Nigeria Southeast–Champion for Missions

The Nigeria Southeast District, Church of the Nazarene, is the first phase three (self-supporting) district on the West Africa field. One advantage of being a phase three district is that delegates can vote at General Assembly (the premier international legislative convention for the Church of the Nazarene.) An exemplary district, Nigeria Southeast stands out as a district big on giving; members share their talents, time and resources, both in the local churches and in missions.

Following is an interview with Reverend Okokon Eshiet, District Superintendent of the Nigeria Southeast District.

How long has the Nazarene Church been active in your district?

The church started in 1946 when a soldier from Nigeria returned from Burma. In Burma, he met a Nazarene Chaplain who led him to the Lord. The chaplain gave him a tract and a Nazarene Manual. When the soldier returned to Nigeria, he found a church that was started in the Southeast of Nigeria and he showed the leaders the manual. They decided to call themselves the Church of the Nazarene and in 1988 they became a part of the Church of the Nazarene.

Can you tell me about your mission program?

The district has been involved in sending missionaries to Lagos, a city of 20 million and Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. There are 37 “states” in Nigeria and, step by step, we want to reach the different states. We are raising funds in the district to support missions.

We encourage each active member to give about 35 cents a month for their upkeep. We also pray for the missionaries we send. We are planning to send someone to start the church in Calabar. We want to start the Church in the capitals of each state and then move to the “jungle.” It is easier to go from the city to the “jungle” than to go from the jungle to the city. As we start churches in the new states we have been using primary schools for a place of worship. Now, the government does not allow us to meet in primary schools, so we try to rent a small room for the church or buy land if we are able.

When we are starting a new church, we call an established church to come to be a part of a joint service and we endeavor to support the new church.

The youth have been instrumental in planting new churches. They had a soccer match with a village and then had an outreach in that village and started a church with youth.

Q: How do you inspire people to be involved in missions?

We have National Mission Institution and a National Missions Council and they help us to focus on missions. There are workshops and seminars at the zonal level. Our NMI president is a female pastor and she visits churches and encourages them to be involved. At our district convention, there are many facilitators and they have different sessions for the youth, women, married, single, and widows. We would like to reach a new Nigeria state every year. Rev. Friday Udofia, our missionary in Lagos, is now working in three states. When we go into a new state, we want to gradually develop a pioneer district and then develop a regular district. We encourage people who are called to be involved in Nazarene Theological Institute. We have many youth who are taking courses at the Nazarene Theological Institute, including some college graduates.

We have also worked on supporting the youth through the Youth Church Initiative and youth empowerment. We have people who have expertise in various technical skills and they provide training to two or three others. For example, one man has carpentry skills and he taught three others and then each one of those trained at least one other.

How do you encourage people to give?

We teach and we demonstrate by example. Sometimes small churches can’t support their pastor and the District Superintendent (DS) and others give to support the pastor until the church can support them. We have bought land for two new rural churches. The women built the house for the DS at the District Center.

Tell me something about the missionaries you have sent out:

David Okon graduated from Africa Nazarene University and when he returned he shared that he wanted to go to Abuja and start the Church. We have seen God open doors in Abuja for David.

What advice would you give to other districts on their journey towards becoming phase three?

Pray. Teach the people and mentor them. Encourage them to give and work to be self-sustainable and to be involved in ministry. Train leaders and delegate to them.

 

Goats Galore–Breeding Hope for Children in Benin

By Monica Carr

Moïse Toumoudagou of Pendjari, Benin, in West Africa was only 7 when his father died. As part of a cultural tradition, his aunt gave him a hen to raise with the help of his mother. In a year, he had about 40 chickens. Many years later, this simple but life-changing gift gave Moïse an idea that he shared with his local church: What if we gave goats to children in need?

“We saw that there were a lot challenges in the community,” Moïse recalls. “In many families children didn’t go to school. Education was not sufficient. There were always requests for financial help.”

The church had a list of 200 children they wanted to help and asked for donations. In the end, church members gave enough money for 240 goats. They named the program Hands of Solidarity and chose five children from each village to receive a female goat. In three months, the number of goats had doubled. The new goats went to children in other villages, and the program continues to expand.

In villages where shepherding is part of the culture, children receive a sheep instead of a goat. Female animals provide milk, which offers nutrition and can also be sold for income. The program buys back male animals, providing income for educational needs.

The church seeks out the most vulnerable children in each village: those who have been orphaned by the loss of both parents and those who have lost one parent; children of polygamous marriage; and children whose parents have left the village in search of work in the city. They also try to help daughters whose mothers have divorced because those girls face cultural discrimination.

Norbert Touboudagou, who helps supervise the program, shares, “Many children come to know God, because they see compassion—those who have come with a kind hand to help them, who demonstrate God’s message of love.”

