Every Child Ministries

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Every Child Ministries is a Christian charity and mission agency that specializes in uplifting African children. The charity is specially known for its advocacy on behalf of neglected, downtrodden, and marginalized groups of African children.[1] It was first incorporated in the US in the state of Indiana in 1985, but is now incorporated and recognized as an NGO in numerous African countries.[2]

Programs [3][edit]

Initiative against shrine slavery (ritual servitude)(Ghana, Togo, Benin)[4]

Initiative for street children (DR Congo, Ghana)[5]

Vocational apprenticeship for street youth (DR Congo, Ghana)

Haven of Hope Children’s Home/Orphanage (Ghana)[6][7]

Haven of Hope Academy (Ghana)[8]

Educational assistance for orphans & vulnerable children through sponsorship (DR Congo, Uganda, Ghana)[9][10] and educational gift sets [11][12]

Special helps programs for albinos (Uganda)[13]

Training for teachers of children and youth (DR Congo, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Uganda, New Sudan)[14]

Intensive 9-month training for “teachers of teachers” (Spécialisation en Education Chrétienne) DR Congo

Leadership training (DR Congo, Ghana, Nigeria)

Teachers’ resource libraries (DR Congo, Ghana)

Development & publication of uplifting literature on health themes, education, literacy, and spiritual values (DR Congo, Togo, Benin, Uganda)

Kids’ Clubs & Sunday Schools for children (DR Congo, Ghana, Uganda, Sudan, Togo, Benin)[15]

Health services (DR Congo, Uganda)

Initiative vs. child trafficking (Ghana, Uganda)and child sacrifice (Uganda)[16]

Restoration of underage victims of commercial sexual exploitation (Ghana)

"The Way Home"--"forever" homes and other assistance for AIDS orphans and grandmothers rearing them (Uganda)

Main fields of service [17][edit]

DR Congo (formerly Zaire) since 1985

Ghana since 1999

Uganda since 2006

New (southern) Sudan since 2007

Togo since 2006

Benin since 2006

ECM training has also reached Rep. of Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Nigeria, and Central African Republic through nationals trained in ECM programs.

History [18][edit]

Every Child Ministries (ECM, sometimes called ECMAfrica) was founded by John and Lorella Rouster in 1985 after serving three years in what was then Zaire with another evangelical mission. John had an agricultural background and later earned a Biblical studies certificate from Moody Bible Institute. Lorella was a teacher, Christian educator, and journalist, also an alumna of Moody Bible Institute, Tri-State University(B.A.)and Covington Theological Seminary (M.R.E.)[19] The Rousters served a total of nine years in Zaire (now DR Congo)—a little more than three before founding ECM (1981-Spring 1984) and six with ECM (1990–1996).[20][21] During this time Lorella wrote numerous books in the African Kituba language, translated songs, Gospel and health booklets, which were published by ECM. She also developed an extensive training manual for teachers of children. This book was later published in seven languages spoken in Africa: Kituba, Lingala, Tshiluba, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese.[22]

From 1985 to 1998, Every Child Ministries served only in DR Congo and was mainly limited to Christian education, training of teachers, development of literature, and health services. In 1985 ECM was featured in the "Mission Explorers Video Series"[23] with Carey Kinsolving. These ministries have continued and expanded under national leadership.[24][25]

Since 1999 three tendencies have been noticeable: 1. Rapid expansion into other African countries, and 2. A growing tendency to focus on the needs of what the organization deems as the most marginalized and neglected children, 3. A growing emphasis on Child sponsorship.[26]

In 1997 the Rousters returned from Congo. Floyd Bertsch had served as International Director while the Rousters were in Congo, but upon their return they again took the position of International Director, sharing the duties as co-directors.

In 1999 an evaluatory trip was made to Ghana. As a result, several initiatives were established there including the Initiative against shrine slavery ritual servitude[27] and the Initiative for Street children.[28][29]

In 2001 ECM initiated a program called "Character Building from the Bible" in some of the public schools of Ghana.[30]

In November 2002 Haven of Hope Home/orphanage was founded. Forty-five children now find a safe haven there. Many were homeless street children, some are orphans, abandoned children, former shrine slaves and children of former slaves.[6][7] The home now includes a school, Haven of Hope Academy, offering Nursery through Class 6.[31]

In January 2003 Every Child Ministries held its first liberation of shrine slaves known as trokosi, cooperating with International Needs Ghana.[32][33] This was followed by another liberation in January 2004 in cooperation with FESLIM (Fetish Slaves Liberation Movement),[34][35][36] a third in December 2005,[37] and another in March 2010.[38] ECM has been very active in advocating for the abolition of the practice and the liberation of existing slaves.[39][40][41] In 2007 they released a DVD for their anti-slavery project called "Stomp Out Slavery" to help raise public awareness.[42] In January 2008, ECM issued a "Prayer Guide against Modern Slavery" in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation[43]

