LuAnn Herring is the Executive Director of Berkshire Missions, Inc., the parent organization of Africa Connect which she co-founded with her husband Bob in 2006. Bob and LuAnn have traveled to Kenya each year since their first trip in 2004, and usually stay two to three months every trip.
In her role as Field Director, LuAnn works closely with the Kenyan national staff in administration and accountability procedures and program development, and resources with other organizations, building relationships on the ground. But primarily, she is “mama” to the 60 preschool children of Graceway Academy, the core project of the mission, and the 65 Primary students who benefit from the Ian Memorial Sponsorship Fund. Her favorite pastime is walking in the slum, visiting the children's homes, and encouraging the struggling mamas and guardians. LuAnn also serves as Bible teacher, motivational speaker and worship leader, and helps to plan the itinerary for short term mission teams.
In the US, LuAnn oversees the administrative and promotional activities of Africa Connect, regularly communicating with the public through speaking engagements, newsletters and blogs, and social media.
LuAnn and Bob met in Alaska, were married in 1974, and now live in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, where Bob has operated a retail business for 44 years. They have four daughters, and many exceptional grandchildren. LuAnn's educational background is in psychology and journalism, literature and Bible, and she has received training in Graphics Arts and cross-cultural ministry. Throughout the years she has served in churches as Worship Leader, Secretary, Sunday School teacher, and Trustee.
Susan Choquette, RN, has been involved in Africa Connect since its inception She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors, Director of Ian Memorial Sponsorship Fund and Director of Medical and Health Initiatives. Sue first traveled to Kenya in 2009 to personally witness health care in the third world, and has returned nearly every year since. She has developed a team of passionate and able Kenyan medical professionals, who work alongside our Kenyan partners to provide basic health care and preventative health education, serving in clinics in remote villages basically devoid of medical care. She advises in situations where medical care is necessary for our students, and sometimes their parents, who are in need of urgent care or emergency surgeries. She relentlessly strives to work smarter and more effectively in this realm, and hopes to one day see a permanent clinic serving the local slum. In America, she assists in promotional events and presentations at local charity organizations, churches, and other venues.
Sue is a registered nurse with 45 years of experience in all aspects of long-term care, with specific expertise (20 years) in the area of infection control and infectious diseases. She served for 8 years as the HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator for the Berkshire county Sheriff's Office at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction in Pittsfield, MA. When the program was defunded by the state in 2013, she moved to the Programs and Treatments department, where she developed and facilitated an intensive substance abuse rehabilitation program for male and female inmates until her retirement in 2020.
Sue and her husband Bob were both born and raised in Tyringham, MA, and have two grown sons and two grandsons. Sue is consistently active in the life of her local church, currently serving as organist, pianist and worship bank leader, chairma of the MIssions Committee, and member of the church's medical response team.
She is a talented singer-songwriter who has released two CDs, the most recent being a collection of original contemporary Christian songs.
Bob and Mary Brinton have been friends with the Herrings since 1975 and also live in the Berkshires. Bob has been a consultant to the Board of Africa Connect since its beginnings, and in 2014 became a Director on the Board. We are very grateful for the depth of his insight, and his commitment to this vision.
Bob's wife Mary joined the Administrative team of Africa Connect in 2014, handling donor records and communication, and any other little thing that needs to get done. She is accomplished in voice, flute, and bagpipes, and in spreading joy wherever she goes.
Lillian Armstrong and her husband Jim live in Kansas City, KS, and are parents to James Armstrong, the husband of the Herring's youngest daughter, Jenelle. Jenelle and James went with a team to Kenya in late 2007, and were married in 2008. "JJ" shared lots of stories with his mom, and she dreamed of going when she retired. Her dreams came true when she traveled with the Africa Connect team in 2014, spending a month assisting with clinics and getting to know the children of the preschool, their moms in the slum, and our friends at Graceway Harvest Chapel.
She fell in love, and has been back every year since, building relationship with the multiple children she sponsors through the Ian Memorial Sponsorship Fund. She became an IMS staff member in 2015, handling correspondence between the sponsors and their children and assisting with publishing sponsor reports.
Lillian is now retired from a career as a food scientist, and loves her volunteer work for Youth for Christ and several other organizations. A special joy in life is spending as much time as possible with her five grandchildren.
Sarah Broughel, MSN RN CEN, became involved in Africa Connect in 2012 when she joined the medical team for a month long trip, serving in rural medical clinics and loving on the preschool kids. In 2015 she joined the staff of Ian Memorial Sponsorship Fund, and returned to Kenya for two weeks in 2017. The beginning of this year, 2021, she joined the AC Board of Directors.
Sarah received her associate degree in nursing from the Community College of RI, her bachelors in nursing from Colorado Christian University, masters in nursing education from Sacred Heart University and is certified in Emergency Nursing. She is working as an ER Staff Nurse at BayState Medical Center, Springfield, MA and is an Assistant Professor of nursing at Berkshire Community College.
Evans Sabwami is senior pastor of Master's Vineyard Church in Westchester, New York. He has served as an Advisor for Berkshire Missions, Inc. since its beginnings, and served as a Director on the Board in 2007-2009 and again in 2014-2015. He is also a Trustee of Africa Connect-Kenya Foundation, a registered Society in Kenya associated with Africa Connect's work in that nation. His seasoned friendship, maturity, and the wisdom and insight he brings as a native from the Rift Valley of Kenya has made him a valuable team member.
Evans left a career in Engineering to attend Bungoma Bible School, Bungoma, Kenya. He was ordained a minister in 1993. Two years later he became Assistant Director of that School, and Associate Pastor at Word of Life Church, where he became instructor to some of the men that Africa Connect now calls partners. In 1998, he received a certificate in Christian Counseling from Kingdom Faith Bible College, Horsham, Sussex UK, and also attended Morning Star School of Ministry in Charlotte, NC for one year. In 2000, he joined Master's Vineyard Church in Westchester, New York, where he served as Worship Pastor and Associate Pastor, and in 2011 became the senior Pastor.
In addition to Pastoral work, Evans is the Assistant Director of Mothers On A Mission International, a non-profit organization with a vision of rescuing street children in Bungoma, Kenya. He worked with Samaritan's Purse in their Operation Christmas Child program as the Lower Hudson Valley Area Coordinator between 2006 and 2010.