Making ourselves available to God for His purposes
We just finished our Central Africa WACA Team Meeting. We had one for West Africa in Abidjan in July. This is was my first stop on a five country trip. One of the passages I shared with our team was the entirety of Ephesians 3, which is split into 2 halves. The last half of the chapter is a prayer that Paul prayed over the Ephesians that they understand and experience the overwhelming love of God to the point that they are filled with His power, His grace, Himself to the fullest. He ends by stating in Eph 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Without a doubt, the Lord exceeded our expectations and ministered to all of us in great measure and positioned our leadership structure in Cameroon in a way that made me know He is in control.
When in Abidjan in July, Grant Dreyden of Farming God’s Way and John Scholtz, previous pastor and chairman of the board for World Mission Centre in South Africa, joined us. We were able to present the valuable tool, Farming God’s Way, that has been added as a course to Live School and also listen to much of John’s teaching on World View and Fatherhood. The Lord melted us and ministered greatly to everyone through the Fatherhood session. The Church is not an enterprise or business; it’s a FAMILY!
This week we appointed Pascal to oversee the north half of Cameroon for us. He is a pastor who was on the ministry team on my first trip here, when we held some meetings in Garoua in the north. When I first met him, my heart jumped, and I wanted him on our team. Now, years later, he is. As I prayed over him I shared this, and he later came to testify that the same thing happened to him when he first met me. Such a wonderful confirmation! He has two Live Schools of his own and is graduating from the Chad LDA on November 11. He set up a Pastor Meeting for us, which we held one afternoon while in Ngaoundere. Now, two weeks after returning home from his three month LDA Training, he will return here to train facilitators to use Live School to train indigenous missionaries. He is wasting no time! Please pray for Pascal. The north of Cameroon is largely muslim.
And in the south, Bernard, who is also a pastor using Live School, will oversee the work in the southern half of Cameroon. Both will relate to Justin, whom we have placed in charge of overseeing all of Central Africa (Eph 3:20)!
The prayer Paul prayed in Eph 3:14-21 begins, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…” God does not want to be known as a CEO or the President, but as the “Father,” even “Abba” to us His children.
I’ve heard many wonderful sermons about Eph 3:14-21, but I have not heard any about Eph 3:1-13. Yet, Eph 3:1-13 is the reason Paul prayed Eph 3:14-21 over the Ephesians. The church has largely replaced this prayer as the goal, when it is actually the means by which we, the Body of Christ, are to do our part in seeing God’s “eternal purpose” accomplished in this earth, the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
We are to bring “the mystery” of Christ to the Gentiles (those who have never heard…the unreached). In other words, just as the first Live School course, Introduction to Missions teaches, the Great Commission is “the what,” our God given objective or task. The strategy of how we are to go about it is to love one another.
Bernard, Chip & Bienvenu to Gabon on a 12+ hour bus ride from Ngaoundere to Yaounde’ Cameroon.
They will know we are Christians by our love… Jesus prayed that we would be one with one another, that the world may know that the Father sent Him (Jn 17:20-23). He said we would be filled with His Spirit and with His power (Acts 1:8). He wants us to experience His limitless love in greater and greater measure and to be filled up with Himself for a reason (Eph 3:14, 16-19). Sure, He loves us as His children and wants to bless us with His presence, but He also has committed Himself to filling the earth with His glory (Num 13:21) and to having a people from among every ethnic group worship Him in heaven (Rev 7:9-10). What is most amazing is that He has chosen to do this through His people, you and me! Apart from Him, we cannot do this, but He can do it, and will, through His children (Eph 3:10; Phil 2:12-13). He desires to fill us with Himself, for a purpose…to bring His life, truth and love to a dying and hurting world. Paul knew this (1Co 15:10). He had tried to serve God in his own strength but found out that he was actually fighting against God on the road to Damascus.
The Lord told Gideon (and many others), “Go in this your strength. (Jdg 6:14-16). What was Gideon’s strength? He was hiding in the wine vat! His strength was that the LORD would be with him! And He promises to be with us too (Mat 28:18-20).
Not only is He with us, but the Holy Spirit now lives in us (Jn 14:17). Therefore, let us be confident and make ourselves AVAILABLE to God for His purposes (2Co 5:15). Let us APPLY and do the words He speaks to us. These were key words that kept coming up in our meeting in Ngaoundere, Cameroon. God uses those who are available. And it is not enough to have knowledge of the truth; we must apply it.