In 2003 ECM expanded its ministry to street children to include DR Congo, ministering to children living on Kinshasa's streets with meals twice a week, vocational training, literacy classes, sports teams, gardening and Bible classes.[44][45][46]

The same year they introduced an in-depth method of teaching the Bible. Called "Step by Step, Slowly", the approach teaches Bible passages phrase by phrase involving a four step process—Read, Question, Act it out, Sing and Dance.[47]

In 2006 ECM made investigatory trips into Togo, Benin, Uganda, and New Sudan,[48] and conducted training for children’s teachers in Uganda and New Sudan.[49]

This was followed by training for children’s teachers in Togo in 2007[50] and in Benin in 2008,[51] and by the establishment of a main base of operations with numerous projects in Uganda in 2007-2008.[52][53][54]

Current projects in Uganda include summer day camps and holiday parties for children in IDP camps,[55][56] an initiative to help albino children and improve public acceptance of them,[57] and "The Way Home" Project targeting AIDS orphans. "The Way Home" project began in 2010 with assistance to "grannies" raising several grandchildren who were orphaned due to AIDS.[58]

In 2015, Mark Luckey was named as successors to the Rousters as International Director, while the Rousters continue to serve as missionary consultants, project coordinators and communication specialists.

Missiological distinctives[edit]

Every Child Ministries is a nonsectarian Christian mission of evangelical persuasion.[59] Its members come from many different Christian churches. It is a hands-on type mission making extensive use of volunteers[60][61] and involving people from many different backgrounds. As a mission agency ECM sends both career and short-term missionaries[62] and widely supports the work of African nationals.[63]

Memberships and affiliations[edit]

Every Child Ministries has been a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability since 1987.,[64] the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance,[65] and Mission Network News.[66] It is also a member of STEER, a group that involves agriculturalists in mission support.[67] Since 1997, ECM has participated in the triennial Urbana (convention) Student Missions Conference, where Co-Director Lorella Rouster taught a 2006 seminar on “Healing the Children of War.”[68] The organization has also regularly participated in the Greater Chicago Sunday School Association, where they have presented many workshops for teachers.[69] In 2005 they were the featured international ministry at the Children's Pastor's Conferences sponsored by the International Network of Children's Ministry.[70]


