THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS

In Ethiopia, the Church of God has established Christian schools throughout the country: Sidama in the South; the Arsi Oromo area (961 children are enrolled and have to be accommodated by two shifts—all of whom are from Muslim families!); the city of Shashemene (a Muslim area in the southern Rift Valley); and Lake Awassa in southern Ethiopia.

The Harvest Church of God currently operates over 70 kindergarten (pre-school level) schools, plus several primary schools. All inclusive, they serve over 8,000 children, mostly in the southern regions, but also in other parts of Ethiopia where we have churches.

The church faces a challenge in maintaining the school because of insufficient finances. The government is trying to improve education and raises their teachers’ salaries, but the church cannot match those increases in pay, so often the school loses some of its best teachers to government schools. The school ministry basically survives on a monthly support of 2,000 Euros (about $2,361) from the Church of God in Germany—barely enough to keep the schools open, but not enough to maintain buildings, provide adequate teaching materials, or good quality teachers.

Despite a lack of proper funds, these kindergarten and primary schools are an outstanding, signal ministry with an incredible impact upon the lives of the children and their families, even upon the growth of the respective local congregations.

Hiruy Tsige, overseer, reports there are 180-plus congregations (some with more than 15,000 members; some with only 20 members), but overall membership is estimated at over 67,000. The educational contributions have had a large impact in growing congregations.

The influence continues!

NEWS FROM LUSAKA, ZAMBIA

Missionaries Rodney and Carol Friend arrived in Zambia this past July, and experienced the busyness of getting settled in the first three weeks.

The Friends were warmly welcomed as the new directors by the Bethel Theological College faculty and staff. The third term begins in September, and the administrative offices and classrooms are currently being remodeled with new floor tiles and paint. The new dormitories are nearing completion on the first floor, anticipating it will house the students for the new term.Rodney and Carol Friend

During their initial time in Zambia, Rodney and Carol visited two churches in Lusaka … one is Family Life Church of God pastored by Missionary Teresa Kimbrell, who is also a faculty member and financial manager at BTC. Rodney ministered in the service at Family Life. Holy Cross Church of God in the Bauleni area is led by Pastor John, and the Friends enjoyed meeting and worshipping with the congregation.

The Friends went to their neighboring nation of Zimbabwe with Field Director Peter Thomas and Dr. Israel Simbaya, BTC academic dean. The intent is to hopefully build ways to have students from Zimbabwe attend BTC. They met with Bishop Maushe, overseer of Zimbabwe who is also the education director.

Although other matters associated with settling into a new home and nation remain to be done, the Friends are thankful for God’s help in accomplishing tasks so far.

Rodney and Carol ask for continued prayer and support so that they can remain and be fruitful in Zambia!

Project #060-0016

WINDOW INTO THE AFRICAN HARVEST

Field Directors Peter and Debbie Thomas recently traveled to the southernmost tip of the African continent, Cape Town, to attend the Africa Council meeting. They experienced a wonderful prayer time,

The Africa Council praying at the southern most tip of Africa.

interceding for the entire continent asking God for souls, committing the ministry of the Church of God into the mighty hands of God, and rededicating themselves to the Harvest of Africa.

A Leadership seminar for the French-speaking West African countries was held in Sikasso, Mali, with 59 delegates from eight countries participating. This seminar was intentionally planned for the Sahel Zone ministers. Some of the graduates from the Master Program taught sessions, along with Dr. Hong Yang, Jurgen Rudolph, and Peter Thomas. The next seminar will be held in February 2018.

Two large Church of God facilities were dedicated—one a big, beautiful church building in Goma and a sizable Ministry Center in Dakar, Senegal. The fourth floor of the Ministry Center is complete and is equipped with a seminar room, accommodations for delegates and an apartment for a teacher. The harvest of souls is tremendous in the Sahel Zone of Senegal. Sixty (60) youngsters are trained in a Christian environment to become good soccer players with the intent to present Jesus to them. Church of God Missionaries Everaldo and Lydia Nascimento are dedicated to fulfill their ministry among the young people.

New national overseers have been appointed in Botswana (Reuben Bajaki Kegomoditswe), Namibia (Bennie Smith), and Zimbabwe (Zafania Maushe). May the Lord empower these brothers with godly wisdom and passion for the Kingdom of God.