The success of Hands of Solidarity is astounding. Norbert recalls recently visiting a boy who had 11 female goats after starting with one three years earlier. He had also returned two males back to the program.

According to Moise, the program “gives the children value, teaches responsibility, and helps them stay in school. … They tend to be some of the best students in the school.”

To date 4,000 children have benefited from the program, experiencing a change in educational opportunity and in confidence. That’s 4,000 children who are better prepared to transform their society because the transforming love of Christ was shown to them.

What’s more, Moise says the program has created unity among the children who participate and their families. When the dry season started in Benin a couple of years ago, the community came together to create wells to provide water for the animals and families.

This experience embodied the concept of “hands of solidarity” literally, as they worked side by side to dig the wells by hand.

As one African proverb reminds us: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Hope amidst Demise—a New Resource in Dan

–Monica Carr

Reverend Tee T. Latahn, Nazarene pastor, school director, and radio host lives in Karnplay, Liberia. He is from the Dan people group and speaks the Dan language. His congregation also speaks Dan, as do 5,000 Nazarenes on his district, an estimated 60-70,000 people in Liberia and an even greater number in Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast). Historically known for their superior fighting skills, the Dan tribe in Liberia received from the Americo-Liberians the name “Gio” in the late 1800’s (the name of the sack in which they carried their arrows). Although Dan is spoken by many, written materials in Dan are scarce.  Tee laments. “Most of the Bibles that were printed in the early 1980’s are now disappearing.” (During the interview, I witness for myself the tattered and worn state of his Bible.)

For the past 13 years Tee and his wife Bouyanue have had a radio ministry with a listenership in the tens of thousands. He explains. “We usually give our message in English and then give a summary translation in the Dan language.  Unlike other radio producers who only use English, our radio has caught the attention of many Dan listeners.  Many listeners want to get a copy of the Dan language Bible.  Sometimes in the past, we have translated parts of the church’s Articles of Faith and also had a mini-conference with pastors for three days [to discuss them] and later took copies to their churches.  At the National Conference in Ganta, we shared our work on the Articles of Faith with the other zonal leaders and pastors.”

Recently, Tee and his wife had the opportunity to attend a translation summit in Abidjan in which they finished the translation of the Articles of Faith in the Dan language. They emphasized the conference meant a great deal to them. Having all of the Articles in Dan provides a great discipleship resource for those in the church, and also helps those who listen to their radio program. Tee said that he originally started his church by teaching about the church and sharing the Articles of Faith on the radio.  He explains, “Many have called the radio station to ask for a written copy.  Some have walked long distances to the church after hearing the Articles of Faith on the radio.  One such listener who walked to the church and asked for a copy gave $50 as a contribution toward their new church building.” (This is a very generous gift considering that some workers, especially in farming communities make as little as a dollar a day.) Tee explained that even “those who opposed the church’s holiness message in the beginning are now embracing the message.  We used to worship in a school.  The man who was trying to force us out of the school, the head master, heard the radio program and is now a good friend and supporter.”

 

In addition to pastoring a church and running a radio ministry, Tee is also the director of the school he started. His wife, Bouyanue, teaches there.  He started the school during the civil war when many of the government schools were closed down. He wanted to keep children from becoming child soldiers, which was very common in his area. He shares that before the war they used to have limited materials to teach the Dan language but do not have any now.  He said he would love to get materials to teach literacy of the Dan language in the school.

Although they don’t teach Dan literacy in the school, they currently offer some literacy classes in his church.  While the Gio people are hungry for Christian resources, Tee said they have not been able to find any in the Dan language. “The people are happy to get books but they are not available.” Other than the Bible, (which is scarce) the Articles of Faith that they translated is the only available Christian resource in Dan.  Better resources would help Tee accomplish his dream, which is “to work with the Dan people in Liberia and those across the border in a larger way.”

In a country plagued with a history of civil war and more recently Ebola, the translation of Christian materials, like the Articles of Faith into Dan offers hope to many in the church and beyond.

*Authors Note:  On April 9th, (a week after I interviewed Tee) Tee’s 10 year old son, Emmanuel, died when he fell from a tree while trying to pick a mango. A few days later, I received the following message from Tee:

“The death of Emman was a sad event . . . but by the help of our Lord, we are being consoled. Emman’s death brought together thousands of friends, relatives and sympathizers of different backgrounds for one week. More than 10 got converted only because of our testimonies and devotional messages. Our God provided the means to feed all the people during the one week. We bless our Lord and thank all of you for praying.”

Please continue to pray for Tee, Bouyanue, and the Latahn family.

