May 2010

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Koffi praying at a church serviceJesus welcomed a group of followers up on a hillside, and he began to speak to them. One profound statement, “Blessed are the peacemakers. . .”

This last month, our leader and representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Koffi Tehua, was present in Washington D.C. with religious leaders representing Muslims, the Catholic Church and other major denominations. Koffi represented the Evangelical Protestants of the nation. The purpose of the meeting was to analyze the cause of the civil war that has kept the country divided for more than eight years. In hope, this group met to build relationships and create a plan to stop the killing and bring the people together to forge a democratically elected government. Read the document that emerged from this strategic meeting.

This past January, I asked Koffi what was the number one need of his nation. Immediately he wrote back, and in bold capital letters declared, “PEACE. Without peace we cannot raise families, educate our children, plant new churches, and develop our economy. Without peace we live in a constant state of tension, fear and conflict.” Koffi has asked me to thank all of you for the role that you play in seeking peace for the nation of Côte d’Ivoire.

To read more about Koffi and his work in Côte d’Ivoire, click here.

Gary Edmonds

Mothers making and selling necklaces.

Mothers making and selling necklaces.

They raise children, tend to household chores, heal wounds, provide stability for families, educate the next generation, listen to dreams, pray for the sick, work to provide daily sustenance, laugh with the joyful, love tirelessly… I am grateful for my mother. She gave and sacrificed much for the sake of our family.

The mothers that I meet in Africa matter, too. Their lives are difficult. Yet they give and sacrifice just like our mothers do. 

From my most recent trip to Cote d’Ivoire to train people for community transformation, I met Bertine. She is a dynamic mother caring for her children and grandchildren in one of the poverty infested neighborhoods of Abidjan. Two years ago she caught a vision for transformation to come to her community.  She prayed about what she could do to make life better for all. After some searching, she learned how to start a neighborhood savings and credit association. Her conviction was that if the people pulled together to save of their meager income, they could create an investment fund.  With the pooled resources, they would be able to work to make their community better. Today, 2,000 people participate in a community credit association run by Bertine and her team of 10 others. Jobs are being created. Children are being immunized. The schools now are filled with students. Unity and trust is being fostered among the citizens. Churches are becoming self-supporting. Crime is declining. Bertine matters.

This month thank mothers for the enormous role they play to make life better. And if you are able, contribute to an organization that strengthens mothers to impact impoverished communities in ways that will never be reported in our newspapers. Mothers matter!

 Gary Edmonds