The Leadership Development Academy students of Central Africa joined us.
Kathy’s note: Chip will be traveling to 4 more countries and we look forward to hearing about the exciting things happening in his next letter. We are so thankful for your continued prayers for Chip on this trip. He will be gone from October 27 through November 18. God bless you and we pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving in a few weeks. We are grateful for the blessing of great family and friends like all of you!
Ferver for the Lord in Burundi
Burundi is one of the poorest countries in East Africa and the Horn has been accosted with political upheavals that threaten security and safety of its citizen, yet is also one of the countries with the most loving and warm-hearted citizens.
As Live School, we started with the mission here through a Facilitators Training that took place in the mountain countryside of Gatabo after a Facilitators Training that was hosted by the Africa Gospel Churches (AGC) of Burundi.
Although French is the official language, most people speak Kirundi which is the native language spoken all across the country. This greatly influenced the operation of the Live School besides other structural issues that affected the Schools in Bujumbura in Gatabo.
Through their different challenges, the School in Bujumbura gladly graduated its first class of 11 students on the 27th of October at a ceremony that took place in one of the AGC churches in Bujumbura.
Their journey was not without incidence having moved venues about four times and some of the trainees were chased away by a machete wielding man during one of their practical outreaches into the mountains where they had gone to witness.
Their fervor for the Lord could not be quenched and on the training were key leaders of AGC who collectively facilitated the classes and faithfully attended all the sessions. We had the graduation divided into two beginning in the morning with the three leaders with their leaders in a separate venue before joining the rest of the student body at the church for the a celebration service and the Commissioning of the graduating class.
These men had the vision and dream to see the Live School cross the border into Kivu, a province on the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, while continuing to raise labourers for the harvest.
My time in Burundi stretched my faith. I met with a young man with a burning passion for the youth of his country inviting us to set up a Mission School parallel to what we are currently doing in Nairobi. I am seeking God to grant me the wisdom and strategy to faithfully execute what He has called us for in Burundi and to this end I covet your prayers.
Much thanks to the churches as well as every friend and partner who faithfully stands with us through our work. Lastly, to a group of boys and girls from the Catalysts in Davidson County College whose passion and love for God as well as the will to serve have made a huge difference in Burundi and the rest of our work.
Fruitful Trip to Guyana
God promised to lead us and He does! We were so uncertain about going on our trip to Guyana as the hurricane was going to hit home, as we leave for the airport. We asked God to open or close doors as He knew best, and He did. More on that later.
Once again, I’d like to start this newsletter with a tribute. Pastor Glen Anderson passed away on October 9. I met Ps Glen about 17 years ago in Madagascar of all places. We were busy mobilizing churches there to plant churches all over the island and he came as a speaker in a conference of over 4,000 leaders. He always spoke powerfully and passionately. When we moved to Columbia, we looked him up and he very quickly drew us into his world. He is the person who connected us with the majority of churches I have contact with. He also regularly invited us to his Myrtle Beach pastors retreat. At these meetings he would just leave the agenda in the Holy Spirit’s hands and often the outcome was life changing for us and others. He loved to worship God, he loved God’s word and he loved God! We will miss him. His legacy remains. Our condolences to Ms Becky and the family.
So, God left all the doors open and we made it to Guyana! Driving the first 45 minutes in the dark with pounding rain and wind was gnarly, but Chuck did a great job. By the time we were supposed to take off in Charlotte, the storm was there and we took off in the middle of it. Once again, God’s hand was with us and we only experienced a few bumps for about 10 minutes and then everything was fine. It was such a lesson in hearing God.
We can see why He wanted us to be in Guyana. I can truly say that, after traveling there for 10 years, this was one of the most fruitful trips. It was the 7th year that the Vreed en Hoop Wesleyan church hosted this conference.
God spoke clearly about the fact that it was time for Guyana and other Caribbean nations to send missionaries to other nations. Many stood and committed their lives to go, should God send them. We had tremendous favor around the vision of making sure that every village in Guyana has a church.
By the time we arrived, Alex had already researched 195 of the 802 villages.
My biggest concern in this process is the 200 villages in the interior, of which we had information on only 1. By the end of the conference, we had the information on another 22, plus a lady who does research committed to get the info on another 55 villages!
