“How did I end up in the Ivory Coast? Honestly, by God’s grace.”
For over ten years, Deacon Dain Scherber, LC, originally from Minnesota, had been feeling drawn to the mission of supporting the Regnum Christi family in Africa, through his vocation to the Legionary priesthood. A newly professed religious at the time, Deacon Dain offered to go and serve in the Ivory Coast where Regnum Christi had recently been founded. But when nothing became of his offer, Deacon Dain figured God had a different direction in mind for his apostolic life, and let the idea of serving in Africa go.
Eight years later, however, in 2017, another Legionary priest, Father Alejandro Páez, LC, went on a mission trip to the Ivory Coast, and when he came back, spoke to Deacon Dain about contributing to the mission in Africa. Within a year, Deacon Dain was fulfilling the call he had felt nearly a decade ago, to live with and serve his Regnum Christi family in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.
In and around Abidjan, Deacon Dain spends much of his time acting as a liaison between the local government, the Regnum Christi section, and the consecrated branches in the locality. He creates opportunities for spiritual formation and accompaniment, usually spending mornings visiting with ecclesial leaders and providing one-on-one spiritual direction and formation. Lunch is usually spent with a local family, and then the rest of the day is occupied with activities at the Regnum Christi center, like Mass and adoration, or formative activities for youth and adults. For Deacon Dain, it’s always an adventure; for example, every once in a while, the team makes a trip to visit Regnum Christi members in the surrounding villages or organizes a mission trip into the bush.
Deacon Dain lives in the Cocody quarter in Abidjan, a city that serves as the main economic and urban center of the Ivory Coast. The area is fertile and green, full of fruit trees, and the city is vibrant yet still developing, which creates some challenges to Deacon Dain’s apostolic work. Money is always short for the people he serves, and very few people have access to reliable transportation and phone service. It’s also nearly impossible to have items – particularly books and other formative materials – shipped to Abidjan.
For Deacon Dain, the key to ministering to the Regnum Christi members of the Ivory Coast is to meet them where they are, in their own culture, and to accompany them as he is, weaknesses and all. “I would say that one of the greatest advantages is the fact that I am not perfect in French, so that kind of tears down that guard that people have,” says Deacon Dain. “A missionary should let himself be guided by those around him. God uses my weakness and limitations – whether it’s material or intellectual or cultural, or even when it’s spiritual – and he does great things through them.”
However, despite the linguistic, cultural, and material differences and limitations that are unique to serving in the Ivory Coast, Deacon Dain asserts that his mission is not unique at all – it is, in the fact, the same mission that every Regnum Christi member, and every Legionary priest, shares. “My goal is to help people experience Christ and to help them to share that experience. I do nothing different than any other Legionary would do in any other city. I go to the city and I ‘do Regnum Christi’ there, in that culture.”
Today, the Regnum Christi family in the Ivory Coast is made up of over 40 members and 20 ECYD members. There is a school run by the Regnum Christi members that Deacon Dain hopes will eventually officially become a part of the Regnum Christi network of Catholic schools, and a formation center that the team is anticipating will one day becomes a university. The section runs a variety of formation programs for youth, adults, couples, and families, and hosts a leadership program for young adults every summer. Deacon Dain wants the Regnum Christi members around the globe to know that they have RC family members in the Ivory Coast who are praying alongside them. “You have a family here that loves you and feels connected to you, who have literally given up their livelihood and their homes to make Regnum Christi grow here. Sometimes they’ve risked everything, sacrifices that we couldn’t even imagine, to be faithful to their vocation – it’s a vibrant community that’s given up so much, but that’s experiencing Christ, and then sharing that experiencing within their own culture.”
And while Deacon Dain has always had a particular call to the mission in Africa, he’s happy with wherever God leads him. “I don’t know where God will lead me next – the only thing I know is that it’s closer to his heart, and that’s enough for me.”
Most recently, Deacon Dain has published a new book called The One Thing Necessary: A Journey with Paul’s Pen, which explores St. Paul’s healing message of peace and interior freedom so needed in today’s world. This is the third book that Deacon Dain has published in the last five years, following God’s Poetic Path: Our Journey Home to His Embrace, a book of love poems to Jesus that he wrote during adoration, and The Primordial Father Wound: And the Glorious Freedom of the Children of God, which is a journey of discovering and experiencing God’s love and our identity within it. All three books are available on Amazon.
If you’d like more information about the Regnum Christi family and mission in the Ivory Coast, you can contact Deacon Dain at firstname.lastname@example.org. To support Deacon Dain’s mission in Africa, you can donate at rcformation.org – where it asks for purpose of the donation, specify “Ivory Coast.”