I, Josh, am a pastor’s kid who grew up in ministry and said I would never go into full-time ministry… obviously, God had different plans. I ended up at Trinity Baptist College (Jacksonville, FL) after I got recruited to play soccer. During my freshmen year I felt like God had specifically gifted me to be in full-time ministry I just didn’t know where. I jumped into student ministry at Trinity Baptist Church and other leadership roles at the college. I had so many great mentors in my life during this season. Eventually I felt like God was calling me to be a part of Church Planting. This is around the time I met JJ Alderman, our founder. He painted the picture of what we are doing in Togo and Benin. He asked if I wanted to plant one church or be a part of planting hundreds of churches areas that have none. The rest is history. I met my beautiful wife thanks to 6°. Ashley grew up in Cincinnati, OH. We got married in October 2021 and it sure is a blast getting to do this life and ministry together.
In a country that almost half the population is under the age of 18, Togo has a very young population. Young Togolese are more open to discussions of faith and the gospel than past generations. Togo has developing, urban areas that are perfect church plant locations that I will be helping to establish through local leadership.
Togo is the birthplace of witchcraft and 90% of the local people in my coastal region practice some form of Voodoo. It has a dark history of global slave trading and is still gripped by Satan's bondage. Togo is the one of the poorest countries in the world.
We partner with a team in Togo called the 6 Degree Initiative in an effort to bring The Light to this dark area. We work with the team as church planting coaches. We build relationships with the local people, share the gospel and disciple and train future Togolese pastors. We are a part of all church planting operations, such as selecting specific demographic areas that are prime locations of urban development to influence as many Togolese as possible in that area. We also be working closely with all current church plant leaders and pastors in an effort to align our ministry and reach the most people possible with the gospel.
Why are you working with 6DI?
Josh: I am working with 6° Initiative because of the incredible opportunity of leaving a lasting Kingdom impact. I asked God if He would allow me to be a part of at least one Gospel Movement in my lifetime and I believe He is graciously answering the prayer. At the end of the day, I know that God created me to influence movement. Both at a corporate and individual level. I am confident that I am exactly where God wants me to be and doing what He created for me to do.
Ashley: I was called to missions in high school. I attended Trinity Baptist College, where I met JJ and Melissa Alderman. In 2009, I spent 3 weeks in Togo with them, learning about missions, Togo, and seeing the very beginning of the ministry, with the church meeting in their front yard. I taught elementary school for 4 years and then came back. I was blown away by the growth of the church, and touched by the children coming from different religious backgrounds. I saw the need and the hope for the future church in Togo, and how God had equipped me to be a part. In 2017 I moved to Togo and have loved working with kids and developing young leaders to work with them.