West Field Coordinator shares Holiness Message at East/Central Field Regional Conference

–Monica Carr

Africa West Field Strategy Coordninator, Reverend Daniel Gomis, joined other speakers and more than 600 participants from the region and beyond at the Africa Regional conference in Nairobi, Kenya held at Africa Nazarene University from August 16th-21st.

Sunday morning, Nazarene Theological Seminary president, Dr. Carla Sunberg challenged listeners to change the world for Christ. As we love Christ, we will love others and want to serve them as Christ did, leading to Christ-like transformation of self and society.

Serving Christ through engaging fully in ministry was also a theme followed by General Superintendant Dr. Eugenio Duarte, keynote speaker, at the East Africa field ordination service. Giving a moving personal testimony of how he passed up a coveted engineering scholarship to pastor a local church in Cape Verde and contrasting the actions of Judas and Peter when faced with confusion in ministry, he reminded his listeners that ministers of the gospel do well to keep an attitude of gratitude, maintain fellowship and take advantage of opportunities to nourish the soul.

In the Sunday evening service, Regional director Dr. Filimao Chambo shared from Isaiah 52:10 “ . . .Prepare the Way of the Lord . . .” His testimony of his grandmother’s frequent prayer at the breakfast table reminded his audience of how we should be thankful for a godly heritage as well as challenging us not to grow complacent. As Romans 10:13-15 reminds us “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?

This key idea of sending and going that we might make Christ-like disciples in the nations was infused in teaching throughout the week, from Dr. Sunberg’s session on the need for discipleship, to workshops lead by dischipleship ministries coordinator Rev. Daphne Mathebula and others, to inspiring personal testimonies of African missionaries like Reverend Friday Ganda, called to “Prepare the Way of the Lord” in new areas of Africa, to panel discussions focused on missions led by East Field Coordinator Rev. Don Gardener and in brainstorming sessions headed by global missions director Dr. Verne Ward.

During early morning and late night prayer, during the worship music of ANU and Rwanda’s New Generation worship teams, in the dance of the Maasai, and during the powerful, spirit-filled holiness messages shared by Reverend Daniel Gomis, over and again the cry was raised for Africans to go out and reach other African’s for Jesus. As Rev. Gomis shared our time is now. Like Daniel, we are to come in the name of the Lord. Though the devil tries to make believers think they are still slaves, we have been liberated. We are no longer like a caged lion, but a lion roaming free, ready to go and share the good news with others, ready to sing a redemption song so that others, too, might know of Christ’s perfect and transforming love.

(Read more in Out of Africa, http://archive.constantcontact.com)

 

Pastor Fullah thanks global church for support, prayers during Ebola quarantine

news@africanazarene.org

“We belong to a worldwide family that cares for us”

In February, the Amazing Grace Church of the Nazarene in Ogoo Farm, Sierra Leone, lost a beloved leader, Mrs. Isatu Fullah, to Ebola.

Sister Isatu was the mother of five children, ages 4 to 16, and the wife of Rev. James Fullah, pastor of Amazing Grace Church. She was a pillar of the church who worked hard to serve her family and minister to people, Sierra Leone District Superintendent Rev. Vidal Cole said.

When Isatu contracted the virus, the rest of the Fullah family was quarantined in their home. About a week into quarantine, two of the daughters started showing symptoms and were taken to an Ebola clinic. At the clinic, the 6-year-old daughter tested positive for the virus. At that point, the rest of the family’s quarantine period, which normally lasts 21 days, started over.

“This was a very difficult time for us,” Pastor James Fullah said in a letter to Monica Carr, the communications coordinator for the Africa West Field.

“We were mourning the death of our loved one, and at the same time we were stigmatized by many people in the community,” he wrote. “Many thought we would become sick and die, one after the other, within seven days. We thought of ourselves like Daniel in the lions’ den.”

Fear of the terrible disease penetrated their hearts, he said, but the family continued to pray and trust God.

“(We believed) that the God who delivered Daniel from the lions was with us and would also deliver us from the deadly Ebola virus through prayer,” he wrote.