Over and above that, many other brought us info on the coastal villages. I would estimate, that this conference will result in at least 100 villages’ information. An additional spin off was that as many as 4 churches showed interest in starting Live School. One of them may be run by a Haitian living in Suriname! God willing, Chuck will go back in January to train facilitators. Another blessing was getting to know Alex better. The Lord truly sent him our way and he has already been a tremendous help.
We are so aware of God’s grace, mercy and favor as we stop and look around us. Our desire is that God will use us to share His love, his salvation and His purpose with others.
We know that many prayed for us the last few days, especially as we had to travel through the storm. God bless you for that, He used you in a real and effective way to partner with us.
Journey through Kenya (Summer 2018)
Over 26 years ago, we established a research department at World Mission Centre to find out where the unreached people groups of Southern Africa were located. We researched all the countries in Southern Africa, including those that crossed the equator. At the end of our research, we published a book called “The 100 Least Reached People Groups of Southern Africa: It Can Be Done” in 1997. We dreamed of a day when a church would be established in every one of the unreached groups.
At the Global Consultation on World Evangelization in 1997 (GCOWE ’97), we gave a copy of this book to each of the 400 local South African church pastors who attended. We asked them to commit to forming groups of churches – called HUBS – and together work to reach an unreached people group in a given country.
The Harvest Church in Port Elizabeth, South Africa took on the challenge to gather a group of South African churches and reach one of the unreached tribe in Kenya. So many wonderful things have happened in the ensuing years that we eventually felt it was time to go on an extended trip to document some of the stories. We wanted to tell the stories of heroic men and women who have witnessed to many people, planted churches, and used Live School to train believers in reaching more unreached tribes with the good news.
Just a few weeks ago, we completed an epic journey of 18 days, recording the story of how unreached/least reached people groups in Kenya were reached through the efforts of a group of churches, led by Harvest Church, and World Mission Centre’s Project Focus. We wanted to witness first-hand the impact that the gospel had made in these areas and how Live School had been used in that process.
Nothing could have prepared me for what we saw. People from many of these once unreached people groups are hearing and accepting the gospel, churches are being planted, communities empowered, and Live Schools are being established to train members of these tribes to reach out to their own and surrounding peoples. All I can say is: TO GOD BE THE GLORY! It is an amazing story.
Early in August seven of us met in Nairobi to start the “Kenya: Tell the Story” trip. Myself, the video crew, led by William, who came from the USA, Paul Achilles, the World Mission team leader for East Africa and Pastor John Scholtz, former senior pastor of Harvest Church in Port Elizabeth, and Alfons Wessels, who worked tirelessly with his wife Adri for 13 years in some of the most remote parts of Kenya formed the team.
We first headed north toward the Ethiopian border. Along the way, in Isiolo, we met with a whole group of missionaries who were trained in a Live School run by our longtime partners, Livingstone Mission. To my surprise we found that a fourth generation of Live School is now being trained there. Among those trained, one couple has planted a church within the Samburu people, and they are now training and discipling the new believers using Live School. They are about to start a second school in a church they planted about 30km to the west.
From here, we drove further north to LogLogo where we met a Live School graduate who planted a church in an arid part of Kenya. Real desert! He had connected with a partner organization that helped to drill for water that eventually transformed the desert community. His ministry supplies water to the local school and started a vegetable garden project where 36 families are allowed to plant their veggies. The families are able to sell the produce they do not eat. They have also formed a partnership with an organization and started a pre-school that has over 200 children attending.
One of their biggest projects is planting Moringa trees. The leaves of these trees are cooked in the same way as spinach, and it tastes good! Moringa is known to have incredible value in combating malnutrition. The local clinic reported that the village children who were once the most malnourished are now among the healthiest in the area because their diet has included these leaves.
We then journeyed into the harsh and mostly dry hinterland of beautiful Kenya where nomadic people live. Their greatest assets are their livestock. It’s said that they value their livestock more than their health and family. Here we met with some amazing women and men who are reaching out to some of the most difficult to reach people in the country.
One of the local pastors is now running his second Live School intake. There is a total of 35 students between those who have graduated and those currently in the training.
Live School missionaries
All of these students were sent to five outreach points in the north for the whole month of August. To date, they have planted 11 churches in those areas. Their missional efforts also spilled over the border into Ethiopia.
