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The Good Samaritans of London - Meet Roy Wallace
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Panafric International Academy (PIA) is an Ethiopian ministry based in London, Ontario. PIA and its’ director/founder, Mesfin Atlaye, seek to break the cycle of violence and poverty suffered by Ethiopians for decades through the love of Christ, the love of volunteers, and education. It is s ministry that strives to be sustainable beyond simple relief work. Missions like PIA cannot exist without missionaries, donors, and volunteers. One London man who is all three is Roy Wallace.

Wallace’s journey to supporting PIA started a long time ago. His first experience with the gospel of Jesus was through a Brethren mission that met in the winter months in the one room school he attended in North Bay, Ontario. He memorized John 3:16 as he was instructed, but as Roy says, it took a while to take root.

“When I was 16 I was working at a lumber camp, and the girl I was going with (Frances) came to Christ at Youth For Christ in Toronto,” says Wallace. “She was my future wife, but she told me, ‘I love you, but I love Jesus more.’ I came to Christ at a cottage meeting.”

He and Frances, attended a mission’s conference at People’s Church where they learned of the African missions emphasis of Toronto Bible College. After graduation and their wedding they began their missionary work with Sudan Interior Mission, now known as Serving In Mission.

“We were assigned to Ethiopia, and stayed there for five and a half years teaching school before coming home,” says Wallace. “For two years we were probationary missionaries, then three years junior missionaries, then were able to come home and take our language course.” Wait, what? They taught school for five and a half years without knowing the language? “Well, we did the best we could,” laughs Wallace.

The couple returned to Ethiopia in 1956 and didn’t leave until 1973. Two of the couples’ children were born in Ontario, and four in Ethiopia. When they arrived, the school had 65 students and by the time they left it had grown to 160. They returned to Ontario, London specifically, for their daughters’ brain surgery. They knew only one person in London.

“We arrived in London and I applied for a teaching position here in August and was hired in September. That never happens. It was God’s faithfulness that provided the position.”

Though he retired from school teaching in 1988 Wallace has not significantly slowed down and began his relationship with PIA in 2008. When he met Dr. Atlaye and greeted him in the Ethiopian language a friendship was instantly borne.

“God is not done with any of us,” says Wallace. “With God, we don’t get retired, we get retreaded.”

Panafric International Academy is in need of prayer and financial support, and teachers of English, music, and sports. You can get more information about PIA at www.panafric.orga, or get in touch with the heart of PIA at www.panafric.org/contact.