During this difficult time, very few relatives visited the Fullah family because of fear that Ebola would spread.

“But praise be to God. My spiritual family, the Church of the Nazarene, visited us every week of the four weeks of quarantine,” Pastor Fullah wrote. “I am grateful to Rev. Vidal Cole, our district superintendent, and Pastor Marie Kamara for their prayers, support and comfort to us. They and other members of the church called me on the phone to ask (about) our welfare.”

Local churches in Sierra Leone sent money, rice, palm oil and other cooking items, Fullah said. Donations, prayers and support also poured in from believers throughout Africa and around the world.

“I am also grateful to the entire Church of the Nazarene, for Nazarene people outside Sierra Leone also sent words of comfort to us. This helps us to (be) aware more and more that we belong to a worldwide family that cares for us,” Pastor Fullah wrote.

On April 1, Rev. Cole sent the joyous news that the Fullah family had completed their quarantine period, and each family member, including the two daughters who were in the Ebola clinic, were declared Ebola free.

“Glory to God!” Rev. Cole wrote. “He is faithful and worthy to be praised.”

Pastor Fullah expressed his gratitude to the global church family and praised God for answering prayers.

“My two girls who were sick have been given a complete recovery by God, and the rest of the family was not infected,” he wrote. “All is well with us now in Jesus name.”

Churches Care for Children Orphaned by Ebola

–by Holly Beech  (www.africanazarene.org/out-of-africa)

WEST AFRICA – The Ebola outbreak left in its wake thousands of orphans who are now trying to navigate life without their parents. Nazarene churches in two of the most affected countries, Sierra Leone and Liberia, are weaving together a safety net to help some of these children stay in school and experience the love of God.

“We really have the hearts to help, to reach out to these children and show them some love, because that is the first thing that they need,” Sierra Leone District Superintendent Rev. Vidal Cole said. “We want … to do whatever we can so that these children will not think that society has forgotten about them, that the world has turned their backs on them.”

Twenty orphans in Sierra Leone and 26 in Liberia are attending school through sponsorships from local Nazarene churches and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM).

Local churches, working hand-in-hand with NCM, have also instigated the “21 and Free” campaign, an effort to educate communities about Ebola and reduce the stigma against Ebola orphans and survivors.

“This campaign has been a great tool for our pastors and young people in reaching out to our various communities with the message that these children should be treated well, with dignity and respect, without any stigma attached to them,” said Pastor Steven S. Kanu, the Nazarene Church’s zone coordinator for the Waterloo area in Sierra Leone.

The church in Liberia has created a Community Health Evangelism Team, led by Elizabeth Johnson. Mrs. Johnson is providing counseling for 11 Ebola orphans and 22 survivors in Monrovia.

Nazarenes in Liberia are also funding the education of the two youngest children of Nazarene Pastor Joe Sonkpah and his wife, Mrs. Hannah Sonkpah, who both died from Ebola in October. The family’s church, Grace Chapel Church of the Nazarene, along with others on the district are working together to care for the children’s physical and spiritual needs, said Rev. Daniel Johnson, the Nazarene ministries coordinator in Liberia.

The Sonkpah siblings, ages 16 through 31, are thankful for the help, 24-year-old Gabriel Sonkpah said, but at times they still face food shortages.

Churches’ efforts are making a difference, but there are still many orphans in need of food and access to education, Pastor Kanu said. The Nazarene primary school run by his church is sponsoring the education of 20 orphans, with the help of other churches in the district. But this is only scratching the surface of the need, he said.

“As some children have heard and seen what we have done in helping, they have also come and asked for help, but because of the space we have put them on a waiting list,” Kanu said.

There are more than 16,600 children who have lost a parent or caregiver to Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia – including 3,600 children who lost both parents, according to UNICEF. Thankfully, the spread of the disease has dropped drastically, and Liberia was declared Ebola-free this month.

With the vast number of orphans, Rev. Cole intends to explore possible partnerships between the Church and other organizations that are also trying to help.

Though orphans are often taken in by relatives, they still might face emotional neglect and a shortage of resources, Cole said. Farming is the main source of income for families in the Waterloo area, and adding another person to an already crowded home and stretched budget is challenging, he said.

