Mike & Betty Morris

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February 2013

“From Home to 125 Countries”

To children he is the “soccer ball man.” To adults he is the president of Childrens Evangelistic Ministries, Inc. To his family he is husband, father, and provider. No matter which hat he is wearing, Mike Morris of CEMI sees himself as a child of God whose mission is to introduce others to his best friend and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mike did not know much about organized religion and even less about a personal relationship with Jesus until the age of thirty-three. That was the year a pastor in his home area of Nevada, MO, introduced him to God and to the young woman who would soon become his wife. For Mike, this would be a pivotal moment in his life, changing all his goals, desires, and even his personality forever.

Within two months of his salvation experience Mike began attending a local chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc.®, a ministry to children and children’s workers. Because he wasted so many years of his life in the 1960s hippy and drug culture, he knows firsthand the importance of reaching children with the saving message of God’s love for them, Jesus death on the cross for their sin, and the abundant new life they can have when they receive the Lord Jesus as their Savior before they are trapped in Satan’s clutches. When Mike and Betty married four months after they met, they became active in working with CEF. Betty was already a member of the local committee and Mike now became their committee chairman. As time passed, he was hired as Nevada District Chapter director. Mike’s favorite part of the work was going to fairs and festivals, setting up the Wordless Book story tent and sharing the gospel message with children of all ages from three to eighty-three and above.

Fast-forward a few years to more changes in Mike’s world. Heredity plays many parts in our lives and for Mike high cholesterol and heart problems tried to slow him down. By-pass surgery at the age of forty-three and two heart attacks following that caused him to reflect on where God wanted his ministry to go now. As he lay in a hospital bed looking out the window, he saw a television tower and felt impressed that God was asking him, “Don’t you think it’s about time to get on with the film project?” Mike had been thinking for some time that an evangelistic film for children with the story plot based on a soccer team and a soccer ball of many colors (wordless book colors) should be developed for secular children’s television audiences. After much discussion and prayer Mike and Betty made their first trip to the annual International Christian Visual Media conference. The last day of the conference they said “yes” to God and took a giant leap of faith. When they arrived home, they told their committee that Mike would be resigning CEF at the end of the year.

In January 2004, Childrens Evangelistic Films International, Inc. was formed. They also found a supplier who could manufacture the Energia© soccer ball of many colors. This began the journey that brought Mike the name of “soccer ball man.” During the next five years the ministry has undergone a name change to Childrens Evangelistic Ministries, Inc., and the development of many more products that are used as tools to share the message of salvation around the world.

Missionaries and children’s workers in over 125 countries now use the soccer balls, tens of thousands of soccer ball tracts, basketballs, volleyballs, key chains, hackey sacks, wristbands, and handmade bracelets to tell people about a loving God who wants to forgive their sins and make them a part of His family.

As the Lord opens doors the ministry of CEMI assists churches, mission agencies, and the precious saints to share the “Good News” with their witnessing items. Mike and Betty’s greatest joy is hearing from friends in the ministry sharing about children coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.