Over 100 years of missions, we have consistently established locally-led, self-sustaining churches around the world. Many of the churches founded by PAOC global workers in the last century now have both local and international impact.
ONE story of Impact
Elmer and Sherry Komant are church planters who have been working in Africa since 1980. They have witnessed God’s faithfulness as they obeyed God’s call to establish communities of Jesus-followers.
It is amazing to see how God has expanded their ministry. Elmer reminisces by saying, “God has never stopped adding.”
First Stop – Livingstone, Zambia
Elmer and Sherry partnered with evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, and baptized 172 people on their first Sunday together. This was the start of something wonderful in Zambia. At the outset of ministry in Africa, Elmer and Sherry knew there would be “no success without a successor.” When they prepared to leave Livingstone in 1987, they handed the church over to their associate, Pastor Boniface Mwemba, who continues to lead the church today.
Second Stop – Lusaka, Zambia
Their move to Lusaka was met with challenges, both physical and spiritual. Elmer was healed from a brain tumor and God delivered them from being held at gunpoint. Elmer’s carpentry skills enabled the ever- growing church to enlarge the church sanctuary and open a nursery school. The congregation planted a church in Gilgal and prior to their departure, Pastor Watson Mutemi was installed as the first Zambian pastor to lead the church forward.
Third Stop – Mombasa, Kenya
Although some city officials raised opposition to another church in the community, the group of 50 attendees grew to 1500 people gathering weekly for worship. While Elmer was recovering from a terrible illness, God spoke to him; “It is time to nationalize the church and move on.”
Fourth Stop – Kigali, Rwanda
In 1999, the Komant’s moved to Rwanda and started a church under a large tent. The church has since become a multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-site church that “believes in the changing power of the Word of God. They seek to bring the message of hope and love in Christ to their communities” (clarwanda. org). Elmer and Sherry gave leadership to the church until June 2012, when they handed the ministry over to the national team, headed by Pastors Andrew and Prisca Mukinisha.
FIFTH STOP – BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI
One day, after a two-week period of fasting for direction, Elmer told Sherry, “God just spoke - we are going to start a church in Burundi.” The last six years have been incredibly fruitful. In June 2019, the torch was handed over to the pastoral leadership.
“When George Upton became the first overseas missions secretary for [the] PAOC [in] 1944, many of the older pioneer missionaries were passing off the scene, and a new strategy was required. Instead of the missionary being the “pastor,” it was time to establish the indigenous principle of leadership through the nationals if we were to succeed in planting a truly self-sufficient and self-propagating national church”
(Gordon Upton, 2018).