Could not force fulfilment

Aaron Bogan
Natural sceptics Aaron and Dana Bogan found career and money unsatisfying and are now helping the people of Uganda

Multiple leadership positions in the field of nuclear operations offered Aaron Bogan the fruits of success wherever he ventured but nothing could shake the one thought that plagued him constantly.

"I was blessed with an amazing wife, two wonderful healthy boys, talents that had at several times rocketed me up the ladder of 'success', assured financial security, and the prospect of a nice and easy academic life, yet I still felt I lacked something fundamentally important," he says.

"I worried that I would spend my entire life chasing something that would never be mine. I became so frustrated that I vowed to force myself into fulfilment. I would not accept that I wasn't content with life."

Aaron's Navy career was marked by rapid advancement through the enlisted ranks and by age 21 he was coordinating the maintenance and operations of an entire reactor electrical plant of a nuclear aircraft carrier.

"The adventure of balancing extended absences with caring and providing for a young family consumed all of my time, allowing me to believe that what I lacked was going to be available 'after I get out'. At this point the Navy was the scapegoat for my dissatisfaction with life."

After being honourably discharged, he went on to complete a PhD at the University of Missouri and accepted a job as their Lead Senior Reactor Operator.

"While the money was plenty," he says, "the emptiness continued to plague me and perplex the logic that I had come to rely on for all of my understanding."

As a natural sceptic, religion was the last thing on Aaron's mind. He had never been to a church until his mother invited him and his family to witness the public declaration of her new-found faith in Jesus in water baptism.

"I recall that my first reaction was caustic and sceptical, that's my nature, but I kept that on the inside because I could hear the conviction on the other end of the line," he says.

After grudgingly agreeing to take his family to his mother's church, Aaron recalls "the songs of worship and rejoicing began to soften our hearts at this service. I can remember fighting violently to keep from crying.

“Even now I cannot describe why I was fighting as I knew what I needed to do”"We sang a hymn called 'Man of Sorrows', which describes the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for MY selfishness, MY pettiness, MY anger, MY pride, and the weight of my sins began to overwhelm me.

"The line 'It is finished' broke my selfish will and opened my heart to Him. For me that ended my emptiness as Jesus filled my heart to overflowing. I remember very specifically now when I gave up fighting and started to let go my pride."

Aaron remembers driving back to Missouri the next day in a daze as an internal struggle raged inside him. Upon their return home, he began looking for a local church where he could worship and explore what it meant to be a Christian.

A minister at one church he attended sensed Aaron's reservations and gave him a study book which explained the importance of submitting his life to God and demonstrating this commitment through baptism.

That evening he began to read the book and compared it to the Bible verses that had been referenced.

"I would refer to a single verse and be so captivated that I would often read the entire chapter and, when referencing a verse from the book of Matthew, I was compelled to read the entire book," he says.

Aaron says the following day was difficult. It was clearly evident that he needed to ask for forgiveness for past wrongdoings and allow God to work in his life.

"There was an incredible internal struggle over what I should do. Even now I cannot describe why I was fighting as I knew what I needed to do."

He continued to read the Bible, pray, and asked the associate minister he had met for guidance.

After a full day of searching he made the decision to surrender his will to God and accepted Jesus as his Saviour.

"I gave everything that I am to God. The prayer was simple: any time, any place, anyhow, I am yours, God. Do with me as You will," he says.

He woke up the next morning and without wasting time was baptised that day.

From that point on Aaron says he finally felt the sense of fulfilment he had been looking for in life.

In 2011 he felt God prompting him to move with his family to Uganda and since then he has used his talents to teach everything from mathematics and finance to the deep historical and theological subjects of the Bible as a lecturer at the Ugandan Baptist Seminary.

"We have been adjusting to life in Uganda, learning to serve Jesus in a cross-cultural setting, and falling in love with the people of East Africa," he says.

"Life with Jesus has been the most incredible ride we have ever been on."

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