*Please pray for God to equip and prepare our teams going to Kenya
and Rwanda this summer.
*Pray that all the discipleship teaching materials are translated in time!
*Pray for understanding across language barriers and cultural differences
between American partners and African partners.
*Pray for team unity in content, purpose, mind, and spirit.
*Pray we will be clean vessels for God's use.
*Pray for our partners: Alfred, Bishop Lewa; Martin, Mbusa, Dieudonne,
Joe Entwi, and Timothy.
*Pray for the strengthening of the churches in Africa and Costa Rica.
*Pray for our spiritual and physical safety and for good health.
*Pray for God to supply all our needs for Bibles and Discipleship
*Pray for excellence in team members' preparation.
the salvation of the 50 youth soldiers.
Visit our Website
*New resources under
*Spanish edition of the Quick Reference
Worldview Discipleship Teaching Manual.
*New Theological Discipleship Training
Materials in English
*Cabécar edition of Worldview Discipleship Pictures book.
Kinyarwandan and Swahili Theological Discipleship materials to be added soon.
on the Costa Rica Mission
By Nathan Benke
In 2003 the Lord called me to begin traveling to other nations and teach His Word.
The previous nine years I had been involved in local ministry that the
Lord was blessing and in which I felt very comfortable. God had given me
many challenges over the previous years but traveling to other nations was
my biggest challenge to date. These were just some of the obstacles: 1)
finances, 2) how would my family do while I traveled, 3) language barriers,
4) cultural differences, 5) contacts outside the U.S., etc.
As of today I have been on numerous mission trips outside this country. On
every one of these trips there have been large obstacles before me. Things
that seemed impossible and could have been easy excuses to quit.
The Lord had taught me years earlier that when God speaks to His people,
He is revealing what He is going to do. This is true all through Scripture.
But it is quite human for us to look at the circumstances, and think it is
impossible. Moses is the classic example of this. The Lord had clearly
spoken and the circumstances were clearly impossible. The problem was that
he was looking at how he was going to do it. Moses was not looking to the
God of the impossible. One of my favorite passages is from Exodus 6:1 where
the Lord says, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh...". Moses
victories are a testimony to God who does what He says.
first came to know Joe and Tammie about 7 months ago. They were preparing a
mission trip to Costa Rica. As I prayed it seemed clear that the Lord wanted
me to go. But, there was a problem. My right knee has severely torn
ligaments and a large piece of cartilage has been removed as well. The
challenge for this trip was the only way to get to the mission site was to
hike down a mountain over 2000 feet and cross several rivers. The starting
point was actually above cloud level. There are also no roads and no
electricity. It would have been easy to say no, but the Lord of the
impossible was leading.
I went and the trip was great. The Cabecar Indians received us so well
and they would sit for hours as we taught. The Spirit moved as God's Word
was shared and on Sunday morning several even prayed to receive Jesus. The
time with them was so special. I could go on and on.
When we hiked out it was a big moment for me when we finally reached the
top and I saw the truck waiting for us. I knew the Lord had done the
impossible again. God put the trip together, worked in the people, and kept
my knee from pain. Will you pray about a future trip with Equip Disciples?
Will you trust the God of the impossible if He says yes?
Nathan is a missionary with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and went on
the mission to Costa Rica in March. Nathan is also going with Equip to
Kenya and Rwanda in July.
For Kenya and Rwanda Missions
Needs: Pray for God to prepare
us, equip us, provide for us; for God to bring down strongholds of false
beliefs and ungodly living; for physical and spiritual protection; and for fruit for
the Kingdom. Pray specifically for our team members (below) and also for the
conference participants, for the teachings, and for financial needs.
Kenya Mission (July 16-25)
- Joe and Tammie Friberg - Equip Disciples
- Nathan Benke - NAMB missionary
- Alfred Mtawali - Bible translator; Christian
- Amos Lewa - Bishop, member of K. Fellowship of Pastors
- Jacob Njagi - Bible translator
- Mary Nduati - MA Counseling and Bible, Counselor, Preacher
- Jeremie Nzanzu - Computers
- Mtawalis Band - Christian recording group from Kenya
- possibly 1-3 additional team members
Partners: K. Fellowship of Pastors; Alfred Mtawali; Amos Lewa
Participants: 200 Multi-denominational ministry leaders and pastors
from all areas of Kenya.
