Joanne Chinkers is a certified Special Education teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. In 2010, she accepted a challenge to spend a year in the interior region of Nigeria with the stated goal of improving the level of education in one of the first Christian schools built in that area. Through teacher training, coaching in the classroom, and direct contact with students, she saw dramatic changes in both teachers and students.
In a follow up visit in 2012, she realized that her call to Nigeria was neither temporary nor short- term. After seeking God for direction and provision, she joined FIRE International as a full-time missionary in 2013.
Nigeria is a country torn by the reign of terror inflicted by the ISIS-affiliated group Boko Haram, and suffering the effects of uneducated, under-educated, and impoverished masses. Through training teachers and putting reading and math programs in place, Joanne is seeing dramatic improvements in both teacher and student performance. Currently, she is working with Word of Life Academy in Kwara State. Children who once graduated elementary school barely reading or speaking English, the official language of their country, are understanding, speaking, and reading the language necessary to attend institutions of higher education. They are the hope of their nation, able to read and understand God's Word for themselves. In a country torn by ethnic and religious differences, Joanne has the unique opportunity to minister to children of all backgrounds through the education they both need and desire.
Along with the school, Joanne has taken on three young people from the village she started in, all living in dire circumstances. She had been sponsoring all three since 2010, and in 2014 felt led to bring them out of that place to better oversee their care. Jeremiah, the oldest, has graduated from high school and is a student at FIRE Bible Institute in Cameroon. Ezekiel is 13 and is in 5th grade. Blessing, nine, is in third grade and blossoming in every way. Joanne appreciates your prayers and all gifts that assist her in caring for "her" kids and continuing to bring the elevation that comes from education to the children of Nigeria!