Willie Samuel Foster, III is the fifth child of fifteen children born to Elder and Mother Willie Samuel Foster, II on New Year's Day in 1961. Of the fifteen children, all are saved. Of the twelve sons, seven are ordained elders and two are pastors. Being his father's namesake, 'Lil Willie' was destined to follow in his father's footsteps as a minister of the Gospel. His Father impressed upon his family the importance of serving the Lord. Willie learned about the Lord as a child through the examples set by his parents and the daily prayers and bible teachings conducted in the home by his father. Willie attended Mt. Olive COGIC from a child on up where he was taught in the Sunday school and Sunshine Band.
Elder Foster was called home to be with the Lord in 1976 leaving Willie's mother, Ceola Foster, to raise the family alone. This did not diminish her dedication to the Lord. She is a great woman of God and she continued to encourage her children to follow God's plan for their lives. One day, while yet a teen, his mother posed the question to him; "Willie, why aren't you saved?" Willie honestly didn't have an answer, but the question prompted him to ponder within himself. He then acceptedChrist as his personal Lord and Savoir the following day at Tuesday evening service, May 12, 1978.
While still a student at Ypsilanti High School, he began to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with his classmates, teachers and friends. His teachers were astonished at his enthusiasm, ambition and dedication to his faith in God. They admired him for it. In 1979, he graduated from Ypsilanti High School with academic honors and attended Huron Valley trade school to study computer circuitry and advanced electronic technology. He later attended Washtenaw Community College-Liberal Arts and Sciences where he received certification for ISO 9000 and QS 9000 Quality Systems. He is employed at Variety Manufacturing Corporation of Dexter as an Internal Quality Systems Auditor where he shares the "Good News" of Christ to many.
Elder Foster acknowledged the call by God to the ministry as a Gospel Evangelist in 1981. By 1989, he was ordained as an elder by the late Bishop Willie Leroy Harris. As time progressed so did Elder Foster's ministry. He became active in prison and jail outreach as well as ministering in convalescent homes in various locations throughout Michigan. Teaching the "Growing in Grace" class for new members, evangelizing, preaching and running revivals in various places were also an active part of his ministry. He later served as teacher of the young minister's class for training upcoming ministers. Elder Foster also served in District #11 under the leadership of the late Supt. Willie E. Sheard as District Evangelist, Christian Education Department President and as a member of the finance team.
Elder Foster discovered 'love' right in his local church, Sister Sherrie Ann Robinson (Sheryl). They were married on April 16, 1988. Sister Sheryl Foster is a great support to him and the ministry. Sister Sheryl is creative and enjoys outreach. She developed and spearheaded the Ann Arbor Gospel Festival that continued for eight years before its demise when the change in local law prevented amplified music in the park. She loves to engage women in activities that encourage and develope their Christian potential. She spearheaded the first ever women's conference at Abundant Harvest, "Everyday Living for the Christian Woman" in 2008. Sister Sheryl has a masters degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is gainfully employed in the social work field lending her gifts to help those who are most vunerable. She serves on the Praise Team. The Lord has shown great favor and blessed them with two beautiful daughters, Amber Joy and Charity Grace. Amber and Charity assist the ministry as members of the Compassion Team. Pastor Foster is the leader and teacher of Wednesday's Christian Education: Bible Study.
With both joy and sorrow in 2004, Elder Foster celebrated the beautiful Christian life of his mother who went to be with the Lord. Elder Willie S. Foster, III's ministry is a testimony and fruit of both his mother and father's saved life in Christ. He continues their legacy of praising God and leading others to Christ - to the Glory of God!
See Church History for more details.