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MDiv Degree, Conference Coordination, Africa

I currently service as Conference Communicator, Journalist, and English/French Translator for the Cote d’Ivoire XXXX Church Creating awareness on the Church Vision, Missions and ministries, international relations and programs management I began my career working as a licensed Ivorian journalist and a translator as a Press  Attaché and local correspondent for the XXXX News Service (USA) and the  “XXXX Times”(Ghana) I have been giving all of my energy to the Lord and most of it to the XXXX Church in my country. In what follows I trace how my background has resulted in the gifts of life and love in Jesus Christ that I enjoy and treasure today.

I was a Christmas gift to my parents in December of 1975. While making Christmas dinner my mother was touching her belly and praying to the Lord: "Father, you sent your son into the world. Here's mine in my belly, give him to me and allow him to be alive.” I would be the only child born to a fisherman and his wife, John Robert XXXX and Essi XXXX, a fishmonger who instilled in their first child a deep and abiding sense of destiny in our Lord Jesus Christ, appreciation and respect for the power that is in his name, and the profound redemption that occurs to the extent to which we follow and worship Him.

I have been nurtured in the cradle of XXXX since I was a child and it has empowered me to prosper through right living, hard work, and sincere dedication to the affairs of our church. I am most thankful that I have always received encouragement and support from my parents and my friends for all my religious activities. My skill at Biblical erudition increased rapidly over time and I immersed myself fully in everything related to Church life. I set my sights on becoming a pastor early on, fascinated by the ministers in our church. My choice of vocation was further confirmed when I became Sunday school teacher at the age of 17 and, later on, a licensed lay preacher.

In 1995, after earning my High School Diploma, I set my heart upon the task of learning English which I saw as further grace from the Lord. I also received admission to the faculty of Performing Arts of the University of XXXX. In 1997, while studying Performing Arts, I decided to enter the Centre for Studies and Research in Communication. We were 66 applicants for a handful of openings but the Lord heard my prayers and I was selected

After earning my Bachelor’s Degree, I joined the Communication Office of the then XXXX Church of Cote d'Ivoire. My school research allowed me to identify numerous flaws in the communication policy of the Church and to share my expertise, anytime that it was asked for and to improve communication The theoretical knowledge and wisdom that I would go on to acquire were very much reinforced by various trainings and internships that the Lord provided both inside and outside of my country. Now 39 years old, I have given the last 15 years of my life to the Cote d’Ivoire XXXX Church. I am enormously pleased to continue to serve in my journalistic capacity as our News Editor in Chief and member of the Executive Committee of XXXX (The Voice of Hope) Confessional Radio.

I felt humbled to be called to run the French Desk of the XXXX News Service during the XXXX Church 2012 General Conference which held in Tampa, Florida. It was the first time that delegates from my conference participated. This privilege duty helped me understand that in order to be a good communicator, I still have a long way to go in order to know God, know the Church and its mission, and always tell the story in most truthful way that I can.

First and foremost I want very much to earn my MDIV Degree in an ecumenical, university-based divinity school that is committed to ecumenical causes and collaboration in the work of the Lord. I also want to learn from my fellow students from all over the world as well as my professors, enriching my own existence and ministry through the many stories of others who have labored all over the planet to further the causes of their own religious organizations. I crave the vast diversity represented by your program at XXXX as well as the intellectual rigor of your broad based curriculum. Furthermore, the international headquarters of my church is in XXXX so that I would be able to continue my involvement in programs geared towards enhancing church communication.

The more that I have the opportunity to travel the more I appreciate the way in which our celebration of diversity is an inherent part of our gospel outreach, more and more so. This past June, 2014 I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land on our pilgrimage to Israel Our ministry is also helping me to get to know Africa increasingly well: Ghana, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Togo (West Africa), Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and India as well, where I had the opportunity to study.

XXXX has the kind of diversity that I crave in an academic program, so that I can continue to enhance my communication skills with people from many different cultures. Not only have the trainings that I have attended been an eye-opener to various cultures, but also, they helped me to become fluent in English. That added another skill to what I was already doing since for the past several years I have also been serving the church as a translator and interpreter for our Conferences.