Some orphans live on the streets and try to find work in petty trading, domestic jobs and farming, Kanu said. But they are vulnerable to being taken advantage of, and when the day’s work is done, they don’t always receive the food or money they were promised.

MEETING EDUCATIONAL NEEDS 

A big focus for the Church is helping orphans to stay in school. Education fees often eat up a big chunk of household incomes, making it difficult for children to go to school*.

“In spite of the economic hardship caused by the Ebola outbreak, the Church of the Nazarene in Liberia is making tremendous effort to meet the educational needs of Ebola orphans,” Rev. Johnson said.

Even before the Ebola outbreak, large percentages of children in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea weren’t in school. Attendance at primary schools among school-aged children was only 58 percent in Guinea, 34 percent in Liberia and 74 percent in Sierra Leone, according to UNICEF.

In Sierra Leone there’s another hurdle: visibly pregnant girls have been banned from going to school. The government mandate also prevents the girls from attending Nazarene schools, Cole said.

“The church is engaged with ministering to (the girls) on a one-to-one basis, and we are also helping the communities to understand their situation and reduce the stigma,” Cole said.

EMPOWERMENT FOR THE FUTURE 

More than just meeting the immediate needs of children orphaned by Ebola, the church is seeking to empower them for the future through education, loving relationships and discipleship.

“The church here in Sierra Leone, we really desire to see these children turn out and be good leaders in society, … people that know God, people that have gone through the crisis and come out successful (and) victorious,” Cole said.

The Church’s outreach throughout the Ebola crisis has drawn more children to church and has changed the way people view the purpose of the church, Cole said. They are realizing that church is not just about worshiping on Sunday, but it’s about caring for one’s neighbors.

“By God’s grace, I see the church as a beacon of hope and light to our dark community,” Pastor Kanu said. “I believe God wants to use us to bring about transformation in our community.”

GET INVOLVED

If you would like to learn more about how you can help with the Nazarene Church’s Ebola relief efforts, please contact the Africa Region. You may also visit Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ Ebola relief page to make a donation.

*Sources for education costs: United Nations Development Programme and IRIN News

Well-drilling bring fresh water, gospel message to West African villages

–Holly Beech  (www.africanazarene.org/out-of-africa)

SENEGAL – A team of well drillers led by Rev. Tim Eby, the Nazarene Church’s district superintendent in Senegal, has touched the lives of thousands of people in West Africa by bringing a fresh water source and the message of Jesus Christ to thirsty villages.

The well-drilling ministry, EmmanuWell Ministries Africa, has drilled about 12 wells in Senegal over the past two years. The wells are funded by individual donors, churches from various denominations, and The Christian Broadcasting Network.

“This is a region of the world that only receives a very small percentage of rain every year. We’re lucky to get two months of rain out the year,” Rev. Eby said. “Most of the villages either have a poor source of water or no source. They’re traveling long distances just to get water to survive on.”

In 2004, only 64 percent of rural Senegalese had access to safe drinking water, according to the United Nations Development Programme. Several organizations have been working to bring that number up.

The change that fresh water brings to a community is enormous, Eby said. People contract fewer illnesses; young girls’ days are no longer consumed by hours-long treks to retrieve water; the well being of the village dramatically increases, he said.

But for Eby and his crew, the wells are about more than just physical health. The group is also concerned about the thirst in people’s souls.

“The power of the wells is that bringing fresh water brings you the chance to tell somebody about the Living Water. And ultimately their thirst, which is physical and very real, pales in comparison to their spiritual thirst,” Eby said. “They live in fear and darkness. … We offer hope and light in a place that is full of darkness and hopelessness.”

Eby told a story of when the crew was drilling in a village where witchcraft was prevalent. It was the first time they were using a large, high-tech well-drilling machine called the Hydra-Fab. Each time the crew drilled, something went wrong. Chains broke. Sand caved in and buried the drill. Time and time again, the group drilled unsuccessfully.

“It was one of the greatest spiritual battles that I had ever had,” Eby said.

