Barry Clair is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God with a church leadership degree from Southeastern University in Florida. He pastored Bethel Assembly of God in Quincy, IL for 12 years and has also served as a staff pastor at Lakeshore Tabernacle in Kenosha, WI; Tri County Assembly in Cincinnati, OH; and Calvary Temple Christian Center in Springfield, IL. He is currently the lead pastor at Tiffany Fellowship in Kansas City MO.
Barry is passionate about impacting and mentoring people not only in the USA but also around the world. He has taken over 10 trips overseas teaching leadership conferences in Mexico, China, South America, South Africa, Thailand, Sicily, Italy, and Hong Kong.
He has been a part of Jeff Hunt's life as a friend and mentor including trips to South Africa in 2002 and 2003. Barry believes in the mission of Engage Africa and is committed to helping facilitate the work in South Africa.
Abby Hunt, Vice President
Abby grew up near Chicago in Elgin IL. She began working with children even as a teenager, teaching Sunday School, teaching in a preschool, assisting in a special education class for children with behavior disorders, and working with after school programs. She attended North Central University in Minneapolis, MN where she majored in elementary education with minor studies in children's ministry and deaf cultural ministries. After college, she served as a children's pastor for about 6 years before spending 2 years as a missionary associate at Jackson's Ridge Children's Ministry Training Centre near Rustenburg, South Africa.
While in South Africa, Abby helped organize and teach kids camps for under-privileged children, taught a variety of seminars for children's ministry training conferences, and co-directed the Jackson's Ridge Baby Shelter (a place of safety for orphans and vulnerable children in crisis). She quickly fell in love with the people, the culture, and especially the children of south Africa. After experiencing the incredible needs of South African children, Abby committed to spend her life making a difference. She and her husband, Jeff, established Engage Africa to engage the children of South Africa in life to the full... for as long as it lasts.
Jeff Hunt graduated from Waukegan Christian High School in 1985, and then attended Judson University from 1985-1989 graduating with a BA in Education. He then spent 9 years working in education and filling a variety of positions including PE teacher, athletic director, dean of students, and coach for basketball, volleyball, and soccer teams.
Jeff first went to South Africa in 2001 to spend 2 years working with missionaries David and Janis Betzer doing sports outreach, school assemblies, and life-skills training. While he was there, he quickly fell in love with the people, culture, and country and knew that he would one day return to South Africa to make a difference in the lives of the children that live in such great need.
He returned to the States in 2003 and was hired at Calvary Temple Christian Center in Springfield, IL as their Sports Ministry Director. He worked in this position until 2006 when he transitioned to Children's MInistry, met his wife, Abby, and began to make plans to return to South Africa.
In 2008, he and Abby established Engage Africa and, through this organization, they will spend their lives engaging the children of South Africa in life to the full... for as long as it lasts.
Vern Hunt has been involved in the housing industry since 1969. In the early 70's he owned and operated Hunt Plastering Company, which was founded by his grandfather. In 1987 he founded Cavin Investments, Inc., a real estate investment, development, and construction company. From 1987-99 he developed several residential subdivisions in norther Illinois. Vern and his family relocated to Pensacola, FL in 1999 where he has been active in the real estate market as a real estate broker in Florida and Alabama.
Vern's love for Africa and her people began in 1996 when he was part of a missions team sent to Kenya and Uganda to build several churches. In 1999 he returned to help build a Bible school in Kenya. A business venture in 2008 brought Vern to Kenya and South Africa, where her was once again impacted by the spiritual and practical needs of the African people.
Vern now resides in Pensacola, Florida with his wife, Susan. They have 3 daughters, 2 granddaughters, and 1 grandson. He loves to travel and enjoys golf, fishing, boating, and, especially, spending time with his family.
