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

THE BLOODWORTHS IN KENYA—DISCIPLESHIP COLLEGE

Missionaries Gordon, Glenda, and Laura Bloodworth are staying the course in assisting Discipleship College in Eldoret.

Morning devotions are held for ministers from across East Africa who meet on the campus, where leaders are being trained. Four of the graduates are teaching on campus, and Pastor Chris Chiveyia serves as Dean of Students and Campus Pastor. The Interim-Director of the College is Benea Alukwe, another graduate who finished his classroom work toward his Ph.D. Alukwe also serves as regional overseer and a member of the National Council of New Testament Church of God in Kenya … all proving how effective education is to this area of Africa.

Missionary educator Marcia Anderson celebrates with Discipleship the 15 graduates from the CIMS Program at Mt. Elgon. One of the Discipleship graduates, Nicas Wasike taught and graduated 37 students from his home!

The Bloodworths have served 42 years-plus in Africa, and deeply appreciate those who have been faithful in their support and prayers for their ministry.

Click here to give online in partnership with Gordon, Glenda and Laura Bloodworth

EMMA’S KIDS ORPHANAGE ADVANCES

Someone New …

Emma’s Kids in Zambia recently acquired a gift at their complex gate. Someone left an adorable baby girl, obviously knowing she would be well-looked after at the orphanage and school.

Social Welfare was contacted; the baby girl was taken to the police station and then to the hospital where she spent the first night, accompanied by Vivian, Emma’s Kids’ nurse. The national television network appealed for anyone to supply information about the baby, but no one as yet has come forward. The baby girl was named “Trinity,” and she brings joy to everyone.

Good Grades Achieved …

The Emma’s Kids Christian Academy celebrated 100 percent passing for Grades 7 and 12. One student, William, ranked second in 50 students, and number one in pure sciences among 13 other students. One of the young ladies, Memory Chanda, graduated from Teen Missions International, an organization based in the USA that prepares one for full-time missions work. Memory has been with Emma’s Kids since she was 6 years old.

The Kids’ Outreaches …

Whenever Emma’s Kids share their testimonies or participate in praise and worship, it is a humbling experience. The Kids continue working in the prison and assisting the homeless.

Youth Activity Center …

One goal of Emma’s Kids is to construct a Youth Activity Center for the kids and a center that will also include all youth in the community. Recently, there has been an increase in street kids appearing.

Humble Beginnings …

Although begun with a meager start years ago by Career Missionaries Rodger and Saundra Wikelund, Emma’s Kids is now experiencing the legacy it intended. Lives are changed, and the community receives benefit in many ways. What God has ordained will succeed.

Click here to give online: Project #715-0016

 

Blossoming of a Student on the Mission Field

What makes a student blossom?

This question makes me pause to think, because it is the dry season here in Kenya. In spite of the dryness, there are flowers blossoming, including some that have never bloomed in my garden before, like the ones pictured here. Surely, the sun causes them to burst forth in splendor.

God’s Call

What about students? What makes them blossom? I’m thinking about Aaron’s rod, which not only budded, but also blossomed and produced almonds. In Numbers 17, it was God’s choice, His anointing that caused Aaron’s rod to undergo such remarkable changes. Certainly God’s call is important in causing a student to flourish and the warmth of God’s love is a key factor for growth.

Trust In God

But, the dryness itself seems to be a factor. There are students who blossom even though they experience difficulties, though the soil seems not to be conducive for flourishing. I remember Marvin, a student at the Asian Seminary of Christian Ministries in Manila, Philippines. He never was sure if he would have tuition from one term to the next, yet he graduated. He commented he had noticed that students who had their way completely paid didn’t finish, but he had. He said, “I had to trust God all the way.” And God had not failed him.

The Soil Matters.

I’ve seen students struggle to survive, because they had sent themselves. There was no supporting community to say, “Yes, we see God’s hand upon this life.” God made sure the whole community saw that Aaron’s rod had blossomed: those alive at that time, and also those who would follow afterwards had seen the rod in the Ark of the Covenant that declared that Aaron was a chosen instrument of the Lord.

Watering the Plant

Certainly watering is an important factor. When the rains stop, plants still need water. After a period of dryness, grass will revive once water is applied, but other plants will die. I think students are like that. They cannot be ignored. They must be watered well with the Word. An institution must have qualified, God-centered faculty to make sure that happens. Not only are classes important, but also chapel, worship, and prayer times are vital to water the plant. For example, at Discipleship College, one of the people who makes a large difference in the growth of our students is the campus pastor or Dean of Students. He represents students in the administration and takes a personal interest in each student. He looks for their gifting and talents and nurtures them in chapel. We at Discipleship College recognize that mentoring is a key factor in enabling a student to blossom.

Community

The growing environment is very important. If plants are squeezed together and weeds are allowed to encroach, plants will not produce beautiful blossoms. At Discipleship College, students meet together to discuss important issues in Community of Faith, enjoy sports competitions, and have opportunities to minister at neighboring churches. We believe these contacts with other students and neighboring churches enrich their lives and ministries.

Lack of Peace

In Africa, one of the destabilizing factors is lack of peace. How can a student flourish when at home friends and family are being killed? Yet, these same countries desperately need to have quality ministers being prepared to communicate the gospel to a war-torn people. They definitely need scholarship help and your prayers to make it possible for them to bloom.

Lack of Resource

One of the weeds that can choke a student’s ability to blossom is lack of finances. While total reliance on a sponsor is often not healthy, many need a helping hand if they are to reach the goal in terms of education. You can help lighten that load with your giving.

Thank you for helping educate young Christian leaders!

Dr. Marcia Anderson spends her time passionately sharing the Living Water that is a fountain in her heart! She serves as a missionary and currently teaches at Discipleship College in Eldoret, Kenya.

 

To partner with Dr. Anderson click here: Project 060-0054

AFRICA DAY OF PRAYER

Peter Thomas, field director for the Church of God in Africa, recently joined Christopher Sabale, prayer coordinator for Africa, along with other leaders in the nation of Botswana for the first-ever All Africa Day of Prayer.

The call to prayer rose from a decision made by the African Council and national leaders at a Continental Congress last year. Thomas noted, “In light of the challenge before us, the battle for the continent of Africa, the massive need for evangelism and church-planting, we must pray—and we must pray as never before!”

Last year, in Zambia and Togo, national overseers and prayer leaders gathered for prayer mobilization and training. Fifty nations across Africa were involved in the All Africa Day of Prayer effort. Churches, prayer leaders, and intercessors in the United States and around the world are encouraged to continue praying for Africa.

No one realized when the initial date was set that it fell on Easter Sunday 2017. Thomas reflected: “For us, it was a good day—we prayed for a kind of spiritual resurrection across Africa, that the forgotten continent will be visited by God with a mighty spiritual awakening!”