Recently our children's ministry trainer, Andrew Edmonds, had the opportunity to travel to Ivory Coast, or Côte d'Ivoire as it is formally called in French. There, he and Pastor Koffi Tehua, one of our African partners, led a five-day training for children's ministry leaders and launched the first French version of the High-5 curriculum. There were 30 leaders in attendance. 

While Koffi was initially disappointed that the number of attendees was smaller than expected, God showed him that those in attendance were exactly the right leaders He wanted. Indeed, half of the participants were Sunday school teachers and the other half were pastors or prominent leaders in their denominations. There were twelve different churches represented from five different denominations. A couple of the denominations sent their national Sunday school directors, representing a total of about 500 Sunday school teachers.  And every single person there expressed an incredible passion and burden to reach the next generation with the good news of Jesus. 

One leader told us, "I've been considering whether or not I should leave children's ministry to start my own church. This week God has renewed my vision to serve and reach kids."

Another one told us, "Next week I'm leading a training for 50 Sunday School teachers in the interior of Ivory Coast. I'm definitely going to share this material with them."

And yet another pastor said, "I've had an incredible burden for the kids in my church and in our community, but I didn't know what to do for them.  Now I have a solution."

One of the unexpected results of the training was that the participants decided to start a network for the children's ministry leaders of Abidjan and beyond. A young woman named Rose told us, "Before, I felt alone and discouraged in the ministry. This week lifted my spirit, and now I know I can keep going." They have already designated ten volunteers to act as facilitators, and have set a date for their next meeting at the end of April.  

It was clear that God was at work during this time, encouraging the leaders, equipping them, and inspiring them to continue the work of reaching and ministering to kids.  Koffi is already starting to plan a trip for next year, Lord willing, indicating that, "Children are so important. We must continue spreading this message throughout all of Ivory Coast." 

The High-5 curriculum, developed collaboratively in Rwanda by CARSA and Breakthrough Partners to shape the character of children, teaches the values of Love, Hope, Thankfulness, Respect and Truth.