AWARI Leadership Africa

Written by: Daniel Abdou Karim Lucien GOMIS

Africa West Field, Field Strategy Coordinator
Church of the Nazarene, Africa

Greetings,

The goal of the Awari leadership blog is to share my readings and thoughts on leadership. In this first issue, I am sharing notes from Africa’s Enigma and Leadership Solutions by the late Dr Tokunboh Adeyemo, General Editor of the Africa Bible Commentary and author of Is Africa Cursed?

In this excellent little book, Dr Tokunboh is addressing basic issues in leadership in Africa and suggesting solutions.

Africa’s Enigma (p.1-14).

In his first chapter, he discusses Africa’s enigma of having a rich soil with precious minerals, hydropower potential, solar power possibilities, abundant labor force compared with the dire poverty, the hunger, the low incomes, the injustices and dehumanization. He concludes with the words of the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe: “We have lost the twentieth century, are we bent on seeing that our children also lose the twenty century?” In reality, for decades, Africa has had bosses – not leaders. This yoke needs to be broken.

What is the AfrIca’s leadership yoke? (p.15-20).

A yoke is a wooden piece fastened over the necks of two oxen and attached to a plough or wagon… It can have a positive or a negative meaning; in respect to the leadership scenario in Africa, Dr Tokunboh is using the “yoke” in the latter sense.

“I think what you do as a writer depends on the state of your society” Chinua Achebe. This is not only true for the writer, but also for the leader especially in Africa. It is imperative to understand the African worldview in order to be more effective as leaders.

Dr Tokunboh reminds us that: “… the African worldview is mystically anthropomorphic. Ubuntu Wa Mubuntu: “I am because we are.”

The major cardinals and values of this worldview includes:

  1. People-centered philosophy. This means that people matter more than things including time. It is believed that the gods exist for the welfare of people and their worship is purely utilitarian.
  2. Community. An African is not an individual in a technical sense but a being-in-community, a part of an organic whole.
  3. Respect for age and near deification of the aged. Elders are the repository of history and interpreters of events.
  4. Holistic approach to reality. The mystical worldview does not divide between sacred and secular, spiritual and material, and between the state and religious institution. To an Africa, religion is not just a department of life disciplines, rather, it is the hub that holds life together.
  5. Toleration of other religions. What drives traditional religiosity is the simple question: does it work?
  6. Events-orientation rather than linear time-keeping. 
  7. Sense of shame rather than guilt. Morality is tied to community acceptance.
  8. Possession of power. African believe that in the constant cosmic struggles, man can acquire life force or power through divination, sorcery or by allying with ancestral powers to manipulate elemental forces and ward-off contrary spirits.
  9. Ritual attachment to land and the dead. 
  10. Religious explanation of whatever happens. This borders on superstition at best and fatalism at worst.

 

A worldview has nothing good or bad per se, as it the way people perceive their world and it is informed by their experience, their beliefs and their values. However, the implications of a worldview can also seriously affect its leadership practice.

Implications of the African worldview

  • A mystical explanation of events that excuses taking personal responsibilities for failures, or looks for scapegoats is a popular excuse over Africa.
  • Too strong a tribal or ethnic tie that promotes nepotism and fuels ethnic hatred and total disregards for others ‘human rights is a bane of the entire society in the long run.
  • Ritual attachment to land that produces “settlers” rather than “pioneers” and slows down economic development and progress is not uncommon.
  • Preoccupation with the past and present blinds people’s eyes and weakens strategic planning for the future. On the positive side, it minimizes anxiety.
  • Youth are excluded from decision-making and leadership on the grounds of lack of experience and/or marital status. Such practices can be de-motivating and retrogressive.
  • Positions and power are usually retained for life in traditional political structures and opposition as we know it in modern democracy is not tolerated.

Pastor Mensa Otabil comes to the conclusion that Africa’s enigma cannot be resolved until African culture is dealt with: “The immortal head of the African hydra is the culture that produces the African. This is the stronghold to pull-down.”

