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Missionaries Anticipate First-Ever West Africa Church of God Regional Gathering

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Global Strategy

By Kim Ousley

Côte d’Ivoire is a West African country. Its capital is Yamoussoukro. The official language is French. It’s also the place Church of God missionaries Bobby and Jenny Mihsill and their two children Moore and Rease have called home for the past seven years. Coming February 21–23, they’re looking forward to the first-ever regional meeting of the Church of God West African leadership. The countries invited to the West Africa Gathering are the countries in which the Church of God has a presence in West Africa—Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Liberia.

“Arise and Shine” will be the theme for the All-Africa Assembly conference. Jenny noted this theme fits perfectly with the goal that she and Bobby have as missionaries in Côte d’Ivoire, “which is to help the church be self-sustaining,” She continued, “This is what much of our work is geared toward in training leaders and pastors, as well as working with the national church.”

She also shared that several important leaders and missionaries, such as Rev. Cyril Pillay (South Africa; general director of the All-Africa Assembly of the Church of God) and Rev. John and Gwen Johnson (regional coordinators for Africa for Global Strategy) are coordinating the gathering. Others included are Rev. Mailesi Ndao (Zambia; general secretary of the All-Africa Assembly) and Rev. Daniel Mdobi (Tanzania; treasurer for the All-Africa Assembly). The leaders’ vision is to see each of the three regions of the Church of God in Africa (West, South, and East) meet together in 2023 in their regions. The West Africa gathering is the first of such a gathering envisioned this new year.

Larry and LeAnne Sellers

Ivorian church leaders and missionaries in West Africa, including Larry and LeAnn Sellers, are organizing on-the-ground plans, such as in-country travel and lodging itineraries, in particular for those farther away to attend the meeting. “Some people don’t need a visa if they’re in West Africa coming from the different surrounding countries,” Jenny said. “If you are from East Africa or South Africa, a visa will be required to travel here as well as an official invitation.”

Jenny further explained that one truly exciting element is that, on the last day of the conference, there will be women leaders speaking on the theme “Women in Ministry in an African Context.” She states that the women are to speak about understanding what the Bible says about women leading in the church, as well as practical concerns and cultural considerations of women in ministry in Africa.

The conference will have leaders talk about different subjects on the issues they are facing presently. Sustainability is on the top of the discussion list, said Bobby.

As a matter of prayer, Jenny is among many asking the Lord to keep everyone in good health leading up to, during, and after the conference. In light of the several bouts of malaria the Mihsills have had to endure in the last year, this prayer is more important than ever.

All four Mihsills encountered malaria a few times in the past year. Rease was the most affected. Not as common in the West, many don’t know that malaria can infect a host body more than once; it is a parasite. “It’s really common here to get it over and over again,” Jenny explained. “Like the flu.”

Church of God leaders from parts of Africa (and the US).

Malaria is more common in children. Jenny has to be careful when the family goes outdoors at certain times of the day. Mosquitoes are carriers, and symptoms can vary; doctors therefore sometimes test for malaria even if the symptoms aren’t among the common signs.

“It was really, really severe, really bad,” she said. “Same thing as the rest of our family, and we’re kind of trying to pinpoint what it was [that caused it all],” she continued, referring to a particularly severe and extended bout of illness. “I went to the clinic and found out that I actually had malaria and tested positive,” she added.

Both children have had more than one bout in recent months, but thankfully are doing fine following prescribed dosages of medicine and rest.

Jenny and Bobby feel God’s presence moving in their part of the world. Both are excited to see the Church of God leaders throughout West Africa progress as a larger community together. Despite malaria and other challenges, God is still working through the missionaries and Church of God there. The Mishills anticipate further positive developments and great news coming from the February conference.

Learn more about Bobby and Jenny Mihsill, and discover opportunities to get involved, at www.chogglobal.org.

Kim Ousley is a freelance writer from Anderson, Indiana.

Feature (top) photo: Church of God leaders in West Africa with Jenny and Bobby Mihsill (right).

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