VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/3/16)—The Rev. Holale C. Azondjagni and his wife, Awenam Anifrani, of Evanston, Illinois, have been assigned as the first International Ministries (IM) missionaries to Togo, a former French colony in West Africa. The couple was endorsed in the spring of 2014 to serve in France. When the needs of the Evangelical Baptist Churches of France changed, opportunities were considered in other parts of Europe as well as in Haiti and in Africa.
Born in Togo, Azondjagni and Anifrani are naturalized American citizens who have felt called to use their pastoral and training skills in mission service. Though they had approached IM with the belief that they would serve in Togo, they were surprised by God when it seemed that the most promising ministry prospect for them was in France. However, they responded in faith and embraced this opportunity-and a year later were surprised yet again when this road brought them back around to where they had started: preparing for service to Togo.
Azondjagni says, “In God’s loving and gracious sovereignty, God uses detours and U-turns to place us all safely where we’re supposed to be. As with the call in Acts 16:6-9, where Paul and his team were redirected from Bithynia to Macedonia, so we have experienced a U-turn from Togo to France to Togo.”
Azondjagni and Anifrani will be working with the Baptist Convention of Togo and local congregations to develop social ministries and programs serving persons with HIV/AIDS, street children and orphans vulnerable to human trafficking, girls exploited in prostitution, patients in hospitals and those incarcerated in prisons. Through the Togo Baptist Biblical Institute and the convention’s 15 associations, they will also strengthen the training of pastors and church leaders for vital and vibrant ministry.
In celebration of this development, the Rev. Dr. Eleazar Ziherambere, area director for Africa and director for African American Mission, says, “This assignment is for me yet another demonstration of God’s timing and faithfulness. He responded to the needs of the Baptists in Togo, who have been praying for missionaries to help them. And he has given this gifted couple, who were willing to minister anywhere, a perfect place to serve-they know the culture and the language, and above that they have the passion for this ministry to which they clearly have been called.”
To learn more about Holale Azondjagni and Awenam Anifrani, visit their profile page on the IM website.
Words of encouragement for Holale and Awenam may be sent to email@example.com.
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American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.