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Prayer Update August 18, 2008
Prayer Needs
 

Kenya
*For all the church leaders who attended the conference.

*Fruit for the Kingdom as they begin Bible Study groups, use the discipleship materials, and incorporate the things they learned in their various ministries.

*Pray for the churches to be strengthened in the coastal towns where Islamic leaders are trying to evict them.

*For the Kilifi Fellowship of Evangelical Pastors, and Bishop Lewa as they continue to promote peace, unity, and Kingdom work among believers in the coastal region.

*For Alfred Mtawali and his work with Wycliffe. For Alfred, his wife Helen, and their Christian music ministry.

 
DR Congo
*Pray for the pastors who attended the conference.

*Pray for peace in DR Congo, and that the militias will disband.

*Pray for these brave men and women who are leading churches with very few resources in the most violent regions of Congo.

*Pray for Martin N. our partner with Beyond the Bridge Ministries. He'll be leading additional conferences out in the mountains.

*Pray for Amos K. as he is preparing for college, media work, and Christian ministry.

*Pray for the ex-child soldiers who made decisions for Christ.  These youth need jobs.  They need discipling. They need homes. If they go back to their villages, they will be killed.

 
Equip Disciples

*For wisdom and God's leadership in planning future work. This year's conferences brought a number of possibilities as church and denominational leaders expressed the desire to host future conferences.

*Pray that God will raise up both team members and funding for these future missions.

 

Visit our Website EquipDisciples.org

*New resources under Resources
*HIV/AIDS booklet has been posted in English and Swahili

*See additional trip photos and reports coming soon.

Celebration/Share Service
Reports from Kenya and Congo

Sunday, August 24 6:00 pm

Lockwood Community Center
1566 Cherry Dr, Arlington, TX
Southeast corner of 303 and Fielder Rd
(Across from Fielder Road Baptist Church)

Testimonies, movies, food, and fellowship!

 

Trip Highlights

Coast of Kenya


"And the seas will roar
at the sound of Your Name."
Kilifi, Kenya

"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 Evangelical Pastors.  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.


Kilifi Conference

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

Our 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

One 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.


Mtawali Band
On 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 prevention.

Bwana Asifiwe!

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 streets

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

But 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.


Martin (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

There 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

Special Thanks

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.

 

Continuing Needs

There are always opportunities for continued ministry among the churches and communities from which we have just returned. Here are some needs we are currently aware of:

1. The faculty representative at the university in Kilifi, Kenya has made a request for 100 Bibles and for other Christian literature to be placed in the school's library, in student housing, and in offices.

2. The shortage of Bibles among churches in eastern Congo was so evident while we were there. We have a deep desire to provide additional Bibles for distribution within the churches. We are working to find an economical source of Bibles in order to reach as many people, households, and churches as possible. There is also a need for MegaVoice audio Bible players.

3. We are working closely with Martin and Beyond the Bridge Ministries on strategies to follow up with the youth who made decisions for Christ in Congo. They need spiritual encouragement and nurture, as well as basic necessities--especially for those who are turning 18 and will soon be ineligible for UN assistance programs. Whether through woodworking, wooden bikes used to transport all sorts of goods, photography, or other means, this is a work under ongoing development.

As you are led, you may contribute online as well as at our mailing address (below).

Thanks to all of you for your continued support!

 

Minister or Servant?

by Joe Friberg

On the plane on the way to Kenya, a young man seated next to us asked about our trip. After we told him about our mission in Kenya and Congo, he asked, "So, you're ministers?" to which I replied, "Well, I believe every Christian should be a minister!"

Language is a funny thing. The word "Christian" started out as an insult: "Oh, you're one of those little Christ-lings," but was then worn as a badge of honor, and now often applies to everyone who was born of a long-lost Christian heritage. In a similar way, the word diakonos for "servant" in Greek has come to be translated as "minister", and culturally we usually limit the word minister to paid-positions. And then we put these individuals on a pedestal in a category by themselves as the real ministers. In African terms, these ministers are often viewed as "big men", just like other political and economic power-brokers.

Even the specific use of diakonos for "deacons" (note that the English word is derived straight from the Greek) has taken on the connotation of a special higher class of Christians. But the Greek term was a word of humility--even humiliation. It referred to errand-boys and waiters. Not very lofty positions.

Jesus has given every one of us the ministry/service of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:16-21). And he uses leadership gifts in the body in order to train every member for the work of ministry/service (Eph 4:11-16). So we are all to be his servants, serving Christ through service to others, seeking to draw all people to a life of service to the King.

What can we do about the discrepancy between the original meaning and current use of minister/servant? Make the most of it! Encourage every Christian that they are and ought to be ministers. Yet persistently remind each other to always be servants--for our model is Christ. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life--a ransom for many" (Mark 10:35-45).

God bless you all!

And they devoted themselves to the apostle's teachings, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers."
(Acts 2:42--HCSB)


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Scripture Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)