  1. 2007 Christian Ministry Sourcebook, “Mission Agencies—International Focus”, 2007, p. 159.
  2. Every Child Ministries Annual Report 2008, “Growing Strong”, c. 2008, p. 1
  3. Every Child Ministries Annual Report, “Growing Strong”, ECM Publications, Hebron, IN, 2008, p.2-16.
  4. The Christian Post, www.christianpost.com, January 22, 2004, "Christian Group Helps Release Fetish Slaves in Ghana"
  5. The Street Children of Kinshasa, www.drcongochildren.org/?page_id=3
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Couple Helps African Street Children Get a Christmas Home", Kathie Godfrey, The News, Merrillville, IN, Dec. 26, 2003,p.3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Christian Post, www.christianpost.com, December 2, 2003, "Haven of Hope in Ghana Celebrates First Anniversary"
  8. "Finding a Good Fit, Couple plans their return to missionary work in Ghana, The Times, Merrillville, IN, May 23, 2008.
  9. "Childhood Lost in Uganda", Mission Network News Quarterly Newsletter, Spring 2008, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI.
  10. "Mission to Africa", Susan Lorimor, Post-Tribune of NW Indiana, Feb. 25, 2001.
  11. "Giving Every Child a Chance to Excel", Mike Ssegawa, Daily Monitor, PO Box 12141, Kampala, Uganda, October 13, 2008
  12. "Every child should feel God's love", Mike Ssegawa, Sunday Monitor, Kampala, Uganda, Nov. 2, 2008
  13. Action Plan for Uganda Gulu District published by Every Child Ministries,2008
  14. "The Forgotten Children", John W. Kennedy, Power for Living, July 6, 2008, SP Publications, Colorado Springs, CO
  15. "Catching the Global Vision", Kurt Jarvis, K! Magazine, KidzMatter,Inc., Jan-Feb 2008, p. 57.
  16. "Yumbula ne Drake Sekele, Feb 2012 series, WBS TV, Uganda
  17. Every Child Ministries Annual Report, “Growing Strong,” ECM Publications, Hebron, IN, 2008, p. 1.
  18. Summarized from Every Child Ministries’ main organizational website, www.ecmafrica.org, 2008.
  19. "The Rousters Saw the Need to Teach Children About God", Agnieska Zielinksa,Student Union, Moody External Studies, Moody Bible Institute, 1999, Issue 3, p. 1.
  20. "Family Plans Teaching Mission", Cedar Lake Journal, Cedar Lake, IN March 15, 1989
  21. Family Makes a Difference" Neighbors, Post-Tribune of NW IN, Merrillville, IN, Dec. 31, 1989
  22. Four of these languages (Kituba, Lingala, Tshiluba and French)were published in DR Congo, CEDI, BP 11398 Kinshasa 1, DR Congo, Depot Legal No. 3.0921-7571-7MSC-98. The original version, in Kituba, was called, "Ecole du Dimanche, Kulonga Bantu na Niveau na Bo" (Sunday School--Teaching People on their Level", 1998).
  23. http://www.kidstalkaboutgod.org/?TabId=64 Mission Explorers Video Series
  24. "Fighting is over, training for outreach underway", Mission Network News,March 9, 2007
  25. "ECM celebrates the growth of children's programs", Mission Network News, March 28, 2005
  26. One example is "Helping orphans...in Congo", Mission Network News, June 29, 2006
  27. "Mission Against Slavery, Sandi O'Brien, Post-Tribune of NW Indiana, March 13, 2003
  28. "Street Children in Crisis Around the World", Lorella Rouster, SST/GH Summer 2008, UGP, Cleveland, OH, p. 58-59.
  29. "Ministry helps unite families in poverty-stricken Africa", Mission Network News, April 9, 2007
  30. "Ghana's public schools embrace Bible-based teaching", Mission Network News, Aug. 31, 2006
  31. http://www.ecmafrica.org/36238.ihtml Haven of Hope Academy
  32. "Fetish slaves freed in Ghana" Mission Network News, Jan. 22, 2004
  33. http://www.ecmafrica.org/36289.ihtml
  34. "Fighting Child Slavery in West Africa", Lorella Rouster, SST/GH Fall 2007, p.30-31.
  35. "Hugs open the hearts of hurting women", Mission Network News, May 19, 2004
  36. http://www.ecmafrica.org/36208.ihtml
  37. http://www.ecmafrica.org/165357.ihtml
  38. African Jewels, 2nd Quarter 2010.
  39. "126 Trokosi Slaves to Be Freed", Ghanaian Chronicle, August 17, 2005. Retrieved on 2008-09-30. 
  40. "Couple's Mission Is to Help Children in Africa", The Indianapolis Star, March 11, 2001
  41. "The Harvest Show", Jan. 25, 2007, LeSEA Broadcasting, South Bend, IN
  42. "ECM offers new resource on modern-day slavery", Mission Network News, June 12, 2007
  43. "Ministry calls for prayer on anniversary of 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation, Mission Network News, Jan. 4, 2008
  44. "Congo's homeless children building new lives", Mission Network News, Sept. 29, 2006
  45. "Soccer program helps draw street kids to the Gospel", Mission Network News, Jan.3, 2005.
  46. "Despite the war in the DRC, ministry to children is a top priority" Mission Network News, Oct. 29, 2003
  47. "Active teaching enlivens Sunday School in Congo", Mission Network News, March 16, 2004
  48. "Every Child Ministries offers hope to New Sudan", Mission Network News, Jan. 12, 2007
  49. http://www.ecmafrica.org/1000728.ihtml
  50. http://www.ecmafrica.org/165404.ihtml
  51. "Ministry works to change mindset against children in Benin", Mission Network News,June 12, 2008
  52. http://www.ecmafrica.org/270003.ihtml
  53. "Giving Children a Second Chance", Veronica Vennah Kagona,Daily Monitor, Kampala, Uganda, July 28, 2008, http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/nie/Giving_children_a_second_chance_68907.shtml
  54. "Children Devastated by War", Lorella Rouster, SST/Gospel Herald, Fall 2008, Union Gospel Press, Cleveland Ohio, p. 8-9.
  55. "Ministry team brings hope to Uganda", Mission Network News,August 20, 2008.
  56. educational assistance through child sponsorship, "Ministry headway made in Uganda's civil war", Mission Network News, December 12, 2006
  57. "Blessing for albino children in Uganda", Mission Network News, October 6, 2008.
  58. "The Way Home", 2010, Every Child Ministries
  59. Mission Handbook 2007-2009, USA & Canadian Ministries Overseas, Ed. By Linda J. Weber & Dotsey Welliver, , EMIS (Evangelical Missions Information Service), Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, 2007.
  60. "Many hands take the message of hope to Africa", Mission Network News, May 31, 2006
  61. http://www.volunteermatch.org
  62. Summer of Service 2005, "Ben Pitzen-Every Child Ministries Ghana", Northwestern College, Orange City, IA
  63. http://www.ecmafrica.org/36196.ihtml
  64. ECFA 2006 Member List, ECFA, Winchester, VA, 2006, p. 13.
  65. http://charityreports.bbb.org/public/Report.aspx?CharityID=3937&bureauID=9999
  66. http://www.mnnonline.org
  67. http://www.steerinc.com
  68. http://www.urbana.org Urbana (convention) Student Missions Conference
  69. Greater Chicago Sunday School Association, 2006 Convention Program, "Preparing God's People to Serve" and 2005 Convention Program, "Dynamically Using Our Gifts to Serve God", where Lorella Rouster of Every Child Ministries is listed as presenting several workshops. GCSSA, Elmhurst, IL
  70. http://www.incm.org

External links[edit]