Conference Topics: Expository Preaching; Theological Discipleship
Training; HIV/AIDS ministry training; Using Computers in Ministry (Powerpoint
and E-Sword Bible Study Software; Video Editing); the Bible and Morals;
Counseling Topics; Evangelism; Missions Studies.
Rwanda Mission (July 26-August 3)
- Tammie and Joe Friberg - Equip Disciples
- Nathan Benke - NAMB missionary
- Alfred Mtawali - Bible translator; Christian
recording artist from Kenya
- Jeff Caffey - Deacon, engineer
- Jennifer Trevino - Public school teacher
- Mary Nduati - MA Counseling and Bible, Counselor, Preacher
- Dieudonne Karahanyuze - Missions Director
- Martin Nzabanito - Beyond the Bridge Ministries
- Two translators
- possibly 3-5 additional team members
Partners: The Association of Evangelical Pastors of Rwanda; and the
Methodist Churches of Rwanda; Dieudonne Karahanyuze
Participants: 100 Multi-denominational Ministry leaders and pastors
from Rwanda. 50 Former Rwandan youth soldiers-from the fighting in DR Congo;
orphans from the genocide.
Conference Topics: Theological Discipleship Training; HIV/AIDS Ministry
Training; Bridges Materials; Missions Studies; Trauma Counseling; Youth
Soldier discipleship and sports camp.
Pray for Our Financial Needs
- $2,400 for Study Bibles ($10-20 each) and discipleship
- $2,000 for mattress rental for conference participants
- $3,500 food for the conferences
- $1,000 in Missionary Scholarships to make it possible for
some indigenous teachers to travel and have lodging to teach in the
Thank you for your prayers and support. 100% of your gifts go to
meet conference needs. We have no paid staff--we all work only
for Jesus and His Kingdom.
256 Bibles given*
91+ miles traversed
Saturday, May 2, Equip Disciples sponsored a fun BikeRunWalk with the goal
of raising $5,000 for Bibles for Africa. $2,561.25 has been given so far.
Some children gave $31.25 in quarters and other small change!
And the fundraising winners are:
||Alick Mimi Cheung, Joseph, and Joshua
||Jeff and Elizabeth Caffey, Caroline, Ethan, and Sarah
||Robert and Sandra Grigsby and Andrew
"What a joy and blessing it was to be apart of your amazing event serving the
Lord. What an awesome testimony of love to others as Equip Disciples not
only shows love to those in Africa by sharing the Word of God, but also
gives the Word of God for them to continue their walk with God. I'm honored
to have shared in your event. Thank you and God Bless!"
--Kathy Miller, member of First Baptist Church Arlington
You can still give towards the $5,000 needed for Bibles for Africa!
* Based on $10 per Bible. Actual cost of Bibles varies, with
Swahili Study Bibles closer to $20 each. 100% of funds raised goes towards
the purchase of Bibles in Africa.
Conference - Kenya 2008
Next Trip Meeting: Sunday, June 14 at 6 pm
1010 Loch Lomond Dr., Arlington, TX 76012. You can also contact
Church Leadership Conferences this year:
- Kenya, East Africa- Adult Training Conference (July 16-25, 2009)
- Rwanda, East Africa-Adult and Youth Conferences (July
- DR Congo, Central Africa- Visit Former Child Soldiers (July 2009)
- Ghana, West Africa- Adult Training Conference (Oct./Nov., 2009)
Jam: Spreadable Fruit
Impacting the world through discipleship
Each year thousands of ministry teams head out into the world to
serve the Lord in a kaleidoscope of short-term Kingdom ministries. Much
time, resources, and personal risk are laid down for the cause of Christ
by many. And some would ask the question...is it really worth all this
effort, money, risk, and time? Does it really make an impact for Jesus?
the pursuit of learning how the early church was fruitful in ministry, I read
through various New Testament epistles. I looked for commonalities in how
Paul conducted his trips and how he recorded the fruit that the Holy Spirit
had produced through his team's efforts. Below are some observations
on what seems to characterize their efforts in missions. Bear in mind
are general observations from a comparative textual study. It is not
meant to say that Paul was outlining a definition of “successful” mission
trips in any letter he wrote.