Sonya Jones was born and raised in Litchfield, IL. After high school, Sonya attended Greenville College graduating with a B.A. in physical education, minoring in coaching with an emphasis in youth ministry. After graduating from Greenville College in 1996, Sonya began teaching physical education and coaching softball at Calvary Academy in Springfield, IL. Sonya taught PE for 3 years and was the athletic director for 7 years. In 2005, Sonya finished her master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Illinois at Springfield. In 2007, Sonya began teaching PE at Sherman Elementary School in Sherman, IL. Sonya completed her Type 75 certification to become a public school administrator in the summer of 2009.
Sonya enjoys many activities. She enjoys playing softball, volleyball, and soccer. She is a member of Calvary Temple Christian Center and enjoys singing in the choir. Sonya owns a home in Sherman, IL and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Rachel Majors is Chief Financial Officer of the Illinois market for UnitedHealthcare. Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare in 2011, she spent 8 years working in various aspects of corporate finance at the Tribune Company and 4 years working in the audit practice of KPMG LLP. Rachel is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of the Chicago Booth School of Business at University of Chicago, where she received a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and Strategic Management. She also received her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN, where she majored in Accounting and Biblical Studies. Rachel is an active member of Park Community Church in Chicago. Rachel traveled to South Africa in 2006 and was able to experience firsthand the needs of the South African people and understand the vision of Engage Africa.
Jeni Phelps is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University where she studied music education. She served in full time music ministry at Calvary Temple Christian Center in Springfield, IL from 1999-2006 and remains very active with worship arts at Calvary including 9 years as choir director. Currently, Jeni is employed by Bickford Senior Living where she works in Marketing and community relations. Special interests include playing bassoon in local performing groups, singing anywhere at any time, dabbling in interior design, and enjoying time with friends.
In 2006 Jeni was able to travel with a church team to South Africa. The team hosted basketball camps... where Jeni was able to demonstrate how NOT to do a lay up! However, the majority of the trip was spent with orphaned and vulnerable children and infants who were very easy to fall in love with. Just one experience with the people of south africa was enough to make her not only want to return but also to support the efforts of Engage Africa.
Rev. Larry Sauter, Chairman
Larry Sauter is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God with a BS in business education from Illinois State UNiversity and a MA in education from Western Michigan University. He has worked as a houseparent at Glenwood School for Boys in Glenwood, IL; college administrator for the University of Saint Frances in Joliet, IL; Minister of Christian Education and Children's Pastor in Elgin, IL; and Executive Pastor for First Assembly of God in Normal, IL. He and his wife, Penny, spent 10 years serving as full-time missionaries to people with disabilities with special Touch Ministry. They have a passion for God and for serving those overlooked by society. Larry is currently an Adjunct Professor in Children's Ministry for Valley Forge Christian College and the Campus Lead Pastor for Highland Fellowship Church in Elgin, IL.
Larry's first trip to South Africa was in 1996 when he visited Jackson's Ridge Children's Ministry Training Centre to do building projects so there could be kids camps on the grounds. He has been back several times with teams of children's pastors or church groups to do a variety of building projects, kids camps and to do training for adults to work with the children of South Africa. Larry and Penny plan to return annually to work with Jeff and Abby and the children of South Africa.
Penny Sauter, Secretary & Assistant Treasurer
Penny Sauter is a licensed CNA with a BA in elementary education from Illinois Sate University. She has worked as a substitute teacher; a houseparent at Glenwood School for Boys in Glenwood, IL; a kindergarten teacher at Christian Learning Center in Elgin, IL; a CNA at Bethany Home for seniors in Waupaca, WI; and full-time receptionist and member services director for First Assembly of God in Normal, IL. She and her husband, Larry spent 10 years serving as full-time missionaries to people with disabilities with Special Touch Ministry. They have a passion for God and for serving those who are overlooked by society. Penny is currently working as the assistant to the Campus Lead Pastor for Highland Fellowship Church in Elgin, IL.
In 2003, Penny had the opportunity to make her first trip to South Africa. It didn't take long for her to fall in love with the children and for her to be moved deeply by the need and the possibilities in South Africa. Penny and Larry plan to return annually to work with Jeff and Abby and the children of South Africa.