To support online, click here: Project #030-0184

 

 

 

 

AFRICA REPORT

Recently, in Kigali, Rwanda a team from RIO Central church, in East Tennessee, led by Pastor Tommy Roberts and Assistant Pastor Tony Simerly trained over 100 Church of God church planters from the countries of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many of these Pastors have seen their colleagues kidnapped, beaten and persecuted but they have soldiered on.

In the last 6 months with the Global Fire Advance and Harvesters Hub model church planting training, they have planted 183 churches.

It seems the STIFFER the resistance the greater the harvest.

Their faith and perseverance in the face of daunting odds sometimes almost makes you ashamed to complain or get tired. They definitely have something valuable and aren’t intimidated or reluctant to share it.

The same New Testament phenomenon being expressed in this training site is being replicated approximately 50 more times in 50 locations around the globe to the tune of around 6,000 new churches in the last year alone.

Africans, Asians, Latinos, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists are being swept into the Kingdom in wholesale numbers. Trainers and students of the Church of God Global Fire Advance* are going into the highways and hedges seeking and searching for the lost.

We need partners, strategies and resources to continue this onslaught on the kingdom of darkness. We are pushing back the darkness now as we seek to Send the Light to the Cities and finish the great commitment.

Ronnie Hepperly, Southeast Asia Regional Superintendent for Church of God World Missions

*Global Fire Advance is an extension of the Firewall Project AFRICA

ETHIOPIA: A VISION REALIZED

At long last, the National Ministries Center of the Harvest Church of God in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is nearing completion.

The capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abbaba, is home to 10 million people. The ministry center will rise high, lifting the cross of Christ!

“Lifting the Cross, Raising the Children” was the theme of the 2011 YWEA of the young people in the U.S. and Canada when they raised nearly $700,000 for the project. The countless young people of the COG in Ethiopia will view the Center as a promise of an exciting future for “their” Church. The five-story center will also serve as a beacon of hope and grace with its tall white cross that seems to be reaching to the heavens.

The property was purchased and plans were drawn, and on November 8, 2015, the ground was broken. What a joyous day it was for the leaders and members of the Harvest Church. The structural part of the building is nearly complete and the finishing work has begun on the inside. The urgent need now is for an additional $95,000 to finish … a finish here will mean a “FINISH” toward the Great Commission!

To partner with the COG in Ethiopia, please use Project #020-8053. Your investment will enable the Harvest Church of God to reach many more thousands for Christ in Ethiopia.

 

 

MINISTERING TO PASTORS AND WIVES IN AFRICA

Ministering to a pastoral couple is a bit challenging, but greatly needed. Although a pastoral couple is primarily called to the needs of others, they also need ministry. They too have felt needs. It is said that no one is above needing ministry. Like most ministers in certain fields, pastors and their wives are a unique category. Not only do they do life as a couple, parents, and members of an extended family, they also have the care of all of their constituents/members/congregation.

The temptation is to get “lost” in everyone else’s lives. Peoples’ “demands” can override the pastoral home. Meaning … when people are in the midst of crisis or exciting events, they only think of themselves—their here and now.

Some people never realize the pressures, stress, and so forth, that exists within the pastoral home/relationship. It is difficult and often unwise for a pastoral couple to talk about issues with others. For many, it has caused greater harm, because when people get upset with the pastoral couple they tell what they know; if they want them to leave, then they will be pressured with ultimatums or blackmailed.

How does one minister to those in the pastoral home? Simply by prayer, leadership of the Holy Spirit, being present for/with them, and building relationships with them. It takes people who understand, trust, and have created a “safe place” with full assurance that whatever is shared is confidential. Listening is key. Letting them share openly and honestly the good, the bad, and the ugly. Pray for them, encourage them in the Word, remind them God has not forgotten them and knows right where they are. Their labor is not in vain!

