So Charles, a virtual orphan in one of the poorest African countries, was raised by his uncle.
Charles’ uncle placed a high value on education. Possessing higher education himself, he drilled Charles so well that as a young man, Charles went on and took a high place in a jeopardy-like program for the French-speaking world.
Cote d’Ivoire experienced quite a bit of turmoil as Charles grew up. In one of the more violent events, rebels captured Charles’ University campus. Charles narrowly escaped with his life.
Charles went to Poznan, Poland to study. There he became a part of Poznan International Church, a ministry for the many Internationals in Poznan. ITMI’s Richard and Brooke Nungesser pastor this small but vibrant body of believers.
The Nungessers have set up the church so that all are welcome to come, grow, serve and go! Through outreach events, they come. Internationals are offered many opportunities to grow in Christ…and for a few that includes salvation.
As they grow, PIC is given many opportunities to serve through the nearby university, Bread of Life operations, and other opportunities church members become passionate about. Eventually, most of PIC will move away, many returning to countries all over the world. They go.
Truly, the sun never sets on PIC!
Charles spent time serving and loving the homeless through Bread of Life’s ministries while he was in Poznan. He spent time with the men at Bread of Life’s transitional home for homeless men, the New Life Center.
He once told Richard, “I grew up an orphan in one of the poorest countries, but I didn’t really see the poor.”
Charles was the first of his 20 brothers and sisters to become saved. Many of his friends and family have now come to Christ.
When Charles left Poznan, Poland to work in Belgium, he wanted to replicate what he learned and saw in Poland in his home country. He saved up his own money to register Bread of Life Ivory Coast in Abidjan, the capital city.
The majority of the non-profit’s funding still comes from Charles’ own pocket.
Then and Now: Learning to See the Poor
Recently, Richard visited Bread of Life in Cote d’Ivoire. He and Charles were eating at a restaurant when a little boy poked his head through a hole in the wall.
“I’m hungry,” he said. Charles immediately said, “Come sit and eat with us.”
A boy that was hungry.
While they ate, Richard suggested they give the boy some spiritual food, too. So Charles shared the gospel with him. Later Charles told Richard, “Before Christ’s work in my life, I would think, ‘Why are you asking me? Its not my business. I don’t care.’”
Today’s Bread of Life Ivory Coast Bread of Life Ivory Coast was started by the people of Cote d’Ivoire, for the people of Cote d’Ivoire. They don’t have deep pockets. After all, they are just everyday citizens of one of the poorest countries in Africa.
But they are doing what they can.
Preschool for Cocoa Workers’ Children
Cocoa workers’ children are left alone for long hours while their parents work. This leads to many problems, especially for the very young who still really need supervision.
In a town near the capital, Abidjan, where Bread of Life is based, some women started a preschool for the children of the cocoa workers.
They don’t have much, just an open, covered ramada to meet in. No desks, no play equipment. No swings on the swing set.
The swing set before Bread of Life provided swings.
Recently, Bread of Life found a way to repair their sagging swing set and provide swings for it. The preschool workers response demonstrates how big a deal this was.
“We’d like to give you our school,” they said, “We want to name it Bread of Life Preschool.”
When funds allow, Bread of Life takes rice, cooking oil or other simple food necessities to refugees. This group of refugees is all children.
Children displaced by political upheavals and rebellions.
Children without food.
Not long ago, Bread of Life delivered rice and cooking oil, with a side of encouragement. They also shared the gospel, of course.
It meant the world to these children.
Starting a Movement
Why did Charles escape the revolution with his life?
Well, of course we don’t know what God’s intentions were and are.
But one reason is becoming clear. To start a movement. To start a movement of people in Ivory Coast who really see the poor around them.
To equip the people of Ivory Coast to respond with compassion, to respond with Jesus.
Charles can’t do this alone.
Bread of Life Ivory Coast Founder Charles (right) with Richard Nungesser (left) and Bread of Life Ivory Coast Director, Daniel.
He needs people to jump on board. He needs help to turn this progress into a movement.
Bread of Life IC has an active Board of Directors that join and contribute leg work and skills to the work. There’s also some volunteers who do what they can.
They’ve proven they can be faithful and make an impact with a little.
To get to the next level, they need more people to join the movement. To get in on the ground floor and propel it to great things!
A Little Goes a Long Way
If just 20 people put a $20 drop into the water each month, this movement could begin to ripple and spread. If just 20 people committed to this movement, people’s lives will begin to change.
If just 20 people jumped on board with Charles and his vision, the country could be changed.
Are you one of those people? Will you get to be part of this movement?
Summer Kelley is a writer living in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three kids. She’s had the honor and privilege of telling ITMI’s stories since 2006. She’s a homeschooling mom and a T-shirt and jeans aficionado who likes all things simple. When she’s not writing or homeschooling, you can find her honing her skills as what some might call a “suburban survivalist” as she learns to thrive in the suburbs with 3 kids. As a productivity and organizing enthusiast, she may or may not spend hours attempting to use technology to “save time.” Summer loves reading, the outdoors and Coca-Cola Classic from the fountain.