Powerful partnerships. Transformed lives.
While we will be headed to Cote d'Ivoire to serve in leadership roles with Journey Corps, the broader missions organization we and Journey Corps are serving under is WorldVenture. WorldVenture is a network of partners: over 600 missionaries serving in more than 60 countries around the globe, committed staff at the International Headquarters in Littleton, CO and Church Connections Area Offices across the United States, national churches and ministries internationally, and numerous individuals -- like you -- praying, serving, and giving.
Founded in 1943 as The Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society, the name was latter changed to CBI (Conservative Baptist International) and more recently to WorldVenture. While the organization has a history in the Baptist tradition, today staff and missionaries come from many evangelical Christian backgrounds to work toward a common vision. WorldVenture's vision is to see people of all nations transformed by Jesus Christ through partnership with His church. As an organization, and individuals within it, we value: Commitment to Jesus Christ, Dependence on God, Compassion for People, Vibrant Partnerships, Effective Ministry, and a Global Focus. You can learn more about WorldVenture's values here and examine the doctrinal statement (i.e. what we believe) here.
WorldVenture is involved in many aspects of ministry globally -- seeking to meet the whole-life needs of those we minister to and with in Asia, Africa, Europe, S. America, and N. America. We aim to: Evangelize the Nations (seeing people become disciples of Jesus), Extend Grace to the Poor & Suffering (through individual acts of mercy and community-wide programs, such as development, education and medicine), Establish Churches (establish local churches that will establish other churches), Equip Ministry Leaders (developing individuals to lead churches in contextualizing and maximizing their church's impact), and Encourage Missions Movements (encouraging partnership among churches and organizations to create international networks of ministry cooperation).
We invite you to take a few moments to watch the video below as WorldVenture President, Hans Finzel, articulates the passion of WorldVenture. And, of course, you can always learn more be exploring the organization's website!
WORLDVENTURE IN COTE d'Ivoire
In 1947, the first WorldVenture missionary entered northern Cote d'Ivoire to begin work with a large unreached people group, the Senoufos. These animistic peoples, many of whom claimed to be Muslim while still practicing their traditional beliefs, had difficulty responding to a God of love. Through missionary medical work this barrier was overcome and the first converts were recorded; villages began accepting God's powerful Word.
Unfortunately, two obstacles stood in the way: the Word was not in any of the Senoufo languages and the people were largely illiterate. Therefore, much of WorldVenture's work in Cote d'Ivoire has been centered on translation, literature production, distribution and literacy as a means of discipling new believers and growing strong churches. This work was followed closely by the additional ministries of biblical education through schools and theological education by extension (TEE). One of Peter's mentors while in seminary was a former WorldVenture missionary who was very involved in this translation, literacy, and TEE work. Currently, in addition to a well-organized association of churches, there is a large body of believers in Cote d'Ivoire among some of the Senoufo people groups. Some missionaries are focusing on two least-evangelized people groups: the Nyarafolo (who are a Senoufo group) and the Dioula.
WorldVenture workers in Cote d'Ivoire have divided their efforts by ministry teams: church planting, leadership training, translation/literature/literacy, and medical care -- most serving in northern Cote d'Ivoire. A main focal point is the issue of nationalization of the Church. National church leaders are starting to grapple with formulating their own theology, and developing and funding their own programs (e.g., FM radio ministry). There is a budding missionary vision and some creative ideas for outreach and social action (community health and development programs). However, there is still much to do. Journey Corps will therefore be a significant aide to the field and national church as together they strive to continue the growth and outreach of the local churches.