Acts 1:8 in Africa
Here in the U.S. Alliance we hear much about Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Have you ever thought about the fact that the greater Alliance family around the world also shares that vision? West Africa Alliance Seminary (in French, la Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de l’Alliance Chrétienne, or FATEAC) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is influencing Africa for the Kingdom.
FATEAC was created in 1992 as a collaboration of five national C&MA churches—Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire—with the purpose of developing church leadership in French-speaking Africa and the goal to influence the rest of the continent. Originally, FATEAC only offered a four-year Master’s program. Now, under the leadership of Issiaka Coulibaly, the school is transitioning from a seminary to a university. “We want to contribute to the leadership development of the society, but with a Christian ethic and worldview,” Dr. Coulibaly explains.
Dr. Coulibaly has been teaching at FATEAC for more than 21 years. In 2012, he was also named dean of the seminary. His additional responsibilities include working with the board and projecting for the future of the school. With the new program, he has been recruiting personnel and students, and he wonders, “Where will they all live when they come here?”
FATEAC built one apartment building for students and faculty, which filled quickly. A second building was begun, but lack of funds halted construction. During this time of transition, the purpose for the building also changed. Short-term housing became the priority, not only for students, but also for visiting professors from around the world, short-term missions teams, and other evangelical organizations utilizing the building for training, retreats, and conferences.
When the administration wanted to borrow money to complete the building project, Ron Julian, board member for FATEAC and team developer for the Africa Region, suggested approaching ADF for a loan through International Ministries. “[FATEAC was] stuck because the building couldn’t get finished,” Ron shares, “and [ADF’s] rates were better than the commercial bank here.”
In the Overseas Lending Program, ADF grants loans directly to the U.S. C&MA for real estate projects recommended by the mission fields.
Dr. Coulibaly is very grateful for their relationship with ADF: “…each step along the way, a person from ADF was helping us understand the process.”
With the ADF loan, FATEAC will be able to finish construction on the second apartment building, furnish that building, and complete site development of their 7.5-acre campus. Future developments include building a library and a medical clinic on campus.
Located between two old villages, FATEAC is well-integrated in the community. Village chiefs and local leadership are invited to special events, and evangelism courses send FATEAC students into nearby neighborhoods. A clinic will complement the relationship by opening doors for evangelism, as well as taking care of people’s physical needs. Reaching farther, the school has impacted French-speaking Africa with graduates in more than 15 countries. And globally, FATEAC influences hundreds of people coming from over 10 countries and impacting thousands of believers around the continent of Africa. “We feel part of a large family with this ADF loan,” Dr. Coulibaly concludes.
With ADF’s help, FATEAC is having an impact for the Kingdom in their own community, in West Africa, and beyond.