We read in the book of Acts that Paul went from place to place encouraging
and strengthening the churches. He took with him a small team of
co-workers who shared with him in the ministry. Sometimes there were many
who came to Christ; sometimes there were many who turned away from
them or who wanted to kill them. They suffered persecution,
misunderstandings, traveling difficulties, and even imprisonment--not
things we would generally associate with positive mission experiences. Who would have thought that--in spite of all of these things--this
small team would have had the impact they did in the world, reaching
even to us today! Difficulties did not stop God from working, nor did it
mean Paul and his team were incompetent. So let us see what does define
success, if by any means we should look for it.
We can observe how God worked through Paul by looking at 1
Thessalonians and some other related passages. I especially want to draw
attention to the nature of how this mission team's fruit spread outward
from the missionaries themselves to the church, and then to the
surrounding regions and countries--this illustrates a major way the Lord
may produce fruit through the work of a small mission team.
Thessalonians 1:5-10 we read:
For our gospel did
not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy
Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of
men we proved to be among you for your sake.
6 You also became
imitators of us and of the Lord, having
received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy
Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in
Macedonia and in Achaia.
8 For the word of the Lord has sounded
forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every
place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need
to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a
reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to
serve a living and true God,
10 and to wait for His Son from heaven,
whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from
the wrath to come. [emphasis added]
And in 2:2-13 we read:
We give thanks to God always for all of you,
in our prayers;
3 For our exhortation
does not come
from error or
impurity or by way of deceit;
4 but just as we have been
approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so
we speak, not as pleasing men, but God
who examines our hearts. 5
we never came with flattering
speech, as you know,
nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness--
nor did we seek glory from
men, either from you
or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted
our authority. 7 But
we proved to be gentle among you,
as a nursing
cares for her own children.
8 Having so fond an
affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the
gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear
to us. 9 For you
recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how
working night and day so as
not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you
the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and uprightly
and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;
11 just as you know how
exhorting and encouraging and
imploring each one of you as a father
his own children, 12
so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you
into His own kingdom and glory. 13
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when
you received the word of God
which you heard from
us, you accepted it
as the word of men, but
for what it really is,
the word of God, which also
performs its work in you who believe.
what was it on the part of Paul that contributed to the effectiveness
and spread of the mission?
From the passages above and other related verses I observe the following
1. Paul and his team relied on the guidance, power, and
God gave them for ministry through prayer,
the Holy Spirit,
and the Word
They did not conduct ministry by their own strength. They truly had a
deep and abiding relationship to the Lord nurtured through prayer and
- "We give thanks to
God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers."
(1 Thess. 1:2)
- "I always make mention
of you in my prayers." (Rom. 1:9)
- "I give thanks...always praying with joy for all of you...."
- Holy Spirit:
Paul always worked through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- "For our gospel did not come to you in word only,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full
conviction." (1 Thess. 1:5)
- "Not that we are adequate
in ourselves to consider anything as
from ourselves, but our adequacy is
from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant...."
(2 Cor. 3:5-6)
2. It is evident
that Paul and his team had invested personally and lovingly in the lives
of those to whom they ministered. Paul often spoke of the deep
love he had for all the churches, and of the personal spiritual
investments he had made in their lives.
- They referred to their ministry as flowing from the love and
care of a mother or father toward their own children (1 Thess.
- They had a fond affection for the people, and shared their very
lives with them (1 Thess. 2:8).
- "I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers of grace with
me." (Philip. 1:7)
3. Paul and his team
were examples of integrity and godliness. They did not have a
double standard, one for themselves and one for the people.