Hinterland of Kenya
Driving back down south from the Ethiopian border, through the Chalbi Desert, was not without incident, but our able men sorted it out quickly. This part of our journey took us through parts of the country where the Rendille, Turkana, Samburu, Gabra, Borana, Gare and Burji tribes live.
We eventually turned eastward toward Garissa, Garsen and onto the Indian Ocean coastline.
It was absolutely amazing to meet with Live School graduates and students along this road who are planting churches and transforming their communities around them.
Among the many incredible experiences, I had the immense privilege of meeting up with a veteran missionary from Tanzania whom we trained back in 2000 as part of Project Focus (reaching the 100 least reached people groups of southern Africa).
After his training at a Project Focus School in Tanzania, we sent him on a six-month short-term mission trip to an unreached tribe in Northern Kenya. He never moved back home, but instead brought his wife and children to minister with him among the tribe. He is an amazing example of a faithful servant of the Lord. We witnessed first-hand how even the people he works among who follow a different religion still love and respect him. I suppose only eternity will tell the full story of how men like him have impacted the Kingdom.
On the third leg of our trip, we had the privilege of graduating eight Live School students in a rural part of Kenya where persecution of Christians is still a reality today. Seven of the graduates are pastors of churches, and they told us how Live School changed their lives and invigorated their churches. Thank you, Lord!
After the graduation, we drove along a dangerous road where Al Shabaab terrorist activity is often reported. We thank the Lord for His protection and for the many who were standing with us in prayer and intercession. A few hours later we have arrived at the Indian Ocean coastline. Here we would start the fourth and last leg of our journey.
Visiting these brave people along the coast who are spreading the gospel in hostile areas has almost reduced me to tears. They need our prayers and encouragement every day.
Missionary trained through Project Focus
Graduation in rural Kenya
I spent the last two days in Kenya with our East Africa regional team leader, Paul Achilles, and his team at his home in Nairobi. They are an amazing, mature group of women and men, sold out to the purposes of God.
(Unique in the photo below: these five guys come from different countries, namely, Eastern DRC Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and South Africa. Amazing to how the Lord has brought four of them together to roll-out Live School in the region.
After witnessing all of this, I can say: “The 100 least reached people groups of southern Africa – they are being reached!”
Thank you, Jesus, for you are certainly doing this.
Thank you to everyone who journeyed with and prayed for us for the last three weeks. It was wonderful to finally return home to my sweetie, Lydia.
Cuba is ready for The Word
God is faithful! He has heard your and our prayers for my trip to Cuba. Thank you so much for praying. Just a few highlights.
There was a moment when I thought I was not going to get into the country. I could not get the right visa in time and the officials gave me a hard time. But this is where I could see God at work, as no person could stop what He had ordained.
Our two coordinators traveled 14 and 18 hours, by bus, to meet me and to be part of the presentations. Their commitment and zeal was truly humbling. Praise God they got there safely and returned home safely again.
We had 2 meetings with about 30 leaders in total. Live School was well received. One meeting was with a Cuban organization who trains church members in the areas of family, leadership, counseling, intimacy with God, etc. I was not sure what we could offer them but presented Live School to them anyways. When we were done, they said this, “Our vision is to send Cubans to [a Muslim country in South East Asia] but we were not sure how to train our people. We attended a conference with around 200 mission organizations and asked for help, but no one responded. Live School is an answer to our prayers.” That blew my mind! Their leader is actually going to South East Asia later this year, to start paving the way for them to send Cubans!
I was blessed once again by two of our Cuban Live School coordinators, Marlen & Felix. They are so diligent and hard working. One day, in conversation, it came out that Felix, who is 50 years old, has never eaten an apple. He has never had the opportunity! It spoke volumes of what the economic realities are in the country. God willing, Felix will return to this area in November to train facilitators for roughly 11 Live Schools. What a blessing to have local believers able to do what we do, and more!
Felix, helping to present Live School. Note the condition of the building where this church worships.
I had the opportunity to visit Fidel Castro’s grave.
Once again, thank you for praying. The soil is fertile in Cuba and I have an urgency to “sow” there. God willing, we’ll head to another province in January to introduce Live School.
Matthew 9:38 Around the World
There is no doubt that the prayer request of Jesus in Matthew 9:38 is being answered in our day. Around the world, committed believers are eager to be disciplined and trained to gather in the great end-time harvest. They reach the lost, plant churches, do acts of kindness, and so much more. This is certainly the time for all of us to be prepared and willing to do whatever the Lord asks of us for His kingdom.
