In 2011, there were eight of us. One of us was single, seven of us were moms and wives, six of whom were stay-at-home moms. We had 21 children between us, two of us home-schooled, three of us had never had passports, and one of us had never been on an airplane. But, God called us to Africa and this is our story:
We were simply a group of friends from Blue Ridge Church of Christ in Fishersville, VA, studying the Bible together. We felt a sense of urgency and realized the Spirit was leading us to do more, not only in our community, but in our world. So…We met. We prayed. We fasted. We found ourselves training for a trip, destination unknown…just Africa and the unreached on our hearts . We decided to send two from our group to ICOM, knowing it was a place for missions opportunities.
Upon arrival to ICOM, we found ourselves seated behind five men, all of whom were wearing black t-shirts with a yellow outline of Africa. As soon as the session was over, we met those men and asked about their shirts. They turned around and imprinted on their chests was “prayforthewala.com”. “Who are the Wala?” we asked. They invited us to their booth to share more. We marched ourselves to a small booth called Next Generation Ministries International (NGMI) where we met with John Latimer, founder of NGMI, along with two board members and two of their African pastors.
We asked these five men if they would ever consider taking eight women to Africa. They all laughed and said, “Sure!” Little did they realize, we were serious. You see, they were at ICOM recruiting prayer partners, not people to actually visit their ministry. God had other plans. Less than a year later, in August 2012, we eight women, along with John and his cohorts, stepped off of a plane, in Ghana, West Africa. We traveled North to the city of Wa and soon found ourselves standing in a village surrounded by the Wala people. This was the people group that we had spent nine months praying for since going to ICOM.
We loved the Wala before we even met them. And now that we had met them, we were sold. We felt an immediate God-given responsibility to help spread the Gospel to these people. Since that very first encounter with the Wala, BRCC’s involvement with NGMI has evolved into a relational ministry, with regional pastors and workers to help John Latimer train and encourage them to reach further north among other unreached peoples. Seven trips have been completed, 19 individuals have invested by going, our church has given over $60,000 in quarterly and one-time support, and countless individuals are committed to praying for NGMI and the Wala people. We are in this for the long-haul!
Thank you, ICOM, for bringing BRCC, NGMI, and the Wala together.
Christy Imler, Shasta Reeves, Stephanie Ballew, Katie Campbell, Lara Hoke, Michelle Godby,
Steph Saufley (Most affectionately known as “The Wala Girls”)