By Jennifer Johnson
Dave Moore didn’t even want to visit Africa. Today he’s the founder and president of Africa Fire Mission.
“When our church, LifeSpring Christian in Cincinnati, offered a mission trip to Kenya in 2012, my wife, Nancy, asked me to go with her,” says Moore, who at that time served as the fire chief of a wealthy suburb.
“The trip would include working with Missions of Hope International (MOHI), part of Christian Missionary Fellowship’s ministry in the Mathare Valley. I wasn’t excited about it, but I went, and I realized how much the people there needed fire safety information and basic tools. It’s devastating to lose a home to fire there—no insurance companies are going to help you rebuild, and communities have limited resources.”
After his return home, Moore continued to think about the issues he’d observed in Kenya and the possibility that offering training and equipment could be a powerful way to connect MOHI to its community.
“I was ‘up and coming’ in my career, but I knew it was time to make some changes in my life,” he says. “A later trip to Ethiopia just reinforced it; I decided to step away from my job with the fire department in Cincinnati and start a nonprofit.” In March 2013 he resigned his position and launched Africa Fire Mission.
The organization offers several opportunities for involvement. Moore works with fire departments around the country to collect donations of protective equipment and other gear, which in this country must be retired after 10 years of use.
“Most of it is still perfectly good,” Moore says, “and fire stations are thrilled to repurpose it to help others.” In August 2013 he was able to give a shipment to the Nairobi Fire Department in a ceremony attended by the governor.
Moore and his team also provide basic fire safety training and educate locals on strategies for protecting themselves and their communities. This June a team led training in Addis Ababa, and later this year they’ll return to Nairobi as well as deliver donated items to Zambia.
“On our last trip to Kenya, the firefighters and senior government officials asked to gather and pray for each other,” Moore says. “Sometimes we think if it’s not direct evangelism, the work isn’t as important. But when people are not concerned about survival or disaster, they’re more receptive to the message of the gospel. This is part of holistic ministry.”