Many times, I have found just being present and listening to the pastoral couple/family really ministers to them. Those in the same shoes know best how to minister to those in like-minded professions. I have had the experience of sitting with pastoral families and listening to their stories, experiences, and life.  As they re-count their calling, meeting of spouses, children’s births, etc., there seems to be a reviving of purpose. For some, it is a reminding of Who called them and that they can carry on. One time, we did a Christmas lunch for some of the pastoral couples in Zambia. For many, “dating” their spouse is non-existent. It was so sweet to see the couples of all ages and years of marriage sitting together for a meal. Each was given a red rose. For most, it was their first date. Marriage traditions are different here than in the West.

Simple reminders of the greatest love ever is God’s love for us. This can be so renewing, refreshing, reviving, and refocusing. In ministering to the pastoral family, it really requires prayer, understanding, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His presence.

-Teresa Kimbrell is a career missionary working in Zambia, Africa.

Online support may be given by clicking this link: Project 065-0110

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ROOM TO COOK!

Many children’s lives have been changed for the good through a continual eight-year project that provides a well-balanced meal and an education in a small interior village in Lela, Kenya, Africa, where Dr. Kathy Swift lived and rendered missions work for several years prior to her marriage to Bishop Christian Swift, the regional superintendent of Western Europe.

Although Kathy now lives in Western Europe, the project daily operates through the efficient hands of dependable Kenyans who have embraced the vision as their own, along with Kathy and her ministries. Meals for over 1800 are provided every week in the small school of 600 students.

Amazingly, the Kenyan government chose this small school in the interior as a place to build a complete new complex for children ages 4 to 8. Why here? Because of the healthy atmosphere of education and the food provided by the eight-year feeding project!

The initial building built by donations in 2010 was an added room to cook—out of the hot equator sunshine and at other times, periods of heavy rain. The next building was erected all by hand … a beautiful sanctuary. The project now is drilling a well for the village.

Your donations and support impact lives through humanitarian needs, but more important, provides a means to share daily the love of Jesus.

Thank you for your partnership and support … Project #065-0855 (Kenya)

 

SO MANY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED

So many hours have been spent and so many things have happened … so many hours have been spent teaching Hebrew and Old Testament.  Many hours have been spent preparing for the visit of ACTEA to our college.  Other hours were spent in administrative council meetings, entertaining guests, enjoying fellowship with others, worshipping, and praying.  The list could go on and on.  But I wonder, how many of those hours will count in eternity?  I don’t know, but some, for us, have lingered on in our memories with fondness.

Lee University Visit

The visits of Murl and Carolyn Dirksen will not soon be forgotten by us.  Discipleship students embraced them both with open arms and especially those four Lee students/graduates they brought along.  In fact, the fellowship was so sweet that students insisted our Dean of Students drive several of them to the airport to see them off, to say that final sweet farewell.  Our students loved that Leslie, Abigail, Joanna, and Eli stayed in the dormitories with them, ate their food, prayed, and studied with them.  It was a cross-cultural exchange to be remembered.  Thanks to Murl and Carolyn for being a blessing to all of us.

Refugees Reaching Refugees

Four South Sudanese refugees have been with us this term.  Their visit has been sweet, too.  They are preparing to continue their studies in Kampala, but we’ll not soon forget them either.  We have been touched by their desire to reach out to the lost in the refugee camps and their drive to be better prepared to do that.  Alice found the Lord while a practicing Muslim, but each has his own special story.

Accreditation Visit

Accreditation Committee

The visit of Dr. Chemengich from  ACTEA was great, too, like a celebration.  We’re still hoping for affiliate status.  The final verdict is not yet in because they are concerned about how few students we have.  We’re concerned, too, but we are excited about the possibility of starting our own “TOT” diploma program here in November.  We are believing many students will come, not only from Kenya, but surrounding nations.  Pray with us, please!

You Can Partner With Discipleship College

Now, if you’d like to help bring students to Discipleship, we’d be eager to help you do just that.  If you’d like to bring a student from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Central Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, or Burundi,  $70 a month will pay for tuition and fees for a diploma student. $30 more a month will make it possible to bring a qualified degree candidate. We’d like to have a student from each country at the college for each program: diploma and degree.  Thank you in advance.  Your partnership is key!

—Marcia Anderson, Missionary Teacher to Kenya, #060-0054

Click here to support Marcia Anderson as she trains students.

Click here to support Discipleship College as they impact Africa with the Gospel.