Empowering Women in Liberia

–Monica Carr

Visiting the Nazarene Women’s Project (NAWOP) in Ganta Liberia last week, I was instantly impressed with the diligence of the girls who were busily stirring cornbread batter and who had already baked sumptuous potato bread muffins (which I happily sampled). They also had bread dough rising in pans ready to bake in the innovative round aluminum oven, heated with coals (placed underneath and on top.) In partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, this ministry has been in operation since 2001. Edith N’Boyou, a pastor’s wife and the founder of NAWOP, whose slogan is “Empowerment from productivity” explained that the aim of the project was “for the people to be empowered to help their families and community and to be a witness. . . to share their Christian faith with people in the area.” Not only do the girls learn to make baked goods during the nine month program but they also learn the process of batik and soap making. The program also includes a spiritual element, as the girls study the Bible during daily devotions. NAWOP has helped countless girls over the years. Grace Daniels, 24, a student and the current class president of the group shared that the program personally was “A big help. It helps me learn how to manage and set up a business.” Not only does the program benefit its students, but the baked goods that they make provide healthy snacks for the children of the adjoining church run school as well as providing goods (soap and batik) for the community. When asked about her future goals for the program Edith shared that she hopes to incorporate a showroom for her goods so that people in the community can more easily see and buy the products. I can definitely vouch for the potato bread muffins, and for the project as a whole the verse “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” comes to mind. (Psalm 34:8)

Nazarenes “Prepare the Way,” Africa Regional Conference, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

 –Monica Carr

Flags waved, voices rang out in song, and national leaders from countries across West Africa and beyond danced down aisles in colorful traditional attire. In Grand Bassam, just outside of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire where deaths are still being mourned from terrorist attacks just two weeks prior, close to 500 representatives gathered from March 30 to April 3rd to celebrate the Africa Regional Conference for the International Church of the Nazarene. Dr. Filimao Chambo, director for the Africa Region, opened the conference with a stirring message on the conference theme “Prepare the Way” taken from Isaiah 57:14. After four days of inspiring worship, prayer, preaching, and workshops, the conference culminated in a ceremony in which 40 pastors from countries across West Africa were ordained. Holiness revival services were held each night led by three different African ministers. At the end of each service, over a hundred people responded to God’s call. Reverend Daniel Gomis, Field Strategy Coordinator for the West Field, describes the conference as “a demonstration of God’s faithfulness and love for His church.”

The conference was especially meaningful because it included Christian brothers and sisters from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who earlier were restricted from traveling outside of their countries because of the Ebola epidemic. Reverend Daniel Johnson of Monrovia explains what the conference meant to him and his fellow Liberians. “Although we had many difficulties like bad roads (some traveled by bus for three to four days), and hassles at check points, the trip was well worth it. The morale of the church members was strengthened through fellowship with others from all over the region. For many, it was their first time out of Liberia and they got to see a broader perspective of the church. They are used to seeing the church from a local and district level but now see that our church is an international church and that we are one. Despite language barriers, we are unified . . . .We felt the joy of the Lord and hope to come again.”

Reverend Moise Toumoudagou of Benin describes a similar experience of unity. “For many, it was their first trip out of the country and it was a real joy to see so many different people worshipping the same God. We are not alone, but part of a large family. I am not alone in my country, but my country belongs to many countries.” He describes how many in his district are new in their Christian faith and that the week’s messages which challenged listeners to live Christ-like lives of loving service to God and others inspired his people to grow stronger in their faith, in fellowship and in their relationships. He said that the daily workshops were extremely helpful and observed, “The church did not invest in vain for a seed was planted in each of us.”

Reverend William Grant who is from South East Liberia shared that the message by General Superintendant, Dr. Eugenio Duarte “challenged us and opened our eyes on the subject of holiness.” Reverend Daniel Gomis said that he would “personally remember Dr. Duarte’s inspiring and prophetic words to the Church in Africa: ‘What are we supposed to do with His Truth? There is a lot of food on the roadside. But, there is no need for us (Nazarenes) to go after the roadside food, we have good food.’ May we continue to eat the good food and grow into Christ-likeness in such a time like this.”

Dr. Verne Ward, Director of Global Mission, reminded listeners that we are called and sent by a holy God, that we need to depend on Him who goes before us. He shared an inspiring story of mission, of reaching an unreached people group in Papua New Guinea. He challenged his audience not to ask “What is God preparing for me?” but “What is God preparing me for?” (a question that merits reflection).

 

West Africa Leadership Conference—Accra

–Monica Carr

Leaders representing 12 countries in West Africa met in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 4-8th for training, to share testimonies of God’s faithfulness, to pray, to develop a common vision and to fellowship. Highlights of the conference included a graduation ceremony in Ghana of 12 pastors from Nazarene Theological Institute and an ordination service of three Ghanaian pastors including the ordination of the first woman in Ghana.

