June 17, 2012
Time Is Filled With Swift Transition
As the above lyrics to one of our songs indicate, our lives are always changing. Our bodies are changing, our relationships are changing, everything in our life is always in flux. Our families lives are beginning the major transition process. We have begun packing up our house to prepare for the move. We have three categories for all of our stuff: Ship it, Store it, Trash it. We are going to ship the essential goods that we will need over there. Things like clothing, books, shoes, furniture, etc. will all be shipped on a container which will leave in mid-April. It should arrive about mid-June -- just after we arrive. We are also looking for various donations of books and home-school material to ship over. As we begin this arduous process, I ask you to pray for us that we may be able to do all that needs to be done in the next month.
Bear Valley Staff meeting
Chad will be heading to Denver next week for the annual staff meeting. We will discuss many important topics for the extension school program. If you are not familiar with the extension school concept, give Chad a call and he'll be glad to discuss it with you!
Through the LORD's blessings, we have most of our one-time funds raised. We are working on airfare now which will be about $1,200/person (about $8,000 total). We will not purchase our plane tickets until we raise the minimum monthly support needed for our missionary work there. While we have some monthly support raised, we are in need of $2,500/month to meet our personal and work funds. Just about every Christian and congregation can afford an additional $25/month. We have several promises, but we need good Christians to step up to the plate. We are in need of your help to be able to fulfill the Great Commission in Chimala.
Wagner Ministry Report
Many things have changed in the Wagner family! No, we do not have any more children, but our focus has changed quite a bit. In July 2011, I resigned from the Gainesville church of Christ where I have served the last nine years as the minister to focus solely upon fundraising for Tanzania. Lord willing, we plan to move to Tanzania in June 2011. I will be taking over as the administrator of the Chimala Mission work, which was started back in the 1950’s by Andrew Connelly and others.
As with fundraising, most of my time is spent now making copies, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls to set up presentations, and, of course, much time in prayer! My wife and I have no doubt that the Lord Wills for us to be in Chimala and will equip us for the journey ahead. In the mean time, He is teaching us. In James 1:2-4, we see that the trials of this life produce endurance of faith. Sometimes, it may seem much easier to simply send out resumes for another preaching job, but we do not want to fall short of the task that has been given to us. I know the Lord will find a way for me.
We have had some support to come in and also many promises of support. If you would like to assist us in this great work, let us know. We’ll be glad to come and speak with you about this opportunity.
I have several speaking engagements upcoming to either preach the Gospel or to make a TZ presentation. I’d love to come and talk with you and/or your congregation about the amazing work the Wagner family will soon be involved in.
WAGNER MISSION REPORT
On August 3rd, I left Memphis, TN and traveled to Nigeria, West Africa. I flew from Memphis, to Atlanta, and then to Lagos where I spent the night. The next day, I flew from Lagos to Enugu and then drove on to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Abakaliki is the capital city of Ebonyi State and also the location of the Comprehensive School of Management and Technology – School of Biblical Studies.
On Saturday, August 6, I participated in the 2nd graduating class of preachers from CSMT-SBS. There were seven preachers who had studied for two years to complete their degree at CSMT. They were awarded Bachelor degrees through Bear Valley Bible Institute, Denver, CO, as CSMT-SBS is an extension school of BVBID. I spoke at the graduation to encourage the 200-300 people in attendance. I also presented some gifts from Dorris Taylor (USA) for the top two students in this year’s graduating class. Training men to preach the Gospel is a very important aspect of fulfilling the Great Commission. It is good for Americans to go and do mission work. It is a great work for native preachers are trained to take the Gospel to their own people. The record shows that preacher training schools (like Bear Valley’s extension program) is a great and effective way to teach the lost all through the world. I am truly humbled and excited to be a part of this Godly work.
Following the graduation service on Saturday, we traveled to the Afikpo church of Christ in Afikpo, Ebonyi State for worship on the Lord’s Day, August 7th. The church is meeting in a school house. The congregation that day was about 170 people in attendance and they have overrun the building in which they are in. The located preacher at Afikpo taught a fantastic and engaging Bible class on ‘the spirit of the bed.’ I preached during the worship service and we had two respond for baptism. After the baptisms, we visited the site of the church building that they are constructing on their own (picture to the right).
On Monday, August 8th – 11th, I taught two master’s level classes to 5 students. The first class was ‘New Testament Theology.’ The second class was the ‘Preacher and his Work.’ These two classes will finish up 3 of the masters students class requirements for graduation in December 2011. The other two are about half-way through their program.
During the trip, I also made several trips to see various works. I visited the Ihe church of Christ building that they are building with only a little assistance from American brethren (picture to the left). I also visited the Gariki church of Christ building located in Enugu. This congregation is a great congregation which is attempting to finish their building themselves with their own labor and contributions. They need assistance, however, with the fence that goes around the property. Thieves from the area are bringing people to the church building and robbing them and beating them there. The police have told the church that they need to build a security fence around the property ($8,000). If you can help with that, it would be greatly appreciated (picture to the right). The walls that you see were completed by the members, but they do not have the necessary funds for the fence.
I was also able to purchase 600 Bibles through the generosity of brethren in Bradford, AR. Although they are a smaller congregation, they contributed $2,000 to purchase Bibles are we were able to do that! Those Bibles will be used and distributed to several preachers in Ebonyi and Enugu states and beyond!
There is a need for a good American congregation and/or individual to get involved in this work. Lord Willing, my family and I will be moving to Tanzania in 2012 to work at the Chimala Mission. If you are interested in a presentation, would like to discuss the work in Nigeria, or would like to get involved in this great work, please let me know! I’m sure that the Lord will raise someone up for this work – and it may be you!