Coast of Kenya
"And the seas will roar
at the sound of Your Name."
"Bwana asifiwe" (The Lord be praised), and the people said, "Amen." So began
each session of discipleship training for the 200 urban and rural pastors
along the coast of Kenya.
This conference was organized in Kenya by our
partners Alfred Mtawali, Bishop Amos Lewa, and the Kilifi Fellowship of
Some church leaders traveled all the way from Nairobi to participate, and others
came from every
part of the coastal region. It was a joy to work alongside these Kilifi church leaders to strengthen workers in the great
African plains of harvest.
One of our colleagues expressed to us that the
church would never be the same. The church leaders now have: study Bibles;
training in expositional preaching (led by Dr.
Richard Barany); theological Discipleship materials and training in starting Bible studies (Tammie, Julius, Joe, Christina, Alfred, Pastor
Lewa and other pastors); how to teach the Bible to children of
different ages, and how to
start Sunday Schools (Christina and Gina); information about church
planting, the state of the global church, and how to witness to Muslims
(Joe); HIV/AIDS awareness and starting HIV ministries (Gina); and even
how to use computers in ministry (Joel). Music was led by the Mtawali band.
Joel teaches PowerPoint
youngest team member, Joel (15), had a unique opportunity to teach about 40 Kenyan
pastors how to use computers in ministry. At the end of the conference they told us that this was a very timely seminar because not only did these
pastors have village people coming to their churches, but also well-educated
business people. Joel showed them how to use a free Bible software program to study the
Scriptures in English or Swahili. He also taught how to put together a
PowerPoint presentation, and the basics of photo editing. He gave
away disks of the Bible program and of OpenOffice, the free office suite
program. They want him to come back to teach them more!
High Commissioner's office
day we were invited to meet the High Commissioner of the coastal region.
He had wanted to meet with our team, along with the Kilifi fellowship of pastors. He
told us that during post-election violence, this was one of the places where
there was peace because the churches were united. He was encouraging
the spread of Christianity and discipleship so that peace and stability
would grow in communities through-out Kenya.
Wednesday and Thursday evening we were invited to speak to Christian
students at a state University in the area. This university has many Muslim
influences. It was a blessing to walk into the room and hear believers
singing with all their hearts to the Lord. Tammie encouraged them to stay on God's Path and avoid paths of immorality,
violence and hatred, laziness and neglect, false religion, and ethical
corruption. Gina taught on HIV/AIDS awareness and
Border of DR Congo
"Jesus saw the crowds, and He felt compassion for them, because they were weary
and worn out,
like sheep without a shepherd."
Goma, the capital of North Kivu in Eastern DR Congo, lies 5,000 feet above
sea level. Planted right in the middle of a beautiful tropical African
rainforest, it is a city set between the world's largest active volcano to
the north and a great, beautiful lake on the south. The scenery presents a visual
paradox of beauty and disaster. Violence from rebel militias and natural
disaster penetrate the very social stability and ecological atmosphere of
the city. Thick volcanic ash stirs in the air as you drive through the
lava paved streets. Haze from burning trash and cooking fires in the refugee camps just outside of town
shroud the lake and volcano in near-impenetrable grays. Motorcycle
taxis, flatbed trucks carrying large numbers of people on the back, and
pedestrians all mingled together form rows of traffic which redefine the
meanings of sidewalks, land, and streets. People scurry to get home before
dark, as youth gangs and corrupt soldiers take to the streets after dark.
Pastors in DR Congo
in the midst of all of this, the Lord is at work through His dear Kingdom- servants who live there. From the mountains where the violence is
worst, 100 rural pastors attended the Beyond the Bridge and
Equip Disciples Leadership Conference in Congo. Some of them were delayed because
of rebel groups fighting in the mountains. As we began the
conference, pastors asked, "Why is it so hard in the
mountains? The Lord has allowed these things to happen to us. Has God forgotten us?" Some
had faces scared by violence. And the women were expressionless and quiet. We could see trauma on
their faces. We asked them if they had Bibles in the mountains. Most did not even have their own Bible. One person had a Jehovah
Witness Bible, because they had been distributing them in the mountains.
It was all he had, so he made do with it. Others had borrowed Bibles.
Whole churches had only one Bible.
(pres. of BBM) teaching
Drawing from recent family devotions, Tammie shared a story from 2
Chronicles 15. "In those times there was no peace for those who went
about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many
conflicts. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God
troubled them with every possible distress. But as for you, be strong;
don't be discouraged, for your work has a reward." Upon reading this many of
them livened up. Some even laughed; they were trying to tell us
something. The translator said, they are very happy. "They say you have come
to encourage them!"
The conference lasted about 9 hours each day. It was amazing that
they remained alert for that amount of time, especially through as much as 5
hours of translation! Martin,
the president of Beyond the Bridge Ministries, members of his ministry, and
preachers in the community, taught many of the sessions. One of them named Dieudonne,
is a denominational mission coordinator for all of Eastern Africa. It was a pleasure
to serve with these great servants in the Kingdom. It was great fun watching
them because they are very animated and tell a lot of jokes. We learned a
lot from each other.
Alfred leading prayer
as youth receive Christ
is no way to describe the work God is doing among the ex-child soldiers, except that
He is powerfully working to rescue them from the grasps of Satan and to
establish them as youth re-born into the Kingdom of God. God brought
41 young men to the youth conference. Our main focus was teaching them the differences
between the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light, and how one enters
into the Kingdom of Light. As they studied the Ten Commandments, they
confessed to breaking all of God's laws. They asked if God could ever
forgive them for the things they had done. At the end of the week,
Alfred asked them how many would like to accept Jesus as their Lord and
Savior. And to his amazement, they all raised their hands. He
asked them 3 times, just to be sure. We were all thinking maybe
a few would do this...but it was all of them.
Amos and Gina teaching
on HIV and drugs
In Baron's woodworking
class, they wanted to make plaques saying, "Jesus is my Savior." We praise
the Lord for His harvest. We thank our team members for their hard
work in the lives of the youth, Alfred Mtawali translated, led Bible Study,
and and led worship; Christina taught Bible study and photography; Julius
and Joel taught Bible Study and basketball; Baron taught woodworking; and
Amos taught Bible study and served as a translator. They also had help from Joseph
and other helpers from Beyond the Bridge Ministries.
Youth activities: Baron in woodworking, Julius and Joel in basketball,
Christina with cameras and computers
Thanks to the Kilifi Fellowship of Evangelical Pastors and all of those who attended the
conference in Kenya. These church leaders blessed us with an offering for
Bibles in DR Congo. It was truly a blessing to receive this missionary
offering from our brothers and sisters attending the conference in Kilifi. Our warmest thanks to you all for this Kingdom gift!
We also want to thank Covenant '08 house church in Dallas for their
prayer send off, lunch fellowship, and support for the Kingdom work. This was truly a blessing to us.
Youth dance for joy
after receiving Bibles
We would like to express our thanks to some missionary friends of ours
who donated basketballs, ball bags, and drill cones for the sports training
in Congo. This was also a very special blessing to us from fellow
workers in the field.
To all of you from FBCA--there are too many to list--we thank you for
the special gifts of love, prayers, and support you have given us. You will
never know the encouragement with which God has lifted us up as you have
prayed, given, and spoken to us encouraging words. The Lord will
remember your service and sacrifices for His Kingdom.
And from our whole team, we say thank you to all our families and
friends who gave to us, prayed for us, believed in us, and saw the call of
God in our lives to disciple the nations. Your support has been a great
affirmation to this new ministry. Only God knows the fruit He will
bring from all of these efforts.