(MNN) — Twenty-four years of training Christians for children's ministry is bearing
long-term fruit in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
Lorella Rouster, international co-director of Every Child
Ministries, recently visited Bible classes taught by leaders who completed
ECM's very first teacher training in 1985.
"One of my greatest joys is always meeting those who have
taken our training in previous years," she said. "Sometimes when I'm not there, I wonder if what we're doing is
really lasting, and this was a great encouragement to me."
The leadership training program equips African Christians to
run children's ministries in their local churches and neighborhoods. One of the 1985 graduates now teaches a class
that includes some children served by ECM's orphan project in Kikwit, a
"It was really nice to see those 2 areas of ministry
overlapping after all these years," Rouster said. She has high ambitions for the teacher
training program, which has already trained thousands of people for children's
"What we're really hoping to see is that in every village,
and in every neighborhood of the cities, and in every Bible-believing church,
there would be a ministry that would be specifically geared to reach out to
children in those areas," Rouster said.
African culture devalues children, and the daily hardships
of war and poverty make it even more difficult to value children. The task of daily survival consumes the
people's focus. However, Rouster
believes that Jesus clearly taught about the value and importance of
"They're the future of the church and the future of the
country, and they've been largely overlooked in many of the church programs in Congo and throughout Africa,
as well as in many other places, I'm sure," she said.
Although the expense of training a teacher for children's
ministry has risen, it still costs only $52.
"When you think that a teacher might be serving the Lord
for the next quarter of a century, that's a really wonderful investment!" said Rouster.
She also asked for prayer for teachers who have already received
training. "I especially would ask people to pray for the people who
have been trained. There
have been thousands trained now, and we would ask that they would be faithful
to the Lord, and wherever they go that they would be using these ministry