Child Evangelism

About Child Evangelism Ministries

CEM is a non-denominational, nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization. CEM ministers to children locally in Elkhart and LaGrange counties and also in Togo, West Africa.

Our Mission

Reaching boys and girls for Jesus is the heart of what we do. We bring God’s Word to children, teaching them about who Jesus is and what He did for them, for you, me and the entire world. We tell them about God’s love for them and His desire for them to come to the saving knowledge of Christ in their own lives. We teach songs and Bible memory verses that enhance the message of salvation as well as learning how to make choices that are pleasing to the Lord. Our mission is to see children realize their need of Jesus to save them from their sins, to ask forgiveness and receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.



Board Members

The Board Members of CEM give their time, talent, love for Jesus and kids to oversee the ministry in various ways. Each board member brings a unique perspective to the table. They pray for the activities, clubs, volunteers, staff and children of CEM. They make prayerful decisions on the needs of CEM both here and in Togo, West Africa. The CEM Board gives their time by filling in when needed and tending to the needs of the building or any other things that come up. Many of our board members are involved in active ministry through Happy Day Club and Vacation Bible School or have been in the past, truly they have experienced and understand our mission field of reaching boys and girls for Jesus!



Hi. I’m Kristina, the director here at CEM. I’ve been the ministry assistant since 2008 and accepted the position of director last year. My duties and responsibilities will be different but the call of reaching boys and girls for Jesus will still be the same.
I think I understood my call to children’s ministry most clearly when I received a message from a woman who told me she prayed for me when I was a child. It was then that I fully understood the importance of Christians in the lives of children, especially children who are not being raised in Christian homes or attending church. Even though I was prayed for as a child by someone whom I didn’t remember, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home or grow up going to church. It wasn’t until I was an adult and a mother myself that I would come to know the Lord as my Savior. I have one grown daughter, Alex, who lives in Indianapolis and serves as a campus director for Youth for Christ. I am also a foster parent, primarily to teens. Children have always been important to me, and I count it a sincere joy and blessing to be such an active part of Child Evangelism Ministries.

Amy Byrd

Ministry Assistant

Amy comes from 25+ years of customer service. She lives in Elkhart and attends Northside Baptist Church where she is involved in the nursery, AWANA and teaching the 4 & 5 year olds. She has 2 children, 3 grandchildren and another on the way. She enjoys spending time with her husband, talking and Face-Timing her kids and grandchildren. She also enjoys attending Little League baseball games to cheer on her best friend’s kids.



I have been married and lived in the Nappanee/Goshen area for 47 years with my husband, Rick.

I have worked the last 30 years as Office Manager handling the bookkeeping, payroll, and financial responsibilities.
Also, during the last 35 years have been a volunteer for the Nappanee Apple Festival, American Red Cross, Nappanee Noon Kiwanis, Nappanee Chamber of Commerce, and the Nappanee Quilt Garden committee. I am an active member and officer in the Eta Zeta Chapter of Psi Iota Xi National Sorority and active member of the Nappanee Noon Kiwanis Club where I have served as treasurer since 2007

Rick and I are proud parents of 3 grown children. Our oldest, Tami Wilson is a nurse and is married to James Wilson who is a Youth Pastor in Lincoln, NE. They have given us 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. We very much enjoy visiting them in Lincoln and attending as many of their sporting events as possible. Our son Shawn is a Director of Financial Planning in Goshen, and his wife Lori is an 8th grade English teacher. They have 2 sons which we follow playing football and baseball. Our youngest daughter is Brea, she is photography/graphic designer. Brea spent 10 years as a global worker.

I enjoy being a Zoo Sunday School Teacher at Nappanee Missionary Church. Our age group is 1 to 2-1/2-year-olds. I also sing in our choir. Through my time at church, I have had the privilege of going on several mission’s trip to Honduras, Puerta Rico, and Russia. This has given me a different perspective on how church is done in other countries and the opportunity to help others in need through work projects.

My husband and I enjoy going to NorthWood sporting events, IU basketball games and Chicago Cubs baseball games. We live in the country and have lots of dogs. My husband is a National Sales Manager. He loves to run beagles in Field Trails on the weekends.

I am thankful for this opportunity to work for CEM doing their bookkeeping and look forward to what God has for me in this phase of my life.


