeking the Lord for what the next stepping stone was, the Lord sent her back at 20 to Uganda to serve as a team leader. Ochen exclaimed, “As I served the color of my heart became beautifully darkened by the African people and I knew the Lord was calling me to missions long term.”
Overlooking the Nile River, she thought about the radical faith of a woman that placed her son within its dangers – Moses Mother in the bible. She had radical faith and God used her to bring a vessel for His people through Moses. So Ochen prayed to the Lord and asked for such faith to be willing to take risks in serving God. With that, a gentle whisper came in the evening sky with a question of willingness to make Africa her home and to make these people her people. God brought Ochen where she never imagined she would go and there her heart found a home.
Therefore, in the fullness of God’s timing, He united her heart to this young man of like minded vision and Michelle and Joshua were married on the 25th of July, 2015. They were blessed to walk the path of marriage within the eyes of the Ugandan culture married in Joshua’s homeland. By Gods grace, they have a testimony they want to share with other youth that they reached the alter pure! Ochen says, “We live in a generation with little value or pursuit on purity, and the enemy will not relent to attack purity in youth.”
Today, God has enabled them both to serve together in Uganda, and after four years, they will be re-locating to Kenya next month to serve within their Ignite teams alongside Calvary Chapel Rongai. They both have actively served in the worship team, wrote a 14 week mini School of Worship curriculum, oversee the Wednesday worship, and are active in youth ministry teaching junior high/high school kids at church.
Ochen is blessed to teach a group of 20 young girls between the ages of 13-16 and her greatest prayer is that they would value purity the way God does. Matthew 5:8 tells us that the pure in heart shall SEE God. She asks her students, “Do you want to see God? Then pursue purity!” She continues, “Purity is a key to open your life for His use. God is pure, and His blessings can flow in hearts and lives that are seeking after a heart as His own.”
Ochen goes on to say, “My words to anyone in regards to purity is this: seeing God’s fingerprints on your life and watching Him write your story makes a life a testimony. Pursuing purity is not always easy, but it is the tests He sends that make the testimony great. There is no better pursuit than purity as it is a promise for an invitation to see God. Purity will leak into every part of your life because it’s a pursuit of God’s own heart.”
Pondering Gods commandment upon us to wait, Ochen reflects on how much respect she gained for her husband in that time. During the months that they dated in purity, the fact that Joshua was willing to wait for her grew her respect for him before they got married.
Ochen continued to say, “In the same way, his ability to show self control (by Gods grace) and to say no to temptation between us, was growing in him a needed self control to begin learning Gods call of agape love within marriage- self sacrificing love. A man who can wait, be patient, and honor the Lord before marriage is a man that will honor the Lord in your marriage. My encouragement to girls would be to pray for your future spouse. Proverbs 31:12 says that she does her husband good all the days of her life – pray for his purity – you can be used by God today in praying for him. The world we live in is full of temptation upon men, pray that God would turn his eyes away from looking at worthless things (Psalm 119: 37). Begin praying for him today because each prayer is a brick upon the foundation of your future marriage and each moment you choose purity before marriage, you are building walls of protection and blessing upon your future marriage.”