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Rob & Karin Lavoie

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Raised in a Roman Catholic home, Rob had no shortage of aunts and uncles on both sides of his extended family, some of which were missionaries to indigenous Canadians. This background significantly influenced his attitude towards missions making this a consideration for the future. Rob graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1981 and began working with Shell Canada in Calgary. Over these years of employment as a petroleum engineer, he continued to take an interest in missions activities and supported missionaries. Rob met his wife (Karin) in 1990 and was married in 1991. Rob and Karin traveled to Mali, West Africa in 1992 to work on a water conservation project with Gospel Missionary Union. He then served as the chairman of Intertech Ministries from 1992 to 1999. In December of 1999 Rob met Wayne Johnson who at the time was the director of Opportunity International Canada (OI). Wayne and Rob collaborated on modern methods of measuring OI’s impact with their international clients.

In 2009, Rob partnered with Wayne Johnson to found AirTerra Inc. – a company that integrates the use of clean-burning high-efficiency cooking stoves with the production of a charcoal by-product called “biochar” for people who use wood as a cooking fuel.

Since that time, Rob has worked with the African Christians Organization Network (ACON) in Kenya on these and other related concepts. The Lord has blessed this work and Rob believes God is now calling him to take the step of becoming an associate of Action International towards eventual full time work as a missionary. Training in agricultural sustainability and permaculture methods will be a key component of this evolving vision. Rob’s current initiatives include:
  1. Training rural Africans to build clean, efficient, biochar-generating cooking stoves
  2. Encouraging the use of “Farming God’s Way” methods in African countries to improve agricultural productivity, soil conservation and drought resistance
  3. Partnering with another Action International Canada missionary (Martin Scholz) to bring the concept of Permaculture to rural Africans and Canadians
  4. Working with rural African pastors in leadership and ministry development

Rob and Karin have two boys (Alex, 21 and David, 19) in university. Karin has held various positions as a professional librarian and is currently the library and research assistant at the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary. She recently completed the MA in Spiritual Formation from Carey Theological Seminary (Vancouver BC).