Baptist International Missions, Inc.

Jim & Emi Civale

Serving in Samoa, Southeast Asia


Jim moved from New Jersey in the United States to the Samoan Islands in 1989 as a final step before entering the seminary to join the Jesuit priesthood. That year he met Emi who was working with the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and was about to join the convent. In 1990, they abandoned their plans to become a priest and nun and were married instead. For the next six years Jim and Emi remained devout Roman Catholics, attending daily mass and having their four children baptized as infants. In 1996, Jim received Christ as Savior. Six months later Emi was saved. At that time they left the Catholic church and joined Grace Baptist Church in American Samoa.

Shortly after Jim and Emi were saved, baptized, and added to Grace Baptist Church, the missionary pastor of the church returned to the United States and the Lord led Jim to restart the church in his living room, renaming it Vai o le Ola (Water of Life) Baptist Church. From 1998 to 2009 the church grew from 12 to more than 70 members with their own building on their own land.

In November 2009, Jim and Emi moved westward in their island chain from the island of Tutuila in the U.S. territory of American Samoa to the island of Savaii in the independent country of Samoa. Asau Baptist Church opened its doors in February 2010, beginning with less than 10 members and growing to over two hundred saved, baptized, and added.

ABC Academy, a preschool and primary school ministry of Asau Baptist Church, opened its doors in February 2011 with six students. It now enrolls more than one hundred.

Jim and Emi have also invested much time and energy on the Samoan Bible Project, which has allowed the Samoan people to receive the entire Word of God freely in their own language. The project is ongoing and entails village-to-village and house-to-house distributions, with the commitment made to reach every village and home in the Samoan Islands.

Finally, Jim and Emi have a group of about 30 people desiring to launch a third church plant. They are waiting on God to move the hearts of village chiefs to allow a church in their village.

In 2021 Jim and Emi returned to the United States as Emi goes through her naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen. Due to their extended stay in the United States, their status has changed from full-time church planting missionaries to Assistance and Relief Missionaries (ARM). Currently, they reside in New Jersey and provide assistance to their church plants remotely through ongoing consultations and training sessions with a national pastor, a national pastor-in-training, and the administration and staff of the school. They are also working on a long list of translation projects for training and ministry purposes.

Contact Information
Jim and Emi Civale
4 Olszak Court
Hamilton, NJ 08691
E-Mail (View Email Address)
(609) 456-9685


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