A grandmother in the village asked them to stop drilling, saying every time they did, she heard screaming.

“I told the team, ‘This machine is not making any noise. It’s the fact that we’re drilling in the devil’s back yard,'” Eby said. “‘If we succeed here, then we’re going to prove that Christ is more powerful than Satan’s attacks.'”

On the seventh try, the group succeeded. The grandmother eventually came to the Christian leaders, who were also reaching out to the children in the village, and said, “I need to be delivered,” according to Eby. They prayed for her for several hours until she testified about having freedom from the voices that had haunted her.

“You look at this lady’s face, and she is totally different,” Eby said. “From her victory, we had 27 people come to Christ and were baptized, and we started a church there.”

The village of about 2,000 people gave the Nazarene Church land for a building, Eby said. He hopes that a new building will be paid for through an agricultural project that the church is launching in Senegal called the Joseph Project.

“We’re hoping that out of the agriculture project, when we sell the crops we’ll have enough money to build a church,” he said. “We can’t wait for money to come from the outside to build a local church. We have to get the resources from within.”

The work of EmmanuWell is expanding from Senegal to other parts of West Africa to improve access to water and share the gospel message.

“It’s pretty hard to preach the Gospel without meeting the need. And the physical and the spiritual need are both there, so you can’t meet one without the other,” Eby said. “Our goal is not just to put a well in an area but to help the community to be transformed physically and spiritually. And with that testimony, village after village, we hope to win them for Christ.”

 

Contact: To donate to EmmanuWell or to learn more, email Rev. Tim Eby, teby@awfcon.org

 

 

Fullah Family Finish Quarantine

–Reverand Vidal Cole,  Freetown
It is with great joy that I write to inform you that Pastor James Fullah and his family have completed their quarantine period and they have been declared Ebola free. Glory to God! He is faithful and worthy to be praised.
As you may recall, after the death of Mrs. Isatu Fullah, the wife of Pastor Fullah, two of their daughters, Musu age 16 and Yeabu age 6, also showed signs and symptoms of the virus. Yeabu was the first to show signs and was taken to the Ebola center. After some weeks Pastor Fullah became worried because he was not hearing any news about her. I worked with our leadership team to help trace his daughter. By the grace of God, we were able to get in touch with some officials at the Ebola command center and recently received news that she was recovering and doing well. Upon arriving at the center, Yeabu had tested positive for Ebola and she was transferred to another center for treatment. After some weeks in the new center, she began to show signs of recovery and by the grace of God she has now being declared healed and Ebola free.
Musu was the second to show symptoms of Ebola and was also taken to the center for testing. After a short stay there, she was returned home because the test proved negative.
It was quite a scene in the community, as Pastor Fullah’s quarantine period was declared over and Yeabu was released to the family. The entire community burst out in praise and thanksgiving to God for what they considered a mighty and great deliverance from death. For the most part, whenever Ebola enters a family, it almost wipes out the entire family. In this case, the people were very grateful to God for sparing the two Fullah girls.
On behalf of the Fullah family and the entire Sierra Leone District, I want to express our profound gratitude to you and the entire Nazarene family worldwide for your love, support and prayers. We believe that if this family is rejoicing today, it is because of the prayers of our wonderful Nazarene family around the globe that kept believing and trusting The Lord for His divine intervention in this family. We are extremely delighted to be a part of this great and wonderful family. May The good Lord continue to bless and keep us all and may He bring an end to this menace in the West Africa sub region, Amen.

Free from the Ebola virus

but not from stigma – by Holly Beech.

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE – In December, nine of the people in Nazarene Theological Institute student Clarence Labor’s neighborhood contracted the Ebola virus. Seven of them died.

Labor and his fiance  and children were quarantined for 21 days, not knowing if they too had Ebola. Thankfully, they all came through the quarantine period virus-free.

Even though they are healthy, the family is now treated differently by the rest of the community. People don’t want to interact with them. Vendors don’t want to sell them anything.

“Many people are afraid because they thought that after the quarantine we could still spread the virus to them,” Labor said.