Dear friends, what comes to mind when we prayerfully and honestly reflect on these thoughts?

Beauty from Ashes in Ebola


Beauty from Ashes in Ebola Weary West Africa
By Monica Carr
While the world watches on in fear as the deadly Ebola snake strikes down one victim after another, there are those who are soldiering on with one foot on the snake’s head and both hands outstretched to those in need. Some have paid the price with their very lives like Rev. Joe and Hannah Sonkpah of Monrovia, Liberia, who helped a pregnant woman with Ebola. They are our heroes, heroes unsung by the media, heroes reflecting the true nature of Christ–Christ who laid down his life so others might live. In Sierra Leone, also shadowed by Ebola, Rev. Vidal Cole, observes, “In the midst of fear, God has been our source of hope and strength. We have chosen to stand upon His Word and put our trust in Him and He has really proved Himself faithful. We believe this is the time for the Church in Sierra Leone to arise and shine in the midst of darkness.” Isaiah 60:1-3 proclaims:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth . . . but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
This brightness shines through the actions of pastors in Waterloo who organized a prayer revival as a way to confront the virus. Pastor Kanu reported. “Fifty-five people gave their lives to Christ during the revival. Many testified that their spiritual life was strengthened. They felt empowered; their hope and courage was restored to go back and face the reality of the current situation.” In Kissy, local churches engage in personal evangelism. Pastor Manna describes. “As we go, we share the Word of God and let [our neighbors] know that in such times Jesus is the only hope. Our message has been greatly welcomed as it is very different from the message of fear.” Many people have come to Christ, and are now in discipleship classes. Lives are being transformed. When children in Lumley were no longer able to attend school because of Ebola, several pastors decided to reach out and minister to them. Pastor Marie shares. “Our youth are very excited with this initiative.” Many young people have come to the saving knowledge of Christ, and we are now planning to begin a discipleship class for them. Because of this outreach we are also experiencing growth in our churches. We are very grateful for what God is doing and we give Him all the glory.”
These praises in Sierra Leone echo Paul’s testimony:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but
not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not
destroyed . . .Therefore we do not lose heart . . .For our light and
momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far
outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16,17)

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Hygiene Response


“On October 5, 2015 the Liberia, Monrovia District distributed hygiene supplies, including 3 small boxes of soap and 30 tap -buckets to local congregations in Monrovia and its environs. The distribution exercise took place at the Grace Chapel Church of the Nazarene in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island on the out sketch of Monrovia the capital.”
Submitted by Rev. Daniel Johnson. Liberia Country Coordinator

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Prayer Response to Ebola in S. Leone


Since the 3 days shutdown (Three-day nationwide stay at home campaign initiated by the Government) for this weekend (Friday – Sunday) was confirmed in the news, it’s like a spirit of gloominess and depression descended over our nation, Sierra Leone. As a church we have however chosen a different attitude.

I will therefore like you to inform our brethren in Africa West Field and the church as a whole that the Church of the Nazarene in Sierra Leone has chosen to use the 3 days as a time to seek the Lord through fasting and prayer for Sierra Leone and for every other nation that is affected by the Ebola virus.

Since no services are allowed and no one is permitted to go out of their house on those days (while they check house to house for those who are sick), our strategy is that all of us will be praying in our homes on an hourly chain prayer basis. This will be going on in all of the sections in the country even the provinces. The church of the Nazarene is a praying church, therefore we are not going to sit down and watch the enemy ravage our nation and those close to us, we are going to arise and say NO to the enemy – Enough is Enough!!!!! West Africa must be set free.

We are going to arise and call upon the name of the Lord our God and we believe He will hear from heaven and forgive and heal our land. We are going to lay hold on the faithfulness of God and cry out to Him for deliverance from this plague.

We are asking that our brethren join us in at least 1 hour of prayer each day during those 3 days or however they may feel comfortable to do it.

