In the mission to launch Purpose Driven strategies in every African country, Palm Valley Church of Goodyear, Arizona has partnered with Cote d’Ivoire to transform local communities by mobilizing healthy churches. As an International Partnering Church (IPC), they have actively been training local church leaders under the direction of Palm Valley Senior Pastor Ryan Nunez, and Mission’s Pastor, Rusty Hood.
Even before attending the All-African Pastors’ Gathering in Rwanda, they had prayed for a partnership in their commitment to becoming an IPC. It was only weeks before the gathering that they decided to stop over in Cote d’Ivoire to meet pastors in the area.
“We were a little bit nervous about it,” recalls Pastor Nunez. “We weren’t sure how that relationship would go, or if we would even be meeting with people of influence. But as soon as we stepped off the plane in Cote d’Ivoire, we were beyond encouraged.”
For three days, they worked together with a host pastor who introduced them to some of the most influential leaders in the country. Among them was Reverend Rene’ Kpan who oversees 850 churches, a Bible college, and a large church of his own. For years, he has orchestrated outreach with other countries by spearheading reconciliation in his own. The partnership with the Purpose Driven Church was perfectly aligned with the larger vision for the country, and that of the IPC.
As Pastor Nunez explains, “Reverend Rene is a key person in bringing healing to the country. He is spreading the Gospel to the masses, working towards reconciliation among key leaders, and empowering the marginalized.”
This alignment led to Rene joining Purpose Driven leaders in Rwanda for the conference. Throughout training sessions, the Palm Valley team was encouraged that they had unity with their partnering country on all the big issues. Together they openly agreed that PEACE was the right step to transform the country.
“The unity just crystallized,” recalls Nunez. “We realized that our problems in the United States at my church were the same exact problems with the church in the Ivory Coast. We bonded around that unity, and it was such an incredible experience.”
This feeling of unity and partnership on the side of Cote d’Ivoire was equally powerful. As the
president of one of the biggest umbrella organizations in Cote d’ivoire—and the Vice President of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of Cote d’ivoire—Reverend Rene considered it a privilege to be part of the All-African Pastors’ Gathering. Not only did the conference reflect what the Church can be doing for the nation, but it also showed him the role of the Church as it relates to peace and reconciliation.
“We understand that our churches today need to go for reformation,” says Rene, “—to positively impact society. If we want to tackle all kinds of global giants, the only answer is the Church. This is why we want to get involved with our partnering church from America, to tackle all the issues of our country.”
Being at the gathering meant their entire team could examine what the country of Rwanda had endured, and how they survived. After visiting the memorial, Reverend Rene says he was touched to see that transformation was achieved through the Church. He adds: “In every country in Africa, there are challenges related to reconciliation, and I’m convinced that PEACE and the Church will be the answers for our nation.”
The greatest takeaway for the Cote d’ivoire leader was that the Lord is offering the Church as a tool to foster peace in African countries. “We want to fully be part of this vision,” says Rene. “And we want to share in this mighty responsibility.”
To learn more about becoming an International Partnering Church, visit pd.church/start.