Before he was quarantined, Labor and his neighbors were friendly and shared with each other. Now people often avoid him. “Those are my saddest moments,” he said.

“People used to talk to me. We used to do things together,” he said. “Now they run away from me.”

Labor said he has found comfort through his church, Faith Community Church of the Nazarene in Freetown. While he was quarantined, pastors and church members would bring him food, call him and pray for him and his family.

“Church, the fellowship, those are my happiest times,” Labor said.

Rev. Vidal Cole, the district superintendent and pastor of Overcomers Assembly Church of the Nazarene, said the 70 Nazarene churches in Sierra Leone are spreading the message that when individuals have survived Ebola or have made it through quarantine, they should be welcomed in and not treated as a threat.

This has caused new people to join the church, Cole said, because it’s a place they feel welcome. Churches have even experienced revival in the midst of the crisis, he said, and attendance has gone up.

CHURCH RESPONDS TO ECONOMIC, SOCIAL CHALLENGES

Sierra Leone has had the highest number of Ebola cases, with more than 10,740 cases and 3,276 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

The crisis has caused many schools, shops, businesses and mining operations to shut down, eliminating jobs and leaving several families with no income.

“The economic crisis is getting harder every day,” Cole said. “Our currency is declining. Prices of food commodities are going up seriously, so much that it’s difficult for people to buy.”

In rural areas, farmers who have been quarantined often return home to find that their crops have been harvested and stolen, Cole said.

Nazarene churches have distributed rice to more than 700 families, supplied through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. They are also educating the community about Ebola and how it spreads. Each church has a tap bucket filled with chlorine water where members of the community come to wash their hands.

“Every local church in this community, they are doing this kind of work and sending a very big message to the community around,” Cole said.

But there is not enough food to meet the demand. “No, it’s never enough at all. Because this is what we eat every day, and here the families are large,” Cole said. “It’s normally a husband, wife, many children, brother, sister, cousin, father, mother, extended family.”

The Church in Sierra Leone is praying for an economic recovery and for the complete eradication of Ebola.

 

 

 

Radio—Reaching the Out of Reach

–By Tee Latham and Monica Carr

When Emmanuel Dehpue refused a blood test it made headlines. His 11 year-old niece, Josephine, was the first to die of Ebola in Karnplay, Liberia, followed by her father Mr. Joseph Kantuah and Emmanuel’s sister-in-law. Emmanuel and his wife Reta, their children, and Joseph’s widow Victoria and her children, along with 24 others were put in quarantine. Some, like Victoria and her son Prince, came down with symptoms and were treated at the ELWA treatment center, while Emmanuel and others waited helplessly at the quarantine center. During this difficult time of isolation, one source of hope for Emmanuel came in the form of a radio devotional, broadcast by the Church of the Nazarene. The Biblical message of Christ’s redeeming love touched him.

When he was released from quarantine, Emmanuel and his extended family 
returned to their farm in Younlay and were devastated to discover that thieves had harvested all of their cocoa crops, and their rice crops had failed in their absence. The family now had nothing to live on. During this hard time of transition, Pastor Tee Latham, who also works with the radio ministry, came to visit the family. He prayed for the family, shared the gospel with them, and invited them to a revival conference at the Younlay church. There, the entire family received Christ as Lord. Please pray for the Dehpue and Kantuah families as they resettle, while mourning the loss of loved ones, as well as for the Younlay church.

