At a time in life when they assumed they would be retiring from work, enjoying their grown children and playing with their own grandchildren, Joe and Wanda Kord* have moved across the world and rolled up their sleeves to serve other families. The couple from

HiWay Baptist Church, Mesa, left careers they loved, an involved family, a home they had prepared for retirement and even their beloved dog to go on the mission field.

“Our newest grandson was born in March,” Joe says, “and it’s a bit surreal to think he may be three years old before we ever have the blessing of holding him for the first time.”

The Kords serve with the International Mission Board in West Africa as full- time volunteer missionaries with a three-year initial commitment. Wanda manages a guest house where missionaries find respite between flights, volunteer teams lodge and missionaries from the bush stay while in the city. Joe takes care of the partially Cooperative Program funded facilities, providing maintenance, construction and improvements as needed.

While the Kords make a point of interacting with their West African neighbors and sharing Jesus with them, they mostly serve those who serve. They provide babysitting for the missionary families, take them out to dinner and help them in their ministries. And the more they interact with the IMB career missionaries and even short-term volunteers, the more they attest to the Cooperative Program’s impact in West Africa.

“When you give to the CP,” says Joe, “you make it possible for us to make life a little easier for the missionary community here … in a country reported to be the ‘least livable country in the world.’ Together, we can make it a little more livable for those who are reaching out to the 658 unreached people groups in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Joe and Wanda Kord are the CP.