Partnering with national churches in developing and strengthening evangelism and spiritual growth ministries among children and youth in Cote d’Ivoire. Forty-eight percent of the population is 18 years-old or younger.
God is bringing us 360 degrees back to where we started—life and ministry in Cote d’Ivoire (RCI), West Africa. Gozie grew up in northern RCI where he taught elementary school for 30 years. Sherri served as a registered nurse at the Baptist Mission Hospital in Ferkessedougou from 1989-2003. We both enjoyed teaching Sunday School and helping with children’s camp.
I spent much time in the Kone’s courtyard as Germaine, Gozie’s wife, was a good friend of mine. Little did I know that one day their children would become my children. Four years after Germaine died, Gozie made his first marriage proposal. Seven years and two proposals later, I finally said “Yes”. Talk about one patient, prayerful, persistent man and a sovereign God.
Since our marriage in 2010 we have been asking God to show us what He wanted us to do as a couple. I, Sherri, had been serving with the Mobile Member Care Team of West Africa (MMCT-WA), based in Accra, Ghana, as their office administrator and trainer since 2006. During Gozie’s three years in Ghana, he worked on learning English, taught Sunday School and began translating the Hear-See-Do Sunday School material from English into French. Through a series of events, God has been rekindling our passion for children’s ministry.
Child Evangelism Fellowship states that 85% of Christians are saved between the ages of 4-14. We both came to saving faith in Christ during that decade of life. For me (Sherri) Jesus and church were always a part of my life. At the age of 5 years-old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior after a family Bible study. I was one of those “All-American” girls who did what she should. It was in college when my faith truly became my own and I grew in the Lordship of my life. I (Gozie) grew up in an animistic family, where we worshiped the things God created rather than the Creator himself. Fear reigned. God used my love for reading, a mysterious book, a gun accident, and an invitation to draw me to Himself. The warm welcome of believers, Gospel music and Sunday School affirmed my decision to follow the Jesus road when I was 13.
The future of the church and the nations rests on the children and youth of today. Forty-eight percent of the population in RCI is below the age of 18. In early 2015, we will be returning to RCI to partner with the national church association in strengthening the Sunday School program and church based schools. But ultimately, our hearts’ desire is to cast the vision of reaching un-evangelized children and equip people to do so.
Sherri will also continue using her member care gifts within the West Africa region.