- "You know what kind of men we
proved to be among you.” (1 Thess. 1:5)
- In 1:6 Paul says the churches became
imitators of them, even in the midst of persecution.
- He says in 2:3 that their exhortation was not from error, impurity, or deceit.
- In 2:5 says they did not use
flattering speech, seek glory from men, or misuse their authority.
- In 2:9 he points out how they worked hard so as
not to be a burden to the churches.
- And in 2:10, he states how they behaved devoutly,
uprightly, and blamelessly in their relationships with the churches.
- "For our boast is
this, the testimony of our conscience that we have behaved in the world,
and still more toward you, with holiness and godly sincerity, not by
earthly wisdom but by the grace of God." (2 Cor. 1:12)
- "But we have renounced the
things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or
adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (2
- "We have wronged no
one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one." (2
4. The content of their message was the Word of God and the Good News about Jesus.
It did not consist of current philosophies, psychology, or
- It is the Word of God which worked mightily in the hearts of the
believers (see 1 Thess. 2:13).
- We also know that they used the
Word of God in a variety of ways. Verse 2:11 says they were exhorting
and encouraging and imploring them.
2:4 we read that they spoke the gospel to
please God and not men.
- "The gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it
is bearing fruit and growing—so among yourselves also." (Col. 1:6)
- "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and
Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)
- "For what we preach is
not ourselves, but Jesus as Lord." (2 Cor. 4:5)
- "For I would have
you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not
man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11-12)
5. All the team members
worked together for a common goal, to bring all believers to full
maturity in Christ. The Greek word for maturity is teleos,
which means that no part is lacking, that something is made perfect or complete. It
is used of God, most often when speaking of His justice and His mercy or
love. We are to be "perfect" as He is perfect. Paul was aware
where the people fell short of this perfection, and these are the things
he set out to help mature in them.
- Paul encouraged the churches to
walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel (1 Thess. 2:12).
- "We proclaim Him,
admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we
may present every man complete in Christ." (Col. 1:28)
- "As therefore you have
received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in
Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in
thanksgiving." (Col. 2:6)
- "My little children,
with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed I you." (Gal.
Lastly, in these passages we note
the receptiveness of the people to Paul's message. 1 Thess. 1:9 says, "They
report about what reception you had to us...you turned from idols to
serve the living God." And again in 2:13, "You received the word...for
what it really is, the Word of God." In Jesus' Parable of the Sower,
much attention is given to the receptiveness of the human heart to the Word of God,
but little attention to the Sower. Similarly, in Athens, Luke
records the reception Paul had when he preached that Jesus had been crucified
and raised from the dead (Acts 17); when he preached this, many turned away--but there were some who wanted to know more.
We must bear in mind that our part in
spreading the Word is obedience to God's calling--rather than worrying
too much about measuring success in human terms. When the Word goes
out, people have the opportunity to hear the message. The
results are not necessarily
indicative of the sower, but of the hearer.
With all of these things in mind, is the wear and tear,
sacrifice, risk, and work of missions, worth it? Do short-term work and mission teams yield
results or success for God's Kingdom? From the texts above I think we
can give a resounding YES! Our focus
must be on being pure vessels through which God can do His work on those who
are receptive. Obedience, integrity, and a devotion to preaching the
Word of God through the Holy Spirit's power seem to be the ingredients
for spreadable fruit to take place. Remember in Thessalonica how the
people became imitators of Paul, and then their example reached
believers in Macedonia, and even in Achaia? As we all go out into the
world this year, let us be mindful to have the kind of relationship with
the Lord that produces the kind of fruit that spreads...just like jam! A
little jam spreads on biscuits to bring that mouth watering sweet
flavor--so one little team can impact a church, the church a
region...and beyond. Together we can impact the world, just as Paul and
his little team of leaders did in Thessalonica and beyond. Let's jam!
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of
many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others
(2 Timothy 2:2)
If you want to receive these email updates
(and are not already on the list), you may
SUBSCRIBE by email, or you may
UNSUBSCRIBE at any time. For assistance with the Mailing List
or send an email to