Revival in Freetown

By Vidal Cole–
In Freetown, our church has been experiencing God’s presence in diverse ways. Even before the Ebola crisis, we held a three day fasting and prayer revival meeting every month. This has reached a whole new level over recent months. This month, we started the revival yesterday and for the first time in these monthly revivals we broke the 50 people barrier on the first day.
In previous months, it was only on Friday’s that we have had close to 50 in attendance. Yesterday, however, we had an attendance of 65 and today we had 79. The tempo is really building, and we are looking forward to what the Lord will do in our midst. There have been diverse testimonies such as God’s grace working in deeper ways in their lives in terms of time spent in prayer, the study of God’s word, and the desire for a work of holiness in their lives, God’s protection,  goodness, mercy and provision throughout this crisis time.
In general, I can sense that there’s is a rising hunger and thirst in the hearts of many and it’s just awesome to see what God is doing even in a crisis time like this.
We are experiencing God’s presence in great ways during the praise and worship; some people burst out in praise; others prostrate before The Lord in worship; others kneel, cry. It’s just amazing. Every night after preaching, I do two altar calls, the first for salvation and the second for sanctification. Recently, two young men from another major religion got saved and they have never missed a service after that. There is so much excitement in church these days and no one wants to miss out, whether it’s on Sunday’s or week days; every week comes with a new excitement and longing to experience God in deeper ways.
It’s not all bad news as paraded by the media; God is doing something in the midst of it all.

Thanksgiving for Rice in Sierra Leone

By Vidal Cole–

The news of the provision of rice for the Nazarene churches in the Sierra Leone district was greeted with great joy and delight by the section leaders and the pastors. As a result of the Ebola outbreak; many people lost their jobs and their source of income making it difficult to provide food for themselves and their families. Rice is the staple food in Sierra Leone; however, because of its rising cost the majority of the people are struggling to provide it for their families. The news that a bag of rice was to be shared in every church brought with it much celebration. The distribution went well and all the intended beneficiaries received rice. A total of 68 churches and church plants spread across five sections in the Sierra Leone District received rice: including four in Freetown, Lumely, Waterloo, Kissy and Central, as well as one in the eastern part of the country, Segbwema.

Many, like Pastor Steven Kanu of Waterloo, shared their thanks:

I am very happy for this rice. So many people have died in my section area (Waterloo). Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether they died of Ebola or hunger. The truth, however, is that we are not just fighting Ebola–we are also fighting hunger. This rice calls for much celebration because it came at the right time when our people are desperate for food but cannot afford it . . .

Pastor David Manna from Kissy shared:

I thank God and NCM for this rice. After I informed the pastors in my section about this rice . . . they told me that in some of their churches the people, upon hearing the news, began to sing and dance. They expressed that the Church of the Nazarene has done good things for them . . .

From Segbwema, Pastor Emmanuel Jusu Francis gives this praise:

As a section we are very grateful to God for the rice. Because we find ourselves in a quarantined area, life has been really difficult for us. Our people have been used to going to the farm and getting food for themselves, but with the present situation nothing has been moving– no farming, no business no income; it has really been tough. This rice has made my people very happy, that the church has remembered them in a crisis like this, and their hearts are filled with joy.

Pastor Marie Kamara says:

Many of our people have been struggling to find food and I know that this rice will bring relief to them. This will help the church know that we are doing our best to help in diverse ways to show them our love and care during this difficult time in the country.

The Church of the Nazarene in Sierra Leone is extremely thankful for this consignment of rice. We appreciate it very much and we are grateful to God and to NCM for making this possible.

Praises for Ebola Survivors

By Daniel Johnson–

At the Good News Church of the Nazarene in Monrovia, one member contracted the Ebola Virus Disease and several others were quarantined.

Mrs. Betty Bonner, a member of the Good News Church of the Nazarene was discharged from the Island Hospital ETU, where she tested positive for the deadly Ebola viral disease and subsequently treated; her husband and children were quarantined for 21 days.

We are thankful to God that Mrs. Bonner is a survivor of Ebola, and her children and husband went through the 21 days of observation with none of them contracting the virus. The Bonner family reunited with the Good News Church of the Nazarene family in Monrovia on Sunday, November 16, 2014.

Sando Welloh contracted the Ebola virus and died a few days later. While she was sick she was cared for by her mother, Frances Welloh (a Nazarene); after the death of her daughter, she was quarantined for 21 days. We praise the Lord that Frances did not contract the Ebola virus as well.

Bro. Gabriel Swen (a Nazarene) took care of a sick person in his community, who later was confirmed dead of the Ebola virus. Brother Gabriel, like the others went through the period of 21 days of observation; and as the Lord would have it, he remained Ebola free.

To God be the glory for great and marvelous things He has done for His people and His church.