Don Rogers ’81

Empowering Lives International

It was during a chapel service at Azusa Pacific University that God chose to reveal the plans He had for Don Rogers ’81. The service opened with a prayer for a South American missionary who had been kidnapped by a drug cartel. After several weeks of praying for the missionary, prayers for his release turned to prayers for his family. He had been shot.

“When chapel was done, I still was riveted to my chair,” Don says. “The room cleared out, but I felt God continue to talk to me and say ‘Don, what about you? This guy gave his whole life . . . How far are you willing to go?’”

Decades later, a trip to Africa answered the question God had asked Don that day in chapel. After experiencing true poverty and disease for the first time, Don knew something had to be done. He cites that trip as one of many significant encounters that led to him founding Empowering Lives International (ELI), a vast nonprofit dedicated to equipping the poor through its centers across East and Central Africa.

Whether serving orphans at ELI’s children’s home or teaching residents practical farming skills at the training center, the heart of ELI centers on empowering communities toward self-sustainability and success.

“Empowerment is seeing someone discover their importance in the eyes of God,” said Rogers.

Read more of Don’s story in the APU Life article, “Empowered to Hope.”