Allow us to share a few highlights from our journeys these last few weeks.
with pastors, Lawrence and Nina Khong in Singapore
Lydia and I had the privilege to be a part of the FCBC Annual Mission Conference in Singapore. What a joy to connect with our dear friends, Pastor Lawrence and Nina Khong as well as the dynamic FCBC team and members.
The Live School Retreat in Hwange, Zimbabwe was a great blessing to me and Isaac. It was a blessing to see my dear friend, Pastor Simon Mukolo, and to meet the facilitators who have run Live Schools under difficult circumstances in the past few years. Pastor Simon started over 400 churches in his lifetime!
My heart breaks as I see the devastating poverty that the economy of Zimbabwe has brought upon rural churches.
Out of the 15 Live Schools that will start in the next few months, 14 are in need of solar power and 12 Volt television sets. Please pray about being a part of providing one of these sets to a church in great need.
A few weeks after we left the retreat, I received the sad news that Pastor Simon has gone to be with the Lord. This is a huge loss on earth and a great gain in Heaven.
Live School facilitators we trained in Hwange, Zimbabwe.
It was such a blessing to attend the Live School graduation at the Living Hope Centre in Fishhoek, Cape Town. The facilitators of the school, Gerhard and Hanalize, did an outstanding job.
It was a privilege to meet and spend a few moments with Pastor John Thomas who, until recently, was the senior pastor of the King of Kings Baptist Church in Fishhoek.
The Living Hope Centre is a ministry of the King of Kings Baptist Church, formally called the Fishhoek Baptist Church, which my grandfather, Dr. JHP Steyn started many many years ago.
God is SO GOOD!!
Students graduating from Live School at the Living Hope Centre.
Expanding the Work in Namibia
I was privileged to speak at a local church’s mission conference in Namibia as well as meet with a number of other local church pastors.
Sixteen of the pastors indicated that they want to start Live School in their churches soon! We will be training their facilitators in the next few weeks.
As I got off the plane in Windhoek, I could sense that the Lord wants to do a new thing in this beautiful country. During four days of ministry, various people from different walks of life confirmed this. Please pray that the Namibian church would be ready and willing to receive all that the Lord has in store for them.
A team of twelve people joined us on another epic journey to India. There is not enough time to write all that the Lord did in the two weeks that we were there, training Live School facilitators and encouraging local pastors.
We visited three different cities in northern India and trained over 200 facilitators who will run 142 Live Schools! When we got there, 95 of the facilitators came with the names of 1,583 students who will join the various schools. Amazing to see the names of so many new gospel workers in India! THANK YOU, LORD JESUS!!!
with pastors, Lawrence and Nina Khong in Singapore
Chip and Kathy returned to West Africa after Chip’s medical emergency back in November. So many of you prayed fervently for him and the Lord completely healed him. Thank you, Lord! Now, Chip is right back in West Africa continuing in the work that the enemy tried to stop.
The West Africa team is “on fire” – we moved another 210 units to the region in the first five months of this year and school facilitators are being trained as we speak.
Freddie Steenkamp and a team have just returned from Siberia where they started the 80th Live School! More details will follow as we get the information.
Pastor Freddie preaching in Russia
Live School facilitators trained in Siberia
South African Office
We are excited to announce that our WMC South Africa office has officially moved from Cape Town to Centurion!
The WMC South Africa office will be overseen by Henkie and Nerina Maritz and run by Casper. A big thanks to all of you who have shown such patience to us as we have made this administrative transition.
Lydia and I will continue to run the WMC International office in Paarl, Cape Town.
Allow us to thank you for your tremendous support in prayer and finances. In doing so, you are a part of a great symphony of volunteers reaching many who have not yet heard or responded to the message of Jesus Christ.
Willie & Lydia Crew
Road of Faith
We hope that you are doing well. Here in the States it is a “new year” as the new school year started last week. Life is “back to normal” again. We have so much to share.
Firstly, just to wrap up the South Africa trip, Chloe is 100% well and praise God for that. Other great news is that the insurance refunded us what we paid to change our tickets when Chloe was not well enough to travel back. It was a lot of money and we thank God for providing in this way. We are waiting to hear from another insurance company concerning medical expenses we claimed. All we can say is that God’s grace has been sufficient for us through all of that. A special “thank you” to Ebony, Ron, Lorraine, Corne & Mari who were so supportive with the practical challenges during this time.