 

Suggested Prayer Points are as follows:

  • For courage, wisdom and strength for those who are providing leadership during this time of national crisis.
  • That those working to combat this disease will work in harmony and for God in His sovereignty to wipe out this disease from all affected nations
  • For good stewardship of the resources that are coming into the country’s coffers to deal with this epidemic.
  • For the rapid deployment of medical professionals and erection strategically located treatment centers.
  • For encouragement, courage, strength, safety and endurance for those on the front line tending those who are already infected.
  • For creativity, insight and vision for those entrusted with the task of informing and educating the populace about Ebola. Also for quick access to those in remote areas.
  • For God’s provision of food and other needs during the shutdown.
  • That shipment of medical supplies will get to the country on time and rapidly distributed to all the affected areas.
  • That the Holy Spirit will take away fear from the hearts of the people and turn their hearts to the Lord
  • That the fire of revival will break forth in the church and that the Holy Spirit will rekindle passion for God and evangelism in the heart of believers.

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Children in Togo Praying

Picture Above:  Children of an orphanage run by Nazarenes in Togo praying for God to get Ebola out of West Africa.
Togo is one of the fifteen countries of the Africa West Africa and it has not been affected by Ebola. However, these children and many others are praying for all the children who are dying or living in fear and difficult conditions in the Ebola stricken countries.

 

 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7.13-14.

  • Have a time of fasting and a time of prayer at least once a week
  • Pray for God to bind any fear and loose peace in the hearts of the people of West Africa
  • Pray for our district superintendents, pastors, leaders, and churches in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Conakry, that the Lord will use them powerfully as agents of hope and salt and light of Jesus in these difficult days
  • Pray for God’s wisdom and protection over the medical doctors and health personnel in the Ebola-affected countries
  • Pray for God’s wisdom for the head of nations and decision makers in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea Conakry
  • Inform and educate by checking the World Health Organization and International SOS websites for updates

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Print Shop in Ouagadougou

A Print Shop is Born in Ouagadougou

Submitted by John Watton – Coordinator for West Africa Nazarene Publishing
Stepping Stones of Progress

Production for the French Speaking African Nations

In partnership with Christian Literature for Africa, another printing location has been created on the Africa West Field. Located in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and championed by Rev. Joesph Tiendrebeogo, this new print shop will serve the publication needs of the fast growing work in the Sahel area of our Field.

With good transport connections to the French speaking countries of Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo, Benin and Niger, the Ouagadougou print shop is poised to help raise up Christ-like disciples by making available much needed discipleship literature.

Although the print shop is still in its fledgling state, the first step has been taken by the establishment of a suitable location and the installation of a strong and beautiful CLA Risograph machine!

May this new endeavour impact the Kingdom of God down through the years — by doing what it does best— enabling the printing of quality materials at a locally contextualized price!

jwatton@awfcon.org

Tap Buckets for Community


Tap Buckets Tap Into Sense of Community Well-being
By Monica Carr and Vidal Cole

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in West Africa has partnered with local leaders to provide valuable tap buckets to many churches in Sierra Leone.  Five areas: Lumley, Central City, Kissy, Waterloo and Segbwema received a total of 60 tap buckets.

At each location, the pastor/leader gathered with the people in the community, including church and local leaders, to discuss Ebola prevention strategies.  At the end of the health training session, the Church of the Nazarene gifted the tap buckets to the entire community so that everyone could use them to wash their hands.  Additionally, a church member was assigned to care for the bucket and keep it ready for daily use.

The gift of tap buckets has been a great blessing. Country coordinator Rev. Vidal Cole has received various testimonies.  One pastor shared, “We now have extra confidence to minister among the people and they really know we care about them.” A pastor from Kissy describes the sense of community and well being the tap bucket provides.

Every morning when the church fills its bucket with chlorinated water . . .everyone in the community is welcomed and encouraged to wash their hands as they pass by. This has brought much joy to the people in the community; it is a way of ministering to them and letting them know that the church cares not only for their spiritual life but for their health also . . . the church has made it’s presence felt and the people are very much encouraged.

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