Assistant Bookkeeper

Fran came to CEM in 2013 to be our bookkeeper. She has been such an asset to this ministry with her knowledge and dedication to her work. She shares “It is a real privilege to be able to serve at Child Evangelism Ministries. My husband, Bill and I have been interested in CEM for a number of years.” Fran served at Northside Baptist Church for many years. She and Bill have worked in Awana, Sunday School, and Music ministries there. Bill went home to be with the Lord in December of 2017. Fran served as the treasurer of the church for quite a few years and recently retired as the organist. Bill and Fran have three children, Kathy Spaugh of Elkhart, Jeffrey Craig of Angola and Tom Craig of Goshen. God has blessed them with nine grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Fran says, “I really appreciate serving the Lord as Bookkeeper at CEM and working with such a wonderful staff and Board of Directors.”

John Parsons


Being the son of missionaries, I had the privilege of growing up in the countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast, West Africa. All together I have lived and served in West Africa for close to 20 years.

My time with CEM began in 2009. I have served with CEM primarily as a consultant to the ministry of CEM in Togo West Africa. In 2019 I became the “ambassador” for CEM to Togo. I now oversee the ministry of CEM Togo.

My responsibility is to work with our team in Togo, to move the ministry forward, and to handle any issues that might arise.

I have been married to my wife Liz for 30 years. God has given us 2 wonderful daughters.

John Randolph

Vice Chairman

John Randolph has pastored People’s Bible Church in Goshen/Benton since 1991. He has coached basketball and his wife, Jennifer has coached homeschool volleyball for around 20 years. John has taught Happy Day Clubs for around 20 years, with the help of his wife, their 5 children and about 35 people from their church, as well as many other wonderful volunteers from gospel-preaching churches. He started teaching HDC’s at the Goshen schools of Waterford and also added Prairie View, when it was built. John was on CEM’s advisory board and then later joined the regular board. He went with John Parsons to visit our CEM/HDC national missionaries at Togo, West Africa in 2010.

Jill Leiter

Board Member, secretary

My name is Jill Leiter and I have been involved with CEM for about 10 years. I started as a 5-day club hostess and then transitioned into a Happy Day Club teacher at Pinewood Elementary. I have had a passion for Children’s Ministry my whole life and feel the great commission’s calling for me specifically is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with children. The Lord continuously prepares and grows us in the works for which He has called us and looking back this is very evident in my own life. As a teen I worked at a local camp as a junior counselor, I also competed in Children’s Bible story telling through the Word of Life program. Additionally, I helped my mom with her Jr. Church class on a regular basis. As an adult I have realized the tremendous gift I had being taught from the Bible my whole life and desire to offer the same opportunity to children in my community. There is no substitute for a relationship with Jesus Christ and the wisdom He offers from His word. This world needs to be introduced to the maker and keeper of their soul, who better to make those introductions than us! It is my pleasure to serve on the CEM board and continue the work of this vital ministry in our community.

Matt and Gretchen McCavitt

Gretchen - Board Member and Treasurer, Matt Board Member

We have been a part of Child Evangelism Ministries for the past 15 years.   Gretchen started as a helper at Mary Feeser Elementary School and then as a Summer Missionary.  Next, she joined the CEM Board, where she still serves and over the years, she has held the title of Secretary and recently filled in as Interim Treasurer.

For many years, Matt has enjoyed pulling the Happy Day Express in the 4-H Fair Parade.  He is also a member of the CEM Board and has helped with mowing and other building maintenance & computer issues.

Matt & Gretchen have been happily married for 16 years and have three children – Ashley, Joshua & Anna.

All 3 of their children have attended Happy Day Clubs and Ashley was a Summer Missionary in 2016.


Board Member

Having just joined CEM, I feel honored to serve alongside those who are reaching the little ones for Christ. I have been involved with youth group at Nappanee Missionary Church and enjoy volunteering time with youth sports organizations such as soccer and cross country.
CEM’s efforts have never been more needed as the World fights for our kids’ attention. The investment of time, finances, and prayer for CEM from many of God’s people is simply amazing.
I have been married to my wife Danielle for 24 years, with 3 daughters, 2 of which have been on international missionary trips.

Declaration of Faith

The eternal Godhead exists in three persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, truly God and truly man.

Because of sin, no human can enter the kingdom of God until he is born again of the Holy Spirit.

Whoever believes in Him and in faith accepts His sacrificial death receives a new, spiritual nature and eternal life and standing as a child of God.

Those who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation do, at death, pass immediately into His presence.

We believe in the personal, bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church, the true body of believers.

We believe in the Holy Scriptures as the verbally inspired Word of God.

Mankind was created in God’s image, but lost sinless innocence through the sin of the first man, Adam.

Jesus Christ died as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

Christ rose again in the same body that had been crucified and bodily ascended to Heaven.

The souls of deceased unbelievers, the lost, pass into eternal punishment and misery.

It is the mission of the people of God to preach the Gospel throughout the world.
We place special emphasis in evangelizing children.