While still in South Africa I started working on my next trip, to Cuba. God willing, I leave on Monday to a new province in Cuba. We plan to meet with key church leaders who are the oversight of around 30 churches. Our goal is to introduce Live School to them. The plan is that one of our Cuba brothers will return to train facilitators. Please can I ask that you pray for us on this trip. For God’s protection, favor and good fruit on the trip. I’m also working on trips to Guyana and North Africa and would appreciate your prayers.
I’d like to share a spontaneous message one of our Cuba coordinators sent me. He wrote, “One more thing, every time when I visit any school they always want to express their gratitude for learning a lot about the Bible. Believe me, a bunch of pastors didn’t know even the half they have learnt since the got these devices. And weep and ask forgiveness from God because they were preaching a “Half Gospel.” I give thanks to God for being a tool in His hands. I want to keep on being useful in this work. Thank you brother.”
All is well with the family. Lere is working hard and getting more and more focused on the barn. (Read more about that below) She felt the Lord challenging her to make changes to the way she operates. Tayla moved into a little house with 2 other girls. It is walking distance from the University of South Carolina where she is now majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Celine started her matric year and university applications. She got a part time job and is playing tennis for her school team again. Chloe is very happy with her teachers and started her last year of middle school, 8th grade. She was very excited about the fact that her braces came off the day before school started. We are very blessed by our children and continue to pray and trust that they will serve God all the days of their lives. Also that He would use them to impact many lives for His sake.
God has us on an amazing road of faith, where we are being stretched way beyond where we are comfortable. I think the bible is quite clear that He does this and is pleased by our faith. Please pray and trust with us for God’s continued blessing, favor and provision.
Thanks again for all your prayers, especially when Chloe and Tayla fell ill. God bless you and keep you.
Eddie and Lere and kids
WACA Team Meeting and Côte d’Ivoire Blitz
Week 1: Abidjan WACA Team Meeting for West Africa
When I was praying about what to cover in our region-wide meeting I knew that I didn’t want it to be “business as usual.” In fact, I was somewhat concerned that I would be able to keep up with those types of demands, as I am still recovering/re-gaining my stamina. I told the Lord that it would be so neat to have John Scholtz, the WMC chairman of the board in South Africa, come and give us his teaching series on Christian World View and to explain to us about Farming God’s Way (http://www.farming-gods-way.org/home.htm), which is a “game-changing” course that was added to Live School late last fall. He was a medical doctor before he was called into ministry which was also a blessing, in case I were to have any problems related to my recovery. I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Why not?” His voice was so clear, it almost startled me…and it motivated me to promptly send John an email inviting him to our West African WACA Leader Meeting. After praying about it for a day, he wrote me back saying that he believed he was supposed to come, and he would like to bring Grant Dryden who oversees Farming God’s Way (FGW) with him. Though there was an apparent schedule conflict for the dates Grant was to be with us, the Ethiopians, where he was planning to be, “accidentally” booked his trip to Ethiopia the week after ours (Eph 3:20)! I had already asked Duane Erickson who is a pastor, close friend and also a board member of Sonrise International to come minister about equipping and mobilizing the youth. There is a huge “youth bubble” in WACA. Duane arrived in the middle of the 1st week, and went with me to Daloa in the middle of the country the 2nd week, while Kathy, John and Grant flew home at the end of the first week. With these three experienced ministers joining us, I felt like we had hit “a trifecta!”
When someone watches the promotional video of Farming God’s Way, he or she learns that the landmass of Africa is larger than the size of Europe, China and the U.S.A. combined and has some of the best soils in the world. But Africa is considered the “begging bowl” continent of the world. Though it has amazing resources, poverty continues to climb…from 10% of the world’s poor in 1970 to 50% of them in 1980. Eighty percent of Africa’s 900 million population live in a rural environment, and 3/4 of Africa’s farmers are subsistence farmers.
