LuAnn Herring is the Vice President and 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 about three months every trip.
In Kenya, LuAnn works closely with the 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, of which LuAnn is Field Director. 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, and in 2017 became President of the Board as well Domestic Director of Ian Memorial Sponsorship Fund. Sue also serves as 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 join her to 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. Sue relentessly strives to work smarter and more effectively in this realm, and she 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 private homes.
Sue is a registered nurse who has worked in the area of infection control and infectious diseases in Berkshire County, MA for the past 34 years, and has diverse experience in all aspects of long term care. Since 2005 she has been working for the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction in Pittsfield, MA, initially as the HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator and infectious disease nurse. In 2013 she moved to the Programs and Treatments department, where she developed and facilitated a substance abuse rehabilitation program for male and female inmates.
Sue and her husband Bob were both born and raised in Tyringham, MA, and have two grown sons and two grandsons. Sue has consistently been active in the life of her local church, serving as Sunday school teacher and superintendent, director of Vacation Bible School, Mission Board chairman, organist and Director of Music Ministry, and more.
She is a talented singer-songwriter who has released two CDs, one 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 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.
Dan Kehoe has served on the Board of Directors of Africa Connect since 2015, but he and his wife Robin have been involved with the organization since 2007. They have nine children and currently reside in Wilmington, VT, where Dan serves on the finance committee and as an Elder of the Valley Town Church. Dan also leads a small group, called a "Missional Community" which lovingly serves the local community in practical ways. Robin leads and teaches a women's group, and homeschools the youngest of their children. Their warmth and hospitality is well known to many, and their passion to serve others is inspiring.
Dan Graduated from Marist College with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in finance, and has experience in Marketing and Sales and running his own retail business, but his passion has always been missions. Dan was involved in medical missions in 2003 in India, and Robin spent part of her childhood as a missionary kid in Nigeria. Their desire is to operate as missionaries wherever they are, with a focus on discipleship. In 2017 Dan traveled to Kenya for the first time with two of his teen sons, and was very effective on the field.
Sarah Kinnaman, BSN RN CEN, got 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.
Sarah received her associate degree from the Community College of RI, her bachelors from Colorado Christian University, and is certified in Emergency Nursing. She is now working as an ER Staff Nurse at BayState Medical Center, Springfield, MA.
Lillian Armstrong and her husband Jim live in Albert Lea, MN, 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 a staff member of that Fund 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.
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.
Ian and Bretta have been an important part of the Africa Connect team since 2010, when Ian traveled with the team to Kenya for three months, and then served on the Board of Directors in 2013-2014. Bretta served as Finance Manager from 2012 to 2014; after moving to North Carolina in 2015 they are now assisting with Public Relations for Africa Connect.
This young couple has always desired to serve the Lord, and have had a passion for missions in Africa, particularly with children.