Projects and Missionaires in Africa
Recent Stories from Africa

MOVE TO ZAMBIA CLOSER

Rodney and Carol Friend, veteran career missionaries recently appointed to Zambia, are continuing to raise funds, working on obtaining Zambian work visas, getting vaccinations, arranging a shipment to Zambia, considering the purchase of a vehicle there, and waiting on housing availability to finalize in Zambia. Many things need to come together yet, but it is happening by God’s help as they move forward. As any missionary will relate … flexibility and patience are needed in missions work!

In the meantime, itineration is at the forefront, as they travel to various churches to hold missions services and raise funds. The Friends recently met with Africa Field Director Peter Thomas who gave them good news regarding three building projects currently underway at Bethel. The library floor is tiled, and the new dormitories that will house 28 students are progressing well.

Recent happenings include representing World Missions at the Smoky Mountain Jubilee held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where they met many wonderful people who were interested in missions. Rodney also ministered at one of the North Cleveland Church of God’s missions services.

While attending the graduation in Cleveland, Tenn., of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, the Friends were greatly encouraged to see two of their former students from the European Theological Seminary receive higher degrees; Florentin Ghita from Romania (Doctors) and Emina Stevanovic (Masters) from Serbia.

To support the Friends online, click here: Project #060-0016

WHY CRUSADES ARE EFFECTIVE IN AFRICA

Shamia Maitha* was hearing voices telling her to kill herself. As a single mother without a job, she faced the daunting task of providing for her child in Likoni, a slum area just across the water by ferry from the old town of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. Shamia could hear music from our Crusade as we celebrated Jesus in an area surrounded by ten mosques. She walked 2 kilometers to the meeting and came forward during the altar call. While I prayed for the crowd of people in the name of Jesus, Shamia hit the ground and started rolling around. As I pressed in to pray for her, the evil spirit inside her was shouting (in English), “I’m not going! I’m not gonna’ go!” This was strange, since most people in Likoni speak Swahili. Shamia was delivered, saved, and is still a church member at the Likoni Church of God today.

This true story illustrates several elements of why bringing the Gospel outside the walls of the church “into the highways and hedges and compel people” to enter the Kingdom of God works so well in Africa (Luke 14:23).

First, Africa is an “indoor/outdoor society,” meaning many people spend much of their day outside fellowshipping with friends and neighbors, moving around town doing their jobs, or if they are jobless, idling in town. People tend to return inside their homes only at night. Therefore, with our powerful sound system people report hearing the Gospel even 20 miles away in many venues where we preach. I call it “4-Wheel Drive Preaching,” because we set up in market places, slums, school grounds, open fields, along the roadway—wherever the people gather. Instead of concerning ourselves with what color the carpet will be in church, we deal with roaming chickens, goats, cows, donkeys, street people, drunkards, school children, idle youth, women selling in the market, dust, mud, and blowing trash!

Second, there is an “entertainment factor” to what we do. Most good preaching is entertaining. In Africa, many people are not over-stimulated like those in the developing world. Our Crusades are very entertaining, because we focus much of the time on powerful, energetic praise and worship. We also strive for a level of excellence many here do not attain; thus, our meetings are unique.

The third element of success is found in one of our ministry theme scriptures—a key principle drawn out of the Parable of the Talents: “Faithful with little, ruler over much” (Matthew 25:23 paraphrased). In Africa, we can do a lot with the few resources we have. Team leadership through Eagles’ Wings Gospel Team is key to our evangelism success. Often when we are doing the seven-hour equipment set up, people milling around ask, “So, when are the musicians and preachers coming?” We answer, “You’re looking at ‘em!”

When we arrived in Kenya in 1993, I never imagined we would do evangelism. God often expands our potential. Now, after completing 180 Gospel meetings since 1996, we have seen thousands enter into the Kingdom of God.

Neil and Jennifer Lawrence

Missionary Educators and Evangelists in Kenya

Connect with Neil & Jennifer on: www.YouTube/TVeagleswings   and www.facebook.com/neilstevenlawrence}

*Not her real name.

Reaching the Youth of Senegal

Senegal is a beautiful country on the northwestern coast of Africa. Traditional African tribal heritage, French colonial influence, and Arab religious influence create a meld of culture that is quite unique. Dakar, the capital of this majority-Muslim country, is a crossroads between western Africa and Europe. People from around the world have made Dakar their home, and the Senegalese have welcomed them with “teranga” or hospitality—one of the values they hold most dear. On the streets in Senegal, you can often see groups of young people gathered to share a snack after school or play a game of pick-up soccer.

Into this youth culture, the Nascimento Family strives to make known the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Through soccer ministry and teaching English as a second language, the family is reaching the youth at a point of interest with them and their parents. Many of the young men dream of becoming soccer pros and many neighborhood parents desire to increase their children’s chances of success by investing in their education and foreign language learning.