How does a entire continent with such rich resources become so poor and continue getting poorer? One of the main answers is that the dominant worldview in Africa is fatalistic and hinders innovation. Though there may be a river of water close to a farm, if it does not rain, there is a bad crop. Irrigating with water from the river is not even a consideration, because the world view is that the ancestors, in African Traditional Religion, did not allow the rain. The result is that there is a bad crop…when water is a stone’s throw away! John Scholtz addressed this issue and many others head on by renewing our minds to a Christian worldview and the Father Heart of God. Grant gave us practical principles and ingredients common in every culture to farm in a way that drastically increase productivity and yield. Many of our modern day farming principles are exactly opposite of God’s plan. In FGW one does not plow at all. Most of us have heard the adage, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime!” This is what Farming God’s Way does. I’m pretty sure when someone comes up to me here asking for a handout, from now on I will tell them to go through Live School. Farming God’s Way is a treasure to be mined in Africa! It is truly a game changer!
Now begins the good work of creating test plots and implementing Farming God’s Way across WACA, even as we continue to roll out Live School to effectively train indigenous missionaries. As Grant says, Farming God’s Way is “the Gospel with boots on!” When we began the WACA LS Project, out of my spirit came the phrase, “Transforming cultures for the glory of God!” He is doing it! I believe FGW is one of those practical steps He has given us to transform cultures for His glory in WACA, where 6 out of 10 of the poorest nations currently exist!
The Lord has orchestrated my re-entry back into Africa carefully, which definitely helped allay any concerns Kathy may have had. She did not want to have me life-flighted to the U.S.A. again!
A highlight for me was meeting some of our team members’ wives. We shared from our hearts the things we all have in common and were able to make connections for prayer support. We have some amazing families volunteering for Live School. Please pray over them as you are prompted.
Though I was hesitant to agree on our traveling so soon, I am so proud of Chip for pressing through, even with his limitations, and going back to the field. It sure wasn’t easy, but he was invigorated by being with his African friends and co-workers. He is currently in Nigeria holding meetings and gathering information about a possible new translation of the Live School in Hausa, the largest unreached people group in WACA and a large trade language many other unreached people groups speak as well. We need to raise funds for another translation, but we trust the Lord to provide, since a huge portion of West and Central Africa will be reached through the Hausa translation. There are about 30 million Hausa people, and it is a trade language used by many, in areas where English and French are not well understood. Most of the Hausa live Northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, and Cameroon, but they can be found in 15 different countries.
Chip – Week 2: Côte d’Ivoire Blitz
Originally, we planned to go to 10 different towns across the nation, but we ended up going to 5. My normal attitude tends to be “More is better,” but in this instance the wisdom of God prevailed (Rom 8:28). Our Cote d’Ivoire team will have quite a chore following up on the 5 areas of the country to which we went.
The “Cote d’Ivoire Blitz” became a great time to train some LDA grads and those still needing more help in doing LS rollout to get hands on training. We matched the less experienced with our more experienced leadership for this reason. When each person returns to his or her respective country, I expect the coordination teams there to be much more effective in their work. We thank God, not only for the 25-30 Live Schools we conservatively expect to start across the nation from north to south and east to west but also for His guidance to use this time to better train our leadership on the field.
So, on Monday, July 23 we traveled upcountry in smaller teams to hold Pastor Meetings (PM), Facilitator Trainings (FT) and to minister to the churches who hosted us. Duane Erickson, Nathalie Guyo (our coordinator for Senegal and amazing translator), and I went to Daloa in the middle of the country.
Still being in the process of recovery, I was glad to find out that our schedule was to hold a Facilitator Training (FT) each morning until early afternoon, and then each evening we were to hold revival meetings in Marcel’s church. The schedule allowed me to have an afternoon nap, which was invaluable! Duane and I took turns teaching and preaching in the evenings, and Nathalie Guyo interpreted the whole time, somehow keeping her strength. The almost 100 potential facilitators from the 25+ churches across denominational lines that attended the FT were hungry to learn, equip their people and mobilize them to the unreached.
This is just one testimony of the 5 groups that went out for the week. Besides Daloa, we also sent teams to Guiglo in the far west of the country, Korhogo in the far north, Abengourou in the far east, and Diego and the surrounding villages outside Yamasoukrou (See map).
Hearing the stories from the different teams at debriefing was so encouraging. After debriefing everyone traveled home on July 28 and me to Abuja, Nigeria on July 30.
Mobilization of Yet Another Large Denomination to the Nations!
In addition to the many FT’s we held across the nation, while we were in Abidjan, we were able to meet with the president and the missions director of the Assemblies denomination of Cote d’Ivoire. They plan to select 2 men to attend our upcoming LDA in Senegal, in order to prepare them to roll Live School out among their denomination. We look forward to helping them achieve their bold missions strategy to see 5,000 churches planted across Côte d’Ivoire by the end of 2020. It is honestly all we can do to just take in all that God is doing in WACA! To Him be all the glory!
