Joseph and Emmanuela are GMI Missionary Partners serving in Malawi. They have been there working with the Grace Bible Institute of Malawi since 2012. Joseph is the son of longtime PMA Africa Director and founder of the Grace Churches in Cameroon, the late Rev. Lawrence Asong. Emmanuela was born in the city of Bamenda in the northwest region of Cameroon. Her family was a strong Christian family and her father, a customs officer, also served as a church planter and elder in their family’s church. Below is their testimony of God’s call in their lives to missions, written by Joseph.
By the year 199 I, Joseph already had strong convictions that the LORD wanted me to serve Him. I even attempted to leave school and attend a Bible School, but things did not work out at that time. I went on to attend High School, but my passion to serve God grew even stronger. I was deeply involved in the ministries at our local Grace Church in Kumba, Cameroon. I taught Sunday school, led youth ministry, and organized outreach ministries. I was given to prayer and intercession. When I finished High School I wanted to attend Bible College, but again things did not work out. By October 2001, I was enrolled at the University of Buea, reluctantly, to study Accounting. At the University my zeal increased. I joined a local Baptist Church, because there was not a Grace Church in the area. At the Baptist Church, I met several University students and others who were zealous for the LORD as well. I was able to get involved with a Drama and Music club there and was doing well.
However, my desire to serve the LORD became so overwhelming that I gave more time to spiritual matters and ministry than I did to my studies. In February 2002, when my father passed in a car accident, I left the University against many protests from friends and relatives. I went back to Kumba to help rally the Pastors of the Grace Church, and keep the faith alive. I was made the National Secretary of the Grace Church in Cameroon. We worked very hard to coordinated the partnership between the Grace Church in Cameroon and Grace Ministries International. That relationship was made official in 2003, and together with GMI, we reopened the doors of Cameroon Grace Bible Institute. The National Council asked me to be the Director of the school, but I declined, citing that I needed training myself. I became the Dean of Students as well as was blessed with the opportunity to teach classes there.
During all this time my goal was to attend a Degree level Bible College. Thankfully, GMI sent me to the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA) in Zambia. Dr. Sam Vinton and Rev. Ken Parker became pillars in my life by directing me towards the path that the LORD had called me. Many others also have been a blessing along the way, too many to be able to list them here! The strong biblical foundation that my father laid has been tremendous in keeping me on track, even during the difficult times. I have given my all to the LORD. We are all on earth for a reason and there are things that we have to take care of this side of heaven.
My time at the Theological College of Central Africa was a positive and very enriching experience. I will never be able to thank GMI enough for that opportunity to prepare for the LORD’s work. At TCCA, I was stretched beyond measure: body, mind, soul and spirit. GMI and TCCA gave me an opportunity to fine tune the potential God had deposited in me. After TCCA I returned to Cameroon in December 2008. I served there as a GMI Missionary Intern, helping to revive some of our churches and work with the leadership to reorganize and refocus the Grace Church in Cameroon. It was during this time that I met my beautiful wife, Emmanuela, and we got married in December 2011.
Emmanuela’s dream for the future went through a process of transformation. At first, she wanted to become a Nutritionist. She then fell in love with Hotel Management. After High School, it was Counseling that piqued her interest. Sadly, circumstances did not allow her pursue that option. She enrolled at a Higher Teacher’s Training College and graduated with a Higher Diploma in Teaching after 3 years. After this she proceeded to University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Economics after 2 years. Most of her post University days were spent looking for employment in the commercial capital of Cameroon, Douala. By this time it became clear to her that her professional life would be in the area of Events Management. So, while waiting and praying for an opportunity in this area, she had to endeavor to make ends meet.
It was at this point that we met, and the trajectory of her life changed completely. Emmanuela never dreamed of becoming a missionary, but after I shared with her my vision of becoming a missionary she chose to stand by me. Emmanuela comes from a very strong Christian family and has a firm commitment to the LORD. Only five months into our marriage, we left Cameroon for Malawi in 2012, not knowing what lay ahead of us. In Malawi we worked with others to start the first Bible School in English with the Grace Church in Malawi. We are now working to open more Bible Schools in Chichewa, the national language of Malawi. Most of our leaders in the village churches do not speak English. The journey has not been easy! There are many challenges, but we can only move forward!