Everaldo, a native of Brazil, is so excited to be able to share his passion for soccer with the youth in Senegal. Through SMS: Soccer Ministry for Senegal, the Lord has given him amazing opportunities to share the message of the Gospel. When Everaldo and Lydia initially began holding soccer clinics for the neighborhood kids, they were a bit worried about their ability to communicate well with the young people who speak either French or Wolof. During the first practice, two young Muslim men showed up and began to assist by translating to the kids! Over the course of the next year, they continued to participate and help in the soccer program; they also began to visit the Nascimentos in their home. During these visits, they became close to the family and started asking questions about what the Nascimentos believe. At these opportunities, Everaldo joyously shared with them the message of Jesus.

Recently, during a shared cab ride, Everaldo was once again discussing the importance of Christ with one of these young men. As they spoke, this young man declared his faith in Christ stating, “I believe Jesus is my Savior!” The Nascimento Family praises God for the power of the Gospel and the lives that are being changed in Senegal through the relationships God is allowing them to make through soccer and ESL. Each young person they encounter is so precious to Jesus and needs to know that there is hope, peace, and life eternal available to them through Christ.

Just as the Scripture declares: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15 NIV).

Click here to give online in partnership with Everaldo and Lydia Nascimento … Project #065-0919

A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES

Paul and Rhonda Stockard, Coordinators of Specialized Outreach/Africa, had a great previous year, albeit, a busy one … a year of ups and downs, victories and struggles.

Paul states, “The leaders and pastors on the African continent are some of the most sacrificial ministers I have seen anywhere—men like Charles Karangwa, superintendent for Central Africa (which includes some challenging areas of ministry), who still grieves the loss of his dear wife. I have never felt as privileged as I do to work alongside such strong, dedicated, and faithful men and women of God.

“Others from the African ministry field have also finished their race and are a part of a great cloud of witnesses awaiting us in glory. The best way to honor them is to move ahead, confronting giants that are guarding strongholds yet to be conquered by the church.”

Around 50 percent of the world’s conflicts today occur on the African continent, and it’s an open door for ministry to seriously needy people, ranging from military to refugees, who are now calling for help. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes by civil war.

Paul has been training workers in areas of specialized outreach and ministry in Nigeria, Chad, Togo, Zambia, and Uganda. In Nigeria, there is an interdenominational group of chaplains who are recognized by the government, yet have no formal training.

The fields are ripe unto harvest, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37).

Give online support to Paul and Rhonda Stockard – Project #060-0073

FIRST COG MISSIONARY TO KENYA, CLAUDE THAYER,  PASSES AWAY

Claude Thayer, first Church of God missionary to Kenya, Africa, passed away on May 10, 2017, in Cass City, Michigan. His wife, Frances, preceded him in death in 2011. Together, they established the Church of God in Oxford, Michigan.

Kenya Overseer David Bwire presents a plaque to the first Missionary Overseer of Kenya, Claude Thayer in July 2016.

As residents of the United States, Claude and Frances sensed a clear and definite calling to Kenya. During the Thayers’ schooling at Vennard College in University Park, Iowa (which has since closed), they became acquainted with a couple from Nairobi, Kenya, Geoffrey and Rachel Chepkwony. The Chepkwonys stayed with the Thayers while Geoffrey completed his education. The Africans were well-acquainted with the vice president of Kenya. When they returned to Kenya, they influenced the vice president to invite the Thayers to Kenya.

The Thayers arrived in 1977. Two days after they were in-country, the first Church of God was organized in Nairobi by Superintendent A.W. Brummett with 11 members. A second church was established in Karatina with 36 charter members. The third church was located in Matharini and started with 12 members.

Claude served as overseer of Kenya from 1977 to 1978.

“PLEASE RETURN AND BUILD A CHURCH … ”

New missionaries to the field are Everaldo and Lydia Nascimento, although much of Lydia’s upbringing was on the mission field, as her parents, Max and Debbie Thompson, served many years in Brazil and now in Africa. Lydia and her husband, along with their children, are taking Jesus’ message to a Gospel-resistant country.

In the meantime, they recently ministered in Guinea-Bissau, a Portuguese-speaking country just south of their location. Along with their overseer, the two-week trip offered them a knowledge of the country and allowed them to begin outreaches in the capital city of Bissau. Forty people (40) accepted Jesus into their hearts, and the Church of God was officially registered in Bissau!

On a visit to an island named “Island of Kings,” the chief of the island asked them to please return and build a church and a school on the island. Another highlight of the trip was that Everaldo shared an inspirational message with one of the highest-ranking soccer teams in the country.

Right now, Islam is a minority religion, but it is growing quickly. Pray with the Nascimentos for continued outreach in Guinea-Bissau. May the Kingdom of God prevail!

Click here to give online in partnership with Everaldo and Lydia Nascimento … Project #065-0919