Project #101-7001

 

WAR AND DROUGHT IMPACT NORTHERN UGANDA

According to UNHCR, approximately 500,000 refugees from Southern Uganda and South Sudan have fled to Northern Uganda because of rebel fighting and severe drought.

The Church of God National Overseer of Southern Sudan, John Komi and his family had to flee to Northern Uganda due to shootings by rebels at the Missions Compound in Yei.

He and his wife, Edina have established 11 congregations in the camps since their arrival. Edina has physically moved into one of the tents to be close to our people. She evangelizes, preaches, teaches and comforts the hurting. John is physically restrained because of severe recurring bouts of malaria, yet he visits the congregations as much as he can.

We also have an American Missionary, Pat Tully, who had been ministering in the difficult area of Sudan, and had to leave for safety reasons, relocating in Northern Uganda to work among the refugees there residing in a village near the camps. She works in close partnership with John Komi and his wife Edina.

COG superintendent for Eastern Africa, Joseph Kagarama, who resides in Uganda, reports over ten million people are starving due to climate changes, which has also added to the dilemma of the scarcity of food, as they cannot harvest any crops. Uganda’s economy relies on agriculture. The government has tried to intervene by distributing food, but with such an astronomical demand, it is not enough. Many households cannot even afford a single meal a day … pregnant women eat ants or termites to survive. The arrival of refugees from Southern Sudan has only escalated the crisis in Northern Uganda.

Field Director Peter Thomas further says: “We have started a Hunger Relief Program into these areas; however, the needs of the people are overwhelming. “ Church of God World Missions has already sent a substantial amount of money from Disaster Relief funds on more than one occasion to assist in hunger relief, but assistance is still needed here.

The situation is difficult to grasp if you are someone with plenty of food, shelter, and peace. Your prayers and support are needed in this time when natural disaster and violence have formed an unholy alliance.

Your prayer and financial support will sustain and provide hope for the refugees and people in Northern Uganda.

To partner in support, click here: Project #740-0196

 

 

 

 

LEE LIBERIA PROJECT UPDATE

In 2016, Lee University’s annual Missions Week promoted the Liberia Sustainable Freedom Project. Well-prepared Lee University students committed to continuing service to the Church of God Phebe Grey Orphanage in Paynesville, Liberia.

During a recent return trip, a Child Trauma Workshop was conducted and included 33 people—23 teachers and 10 staff members. Faculty at the school have no more than two years of formal training, and the subjects of post-traumatic stress and child sexual abuse are seldom, if ever, discussed.

A computer lab (10 computers) was set up last year equipped with computer bags and long-life batteries. An additional six computers were delivered on this trip, and monies from Lee Missions Week purchased Microsoft Office. This year, a router was installed which provides Wi-Fi.

Wifi is now operational at Phebe Grey.

The cost for the router and the monthly service will be funded for a year by Lee U. A generator supplies electricity for the lab. Ten extra computers are being refurbished for delivery shortly.

The six-member team also took 600 lbs. of equipment and supplies for the science lab. Phebe Grey staff had prepared a room in the basement of a would-be church, designating it for installation of the equipment. Computer desks and storage cabinets were built, as well.

Something extraordinary to this year’s trip was the flute playing of Jose Ruiz. Involving the children in his music brought great energy and a new dimension. Jose’s ability to make music happen in any space, his willingness to be flexible and creative, and his great talent made him an invaluable member of the team.

Two on-site librarians had stocked a useful library for the school with the 700 books donated on a prior trip. In addition, more books (300) were supplied, making the collection that exceeds 1000 volumes. The library has become a central part of the campus.

Of course, no educational program is complete without a scholarship provision. Nine Phebe Grey residents attended college this past scholastic year with funds provided by Lee U.

Envisioned for next year is to offer five two-week workshops for the children, so they will have an activity to do after school is out.

Team leader, Lee U. director of Faculty Development and professor of English, Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, had this to say: “What I love about this project is that the Liberians have totally taken charge of it, so I believe it will be sustainable. At some point, the computers will begin wear out, but we can develop a replacement plan. In the meantime, they have developed a wonderful, workable curriculum, and have someone dedicated and well-trained to administer the program.”

Click here to partner with Lee University and Church of God World Missions through online giving: Project #102-9402