Members of the Immanuel Praise Fellowship (IPF) global team recently returned from their second bi-annual trip to Ghana. The eight-person team was comprised of members from three Inland Empire churches including IPF Senior Pastors Kelvin and La Quetta Simmons and Bishop Philip Powell, pastor of Centre at Highland in Highland.
IPF conducted the trip in partnership with Mission Africa Inc., a Christian nonprofit founded by Dr. Kodjoe and Dr. Akosuah Sumney to develop global partners to offer humanitarian assistance to Africans.
The 12-day trip focused on humanitarian work and fellowship in several cities, towns and villages as well as visits to the Elmina Slave Castle and the W.E.B. Dubois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture.
“When La Quetta and I were newly married and long before Immanuel Praise Fellowship was founded,” said Bishop Kelvin, “I promised my wife that I would one day take her home to Africa. Now at the time I did not know that this was in fact a prophetic promise as part of God’s divine plan for a ministry that did not yet exist.”
More than a decade after the promise, the Simmons, along with eight founding families, planted Immanuel Praise Fellowship in 2008. In the fall of 2017, God sent IPF to Ghana for the first time.
At that time — in further fulfillment of God’s plan and vision for the ministry — the pastors were elevated to the offices of bishop and prophetess and appointed as spiritual overseers of a new church located in a remote village of Pamproase and a future school, the Immanuel Praise Fellowship Kingdom Builders Ghana Church. The Simmons are actively raising funds to build the church and school and vowed to return to Ghana bi-annually until God says otherwise.
During this year’s trip, the IPF team dined with Dr. Nii Adjei Kraku II, paramount chief of the Tema Metropolitan District and king of Industrial City; visited with the Counsel of Queens and attended the Mission Africa Parliament Conference Accra African Union Day where Bishop Simmons was a speaker. From the city of Accra, the team toured the Elmina Slave Castle, which was the final stop for thousands of Africans before they were herded onto slave ships during the Trans-American Slave Trade.
Following that emotionally exhausting experience, the trip organizers arranged a cleansing ceremony. Reflecting on the spiritual cleansing in the Atlantic Ocean, JoEllen Dessesseau said, “The entire time I was thinking, ‘These very waters contain the bones of my ancestors.’”
The IPF also trekked to some of Ghana’s remotest villages where the IPF team participated in a sod cutting or groundbreaking for the IPF village church and fellowshipped at a nighttime outdoor service. The following day, the team gathered with villagers for the Mission Africa Inc. Schools Soccer Match, which featured children wearing uniforms donated by IPF. IPF also contributed blood pressure screening kits and eyeglasses for the community health clinic in Gyakiti.
“Africa is my happy place,” said Pastor La Quetta Simmons. “It has been my desire to go to Africa since I was a child. But I could not have fathomed how God would use that desire and my husband’s promise. I am humbled by the work that God has called us to do.”
IPF’s 4W Vision encompasses worship, witness, wellness and wealth and includes a global fellowship component in support of building international IPF covenant churches, schools, housing and medical programs. To learn more, visit immanuelpraisefellowship.org.