2 years ago, I was appointed to represent the Cote d’Ivoire XXXX Church in the global network of XXXX Communications. A decision that has allowed me to tell the story of Christ at a higher level and to participate in several communication projects including the creation of the XXXXradio, “The Voice of Hope”. It has been a privilege to be a key player in Church communications and in fact we are still finding our feet. My joy is even greater to have been an active witness who helped write some important pages of the history of Cote d’Ivoire United Methodist Church. I am thinking particularly to the transition from the XXXX Church to the XXXX Church.

I see earning the MDiv Degree at XXXX as the optimal springboard for enhancing the contribution that I will be able to make to my church in the future. My wife is also very excited about the idea of spending time on campus at XXXX University since she is doing her PHD in biochemistry and XXXX is famous for its research in the areas of biochemistry and medical advance. She is focusing her research on how we can use local plants to treat Alzeihmer’s diseas. Coming with me to XXXX would enrich her own work since she would have the opportunity to share her findings

Among my most important accomplishments and most challenging undertakings is the 105 page Internal Communication Audit that I recently submitted for approval to the Cote d’Ivoire XXXX Church

I also produced a document of which I was very proud in 2009: Communication strategies and guidelines to promote the lay membership card, to be used by local churches. I am the author of several articles that have been published in the Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, India, the USA and the Internet. Most notable perhaps is my 30 page article entitled: Stakes of the Printing Press in the Cote d’Ivoire XXXX Church (Nov. 2007-30p)

I see my primary contribution to the church as being that of a facilitator of communication. Looking at where I stood and where I am standing now, I realize that the Lord has taken the time to prepare me for this mission of communicator—even before I decided to it. "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain"(1 Corinthians 15: 10). The call of the Lord comes to me in the form of dialogue, much like he had with the prophet Jonah. Like Jonah, I shout grateful praise and I will make good on my vows. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, 'Salvation comes from the LORD."(Jonah 2:9).

Being chosen to run the French Desk of our 2014 XXXX Church General Conference represents the pinnacle of my life so far and helps to define the platform upon which I see to build as a divinity student at XXXXt. My work on an international level has helped to prepare me to excel in your program as I am hungry and earnest to learn as much as I can about comparative theologies and ethics, especially but not exclusively insofar as the impact on Christianity.

I look forward to bonding with many other Christians from Africa while we are it XXXX. if the Lord so desires, enabling us to develop our spiritual understandings, wisdom, and capacity to love that would enable us to excel in our ministry in and to Africa and its people.

I am currently reading Assist Me to Proclaim, the Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley and I very much admire, in fact think of myself as a solid member and contributor to our Wesleyan tradition, searching for consensus in our interpretation of Wesleyan theology in light of current events and challenges, especially insofar as they have a direct impact on the church. I am not, however, focused on the idea of earning my degree at a Wesleyan seminary, rather, I look forward to making spiritual and academic progress by studying the traditions of others, which will in turn serve to enrich my relationship with my own religious tradition.

By the grace of God, I have been able to explore many different spheres of communication with an advanced understanding of communication in religious organizations. These experiences have been fanning my thirst to proclaim His word to His people. That is why I answered the call of our Lord to become a preacher. I still remember the day of my preaching examination (Sunday, June 11, 2006); I flew to Zimbabwe two hours later for another training.

The Lord takes pleasure in aligning certain events in my life for His glory. And since then, I am asked during communication days to preach on the subject, because the faithful think I'm the right person. It is a grace that is accompanied by profound responsibilities that have been entrusted to me. My support is the Lord my God, the leading communicator. My prayer is that he inspires and empowers me more and more. And above all, that he always makes me more useful for the work of the salvation of souls to which he called me through my work as a journalist, a communicator and in the future as a pastor.

As a son who was born to John Robert XXXX, a fisherman, and Essi XXXX, a fishmonger, I want to perpetuate the main occupation of my parents but in other waters. As it is my calling, I want to catch fishes, prepare and offer them to the Lord, our Creator. As it is written “And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?" (Rom 10: 14b -15a).

I thank you for considering my application.

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