General Superintendant Dr. Eugenio Duarte, taught on the Nazarene Essentials, challenging us to reflect on the church’s roots and DNA.  Regional director, Dr. Filimao Chambo, shared his desire to seek God’s will and vision for the church in Africa, and regional Nazarene Compassionate Ministries director Rev. Mutowa emphasizing the importance of Christlike compassion. Africa West Field Director, Rev. Daniel Gomis, district superintendants, country coordinators and other ministry leaders from the field also presented.

The gathering included leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia who had not been able to attend field or regional events during the past year because of the Ebola epidemic. Stories of heroic faith and compassion were shared—of leaders who went by bike daily to deliver food to quarantined families, of NTI classes that were held and even grew despite the epidemic, and of orphans that were ministered to and counseled. The church in Liberia has partnered with organizations like Last Well and plans to build 10 wells in the coming year.

In Senegal and Niger the church has also been involved in providing fresh water to communities through wells. Other exciting compassionate ministry projects were shared, as well, like the cattle project that was started by a church in Benin in which cattle were raised to send over 300 children to school with all of their supplies. The school was built by the church in order to meet the need for a secondary school in the community. In Burkina Faso, over one hundred orphans are being cared for by families in the church and in Ghana ten girls from rural areas in the north have received nurse’s training so that they can go back to their village and work in the newly constructed medical clinic.

Other ministry highlights included the attendance of over 1,000 women at a women’s convention in Southeast Nigeria last year and the first women’s clergy conference in Burkina Faso and Togo. The Youth ministry (NYI), which is gearing up for its first regional conference in South Africa in December, continues to show dynamic growth. Many new churches were planted this year including in new ministry areas like Mali, Niger and Guinea. The discipleship training associated with the Jesus Film has made a positive impact and several powerful testimonies of transformed lives were given. For example, a woman came to know the Lord through an all women’s Jesus Film team. She came for four nights and on Sunday morning shared that she was the voodoo high priestess for the village and that she and her assistant had made sacrifices for twenty years–once a week they would steal a child and sacrifice him. That morning she burned all of her fetishes and turned her life over to Christ. She is still serving God in the church.

While there was much rejoicing at the conference there was also mourning and intercession through prayer. During the conference, district superintendent Reverend William Grant received the news that his wife, Elisabeth, had died in Liberia. She had been sick for many years but through her suffering had remained a faithful servant of Christ. The group was also saddened to hear that a zone leader, Rev. Anthony Goleh, also from Libria, was in a tragic motorcycle accident. Please pray for the mourning families during this difficult time.

Through both tears and rejoicing participants sensed God’s close presence at the conference and could readily testify with the Psalmist that God’s love, “reaches to the heavens, [His] faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)

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)

 

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

 

 

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.

When I See the Blood, I Will Pass Over You

by Vidal Cole/

This afternoon, I was in class at Waterloo during lunchtime when I received a paragraph from Larry Myer, the Africa West Field Jesus Film coordinator:

I would be remiss to not share about our Jesus Film Leaders in Sierra Leone that, despite the literal barrel of Ebola pointed at them, they gathered, showed and led MANY to the Lord in the midst of this terrible outbreak, seizing the opportunity to offer Hope in what some call a hopeless situation.  I am moved to tears at their steadfastness in sharing the Gospel Message where illness and even death could strike!  Their dedication is an example for us all and a fulfillment of what we are called to do, to lay down our lives for our brothers for the cause of Christ!  Well done good and faithful servants, may the Lord keep you in His embrace!

When we returned after lunch, I read it to the class and everyone was deeply touched. After I finished reading it, I invited the class to pray just like we normally do every day after lunch and suddenly Pastor Steven’s phone rang. The next thing we heard was his voice screaming. “What!?”

He then told us that he had just been informed that his closest neighbors, one on either side of his house, had just died from Ebola. They had been sick and they were taken to the hospital over the weekend. We considered the way Larry had described our situation and we all broke down; the entire class burst into tears. After a while, we pulled ourselves together and we prayed with Pastor Steven before he left to be with his family.

Upon arriving home, he called to tell us that he found every member of his family okay though worried and fearful. We praised God with him in spite of it all. It had suddenly dawned on him that the virus had been in their home area. It had hit the house in front of him, jumped over his house and landed in the next house after theirs. We consider this a miracle and we started singing the song “When I See the Blood, I Will Pass Over You”.

As we continue to minister in the jungle, in the valley of the shadow of death, we refuse to fear any evil. We are assured that The Lord is with us and His rod and staff will comfort us.

I called Pastor Steven this evening and he told me that the disinfectant team sprayed and disinfected the entire neighborhood. We are trusting that his family continues to be okay.

Please continue to pray for us, your prayers have kept us going. Honestly, sometimes, I really wonder where we get the grace and strength to move on in the midst of this crisis, however, I have no doubt — it is The Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight.