Back in 1974, Ken and Rosemary were challenged to Missions. Life was going pretty good for them. Ken had a successful construction business. Things seemed like they were set, normal and routine down in the South of Alabama. They had two little girls, both healthy and beautiful. They were involved in church and activities in the community. They both had family, loved ones they wouldn't want to leave behind. Yet, when God stirred their hearts, they obeyed.
Most missionaries back then sold everything and took off with just a few suitcases. Not a lot of fanfare, just a willing heart to serve. Most didn't know what they were getting into...just wanted to be available. Ken and Rose spend 3 years in Senegal, W. Africa. They endured the red dust, and hot temperatures. The people of Africa began to melt their hearts.
Then in 1983, Ken began to hear about an opportunity to serve in Liberia, a newly opened field. The Welches volunteered to move to Liberia and begin the taunting work of setting up a Mission base. Over the years (1983-1989), they were joined by many others, who in turn began to target different language groups in order to learn their language and eventually share with them the hope of the Gospel.
Then the war broke out in Liberia...1990 was a life changing year for so many. Devastating for the Liberians, and heart-wrenching for missionaries who were uprooted and moved away from the country that they had grown to love. Ken and Rosemary moved to Ivory Coast in hopes of entering Liberia once the war was over. There were many times when Ken along with a co-worker would try to bring help and relief to the Liberians in Maryland county. At one point Ken was taken hostage for 3 days by the rebels who had mistaken him for CIA. Those were hard years. Ken and Rosemary eventually returned to Alabama. The war was long and the future of missionaries in Liberia so uncertain.
The Welches might have been physically apart from Liberia, but their hearts were not. Ken made frequent trips into Liberia and kept in close contact with many of his Liberian friends. During those years, NTM closed the field of Liberia to missionaries and it seemed the dream of returning was gone. Then in 2010, Ken returned to Liberia with his son in law, Dave Nielsen. That trip sparked a fire that never had died in Ken's heart....a love for Liberia, and it's people. A dream of new beginnings began to take place. It seemed like God was opening doors very fast for the re-opening of a work in Liberia! What the Welches thought impossible, God made a possible way...and Equip2serve was born. In their early seventies, Ken & Rose are seeing God answer years of prayer and open the doors for more ministry in Liberia.
We are very grateful for Ken and Rosemary's faithful endurance in the race that God had set before them! We know that they simply took God's Word to heart and obeyed His leading. That faithful walk is a testimony to the rest of us on the Equip2serve team!