Be looking for my next update on the amazing time I’ve had in Nigeria! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. While it has not been “easy,” it has been SO GOOD to be back in Africa and to spend time with my brothers and sisters here. GOD IS GOOD!
May you experience the life-giving love of Christ, today!
Chip and Kathy
Faith or Control
At the beginning of our trip, I read a tweet from Craig Groeschel which said, “You can have faith, or you can have control, but you can’t have both.” I knew this was a word for me. Usually every event is scheduled and budgeted before I leave the country, but it was not to be so on this trip.
The Lord dropped it into my heart in the Spring of 2017 to have a WACA Team Meeting for our West African leadership in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in 2018. But planning such an event from the U.S.A. while still recovering from the midbrain hemorrhage was not an easy task. The poor communication with our team in Côte d’Ivoire due to language and cultural barriers only added to the difficulty.
We were having the mother of all meetings with some keynote guests from South Africa and the U.S.A. I was trying to have our team of volunteers that we have the least experience with plan the logistics and provide a budget for two weeks with five different venues in different geographic locations across Côte d’Ivoire the second week. It was either going to be an utter catastrophe or a real work of faith! I was still recovering and could not “take control of the situation” even if I wanted to do so.
We ended up with about 50 in attendance compared to the 9 we had when we did this back in the fall of 2015. Wow! God has caused great growth in the WACA Project! Back then we were in 11 of 24 countries. Now we are working in 21 of 24 and plan to begin work in the final 3 countries by the end of this year, which obviously is a huge milestone for us. It was a real walk of faith, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To see God move miraculously in situations and circumstances time and time again has only made me stand in awe of His goodness, His holiness and His unrelenting love to reach those who have never heard. To Him alone be the glory.
Once we arrived in Côte d’Ivoire, it was evident that God had it all under His control. Through the hard work of our Côte d’Ivoire Coordinator Wodji Barthelemy, his wife Hermence, his assistant and wife, Aser and Veronica Legre, and all the Cote d’Ivoire team (Rom 10:11).
“You can have faith, or you can have control, but you can’t have both.” Yes, Craig Groeschel had the word of the Lord for me!
Live school continues to accelerate
So much has happened in the last few months. A few years ago, the leaders of World Mission Centre prophetically received the word,“accelerate.” We are now in that acceleration and many things are happening all over the world. WMC and Live School are now active in 80 countries around the world, bringing training to over 1800+ .churches with over 18000+ students. Thousands of churches have been planted as a result of training local believers, and many of these churches are among unreached people groups in remote villages. We wish we could share all that is going on around the world, but let me just share three things.
In August of this year William will lead a creative team (Casey and Hannah) to Kenya to join our East Africa leaders (Paul and Alfons) as well as Willie Crew (WMC founder/director) and John Scholtz (WMC Board Chairman) to survey the land and see what God has done among the unreached peoples in Kenya through Live School. Our focus is mainly in remote desert areas where Islam is strong but where Live School has made a huge impact. We hope to go and film those Live School students’ inspiring stories that otherwise would never be told, in order that we may tell of God’s goodness and in doing so inspire those that watch the videos, hear the testimonies, and read the stories to pray, to give, and to go.
By the time you read this letter, William will be in the north of India. The north of India is the most unreached part of the world with over 2,000 of the 6,000 unreached people groups of the world located here. Persecution is harsh and danger prevails, but God has given us amazing local partnerships. In November of last year, we trained the first Hindi-speaking facilitators. Since then we have done another facilitator training session, and on this current trip, we will be training another 100+ facilitators. By the end of 2018, we plan to have over 250 Live School facilitators trained to run schools in northern India. That is 250 missions schools training local believers to reach out to their own and neighboring communities. We have never found a harvest field so open. God is moving and we are trying to keep up.
3. New Units
The U.S.A. office is buzzing this summer with many young interns. They are there to re-compress and then check and test each of the 256 Live School videos in 11 languages. That equals 2,816 videos that must be compressed and then checked twice for quality. The interns are doing this so we can fit the material onto the new version of the Live School. Hundreds of these Live Schools are currently being rolled out in India in Hindi and in West Africa in French. Without this re-compression effort, we would not be able to start more schools in other languages.