As many have done with the beginning of the new year I used this time to look at what African Missions has been able to accomplish during the previous year and the challenges that we face in 2015. As the new year takes shape the one constant is our mission, to bring the truth of the gospel, Jesus Christ, to as many people as possible.
In this report I would like to recap the previous year and mention a few of the challenges that we face in the coming one. I recently submitted Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies recap to be included in the Bear Valley extension school year end report, where it was noted that our students were involved with 4 campaigns this year resulting in 15 baptisms, and worked with 24 congregations where they were involved with 109 baptisms in addition to those on the school campaigns. In all, Bear Valley extension school students reported involvement in almost 2000 baptisms and over 100 new or restored congregations. A copy of the Extension School 2014 recap can be read here.
At Kingdom of Hope this past year we continued in our efforts to both build the schools infrastructure and to provide the means for the school to become self-supporting in the future. Thanks to the support of the Broadway church of Christ in Paducah, KY, and the Mesa church of Christ in AZ, we added a new classroom, a building to house the generator/mill unit, and restroom facilities at the school. Money provided from longtime supporters at the Colony church of Christ in AR, along with gifts from the members at the White Oak church of Christ in AR, allowed us to purchase desks and chairs for the teachers. Additionally, the local Kuka congregation came together to build a housing unit for the students who live at the school as well. The Mesa church of Christ provided a grain mill and generator for the school which is producing enough income to feed the live-in students (something I had done previously) as well as provide lights and electricity for the school, church building, and the student housing unit. The White Oak church of Christ gift also allowed us to purchase another 100 mango trees which have been planted on land donated to the school by the village chief. It is hoped that these trees, along with the ones planted last year, will begin producing enough fruit in 2 years to both assist in feeding all the children as well as to be sold to raise funds to cover other expenses. In addition to these special projects the regular support of the Guy church of Christ, Colony church of Christ, and Greenbrier church of Christ, along with the individual support of many of you, allowed me to continue to travel to Kuka throughout the year, provide books and other needed supplies for the school, and take care of special needs as they have come up.
Burkina Faso was our new work during 2014, with a goal of helping the existing congregations in the country grow through campaigns and evangelism support. I was able to make four trips to Burkina during the year and to take active part in 2 campaigns. The church at Patte Doie has local ownership of this work and has conducted an additional campaign at the end of the year. The results have been slow, with only 2 baptisms to report, but the work continues and the church is being encouraged by the support they are receiving. One of the positive results is the church sending one of their members to preaching school in order to better equip himself, addressing our biggest issue, the lack of teachers and preachers from the local area. With the help given by the Mesa and Broadway churches of Christ we are sending evangelists from Ghana and Togo each month to assist the Patte Doie church of Christ in their efforts.
So with 2014 behind us, what are the plans for 2015? I plan to continue working with the Bear Valley Extension Schools as we go forward, but in a different capacity. As the number of schools continue to increase, Bear Valley will be introducing a new organizational model to allow more consistency in how the schools are administered and it is my intention to continue to work with them once this new model is rolled out. Until then the loss of personal support at the end of the year has meant I will no longer be working directly with the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies, but I continue to assist the staff at the school with information and classroom materials as requested (I recently provided an overview of the Minor Prophets for use on the weekly radio broadcast). I greatly miss the opportunity to teach at the school and it is my hope and prayer that the necessary funds for Bear Valley’s new program will be made available soon so I can return to full time work with them. I am also continuing the work with Kingdom of Hope and Burkina Faso evangelism this year in much the same capacity as previously, with the biggest difference being the number of personal visits I can make to each location. I am still raising funds for travel and expenses to visit both locations with the hope of making two trips this year. I will also continue to raise funds for both locations making use of wire transfers to relay the funds as needed. At Kingdom of Hope, we need funds for the next classroom (approximately $7500 due to the increased cost of cement and wood) as well as 20 new sets of desks ($1200), as well as teaching materials and student books for the P5 class that will begin in August ($400). A new work I would like to be more involved with this next year with your help is with the G.S.A. Road church of Christ, located in a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia. This congregation has lost many members to Ebola during the past year, but continues to work and reach out to the community. Their preacher, Alfred Beyan, and I have been in contact for the past six months and he has reached out for help in teaching materials for the 75 children that attend weekly services. I have included copies of some of our correspondence at the end of this report for those who may be interested in assisting.
In closing, I want to thank those of you who have offered words of support during the last couple of months as I transition from living in West Africa to once again being U.S. based, and especially to those who continue to financially support the work being done in West Africa and other locations around the world. It has been a difficult time for me personally, but I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me and this work in the coming year.
As a reminder, personal support and support for specific works should now be sent to me, not to the Greenbrier church of Christ. Checks can be made out to African Missions and sent to:
Attn: African Missions 3310 Avenue B
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
If you would like to send a contribution directly to one of the works mentioned in this newsletter please let me know and I will provide you the contact and bank transfer information.
Thank you once again for all you have done to make this work a blessing for both me and those we serve.
In His service,
Tony ‘Wintima’ Johnson
To see Tony’s report with the letters from Afred in Monrovia, Liberia, please click here.