West Africa Happenings: March-April

Greetings to all those throughout the world who love our God, and have a desire to see His will done here on earth. May His blessings be showered upon all those who turn towards Him. As 2016 moves forward, the work is continuing throughout West Africa. So far this year, I have visited five of our schools of preaching, participated in seminars, taught classes, and organized evangelistic campaigns. We completed survey trips for potential new schools in Ganta Liberia, and Freetown Sierra Leone, and are moving forward with those plans. Lord willing, I will return to these two countries in a few weeks. With all of that, I have even had some time to travel to my home in the USA and visit my wife for a few weeks here and there. With your help, many are hearing the words of truth, and coming to Christ for salvation. The gospel is reaching the far corners of West Africa, as we face the challenges of poverty, disease, political instability, ethnic conflicts, and religious radicalism. Regardless of the obstacles, the gospel is being preached. Please keep my travels in your prayers. 

Raging Storm Damages Tamale
A torrential storm with very strong winds damaged our property at the school in Tamale Ghana during the last week. A significant portion of the roof was torn off, the ceilings in the classroom were damaged, our large poly tanks used for water storage were thrown down and broken, and a portion of the wall surrounding the school was blown over. I have asked for estimates on the amounts needed to repair the damage, and hope to get something within the next week. I am guessing we are looking at damage in the $5,000 and up range. If you can help with the needed repairs, then please let me know. 

New School in Ganta, Liberia
Our recent survey trip to Ganta Liberia began with a flight from Accra Ghana to Roberts International Airport near Monrovia, which was originally a United States Air Force Base built during World War II. Our trip to Liberia ended at the ELWA Hospital where much of the fight against Ebola was waged. Liberia has been ravaged by two civil wars that raged for over twenty-years, and after peace was finally gained in 2003, the war torn nation was pillaged again by the Ebola virus. One of the hardest hit areas from both the war and the virus was Nimba County in northern Liberia near the Guinea border. The city of Ganta in Nimba County is the location of our newest school of preaching in West Africa. Dust, motorbikes, and children are the major sites in this town, but the difficulties of the past have resulted in a great dependence upon God, and a yearning for the hope of a heavenly home by much of the population. During the civil war many refugees made their way to Ghana where they learned the true gospel and became members of our Lord’s church. Some of these new Christians were taken to our Ghana Bible Colleges and trained to become preachers and teachers of God’s word. Three of these men now live in the area around Ganta. Brother Robert Dahn obtained a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies from Bear Valley Bible Institute in Takoradi Ghana, and will be the new director of the school. Brother Fester Lee who graduated with a Certificate of Biblical Studies from the West Coast School of Preaching (A Bear Valley School) will also be one of the local instructors. Over sixty men have already expressed an interest in studying at the school, and the premises have been rented. It is our prayer that this school will provide leaders for the church in this area for years to come. 

Surveying Freetown Sierra Leone
Not far from war torn Liberia is war torn Sierra Leone. Not to be outdone, the Ebola virus also raged through this country during the recent pandemic. The brethren here have expressed a great desire to train leaders, and have requested that Bear Valley help them in this task. We recently met with a group of preachers and church leaders in Freetown to discuss the potential opportunities, and have developed a plan on how to move forward. We are looking for a location, and surveying the churches to obtain an indication of the interest in the program. Please keep all of our Sierra Leonean brethren in your prayers as we move forward with this possibility. 

Key Happenings at the Schools
The Bear Valley Bible Institute in Kpalime Togo
continues to be very active in evangelism with a new congregation planted and many souls hearing the gospel in coordination with the Gospel Chariot. The school is continuing their farming efforts with the fencing of the vegetable garden that was started with the help of Healing Hands. There are presently eleven students at this French speaking school as the previous graduates struggle in our Lord’s vineyard. The Bear Valley School in Doboro Ghana began their second class at the beginning of the year and presently has thirteen full-time students ranging in age from twenty to sixty-four. We have also began a weekend program for those who cannot commit full-time, and have seventeen part-time students enrolled in this program. The Master’s program is also continuing at the school near Accra with twenty-one students taking advantage of this opportunity. The West Coast School of Preaching near Takoradi Ghana reported 60 baptisms by staff and students since their break at the end of last year. The laying hens are continuing to produce around 35 eggs a day, and we are actively recruiting for our next class later this year. Please continue to keep brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah in your prayers. Even with all of the difficulties in Nigeria, the Bear Valley School near Ibadan is making a difference for Christ. The year began with World Bible School lectureships and campaigns with many hearing the gospel message. Brother Doug Wheeler made his final trip to Nigeria after working there for thirty-two years. Time will tell if he can stay away! Healing Hands made it to Nigeria during the period, and held an agriculture workshop for the school. The school also dug a bore hole for water, and continues their vocational training for the students. They are in great need of a van for evangelism. The Bear Valley School in Tamale Ghana is expanding their efforts to evangelize and edify the church in northern Ghana. Numerous trips have been made to follow up on graduates of the school, and to analyze how public preaching plans and equipment are moving forward. We are having seminars, and are hosting a women’s fellowship meeting in the coming months. Plans are in place to expand our training in the indigenous languages. The new Bear Valley School in Ganta Liberia is scheduled to begin around July 4th with and opening ceremony on June 18th. The final preparations are being made for the property and the enrollment of the students. Please keep this new school in your prayers. The two Bear Valley Schools in Cameroon continue their labor of love under the coordination of brother Dave Ballard. You can see the reports for the schools in Wotutu and Mbanga, and all of the schools in West Africa at this link: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/ 

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 

Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on May 15, 2016 .

West Africa Happenings: January-February

Greetings to all of our brethren and friends throughout the world. May our Lord continually bless you as you faithfully follow Jesus. The old year has passed away and the New Year has taken off quickly as we continue to labor in the white fields of West Africa. I have already had the opportunity to visit with the staff at four of our schools of preaching since the beginning of the year in the countries of Ghana and Togo. We have been able to address many issues and spend time looking at the year to come. Lord willing, I will be traveling to Liberia and Sierra Leone this week to analyze the potential for new preacher training programs in those countries. Both of these areas have encountered devastating civil wars, and a traumatic experience with the Ebola crisis in the recent past. This should make the locations ripe for the gospel! I am also in communication with some brethren in the country of Mali analyzing the potential for a program there. All of these areas are significantly Islamic which raises another challenge to be overcome as we attempt to evangelize the world. Please keep my travels in your prayers. 

I would like to spend the rest of this report reviewing our accomplishments during the prior year. We trained preachers, saved souls and planted churches in 2015. We distributed many Bibles and embarked on numerous evangelistic campaigns and seminars. The details these activities can be found on the Bear Valley website, but I would like to summarize a few of them here. 

But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied (Acts 12:24). 

Review of an Exciting Year (2015) 
Graduates, Baptisms, Restorations, Church Planting, Seminars and More

Bear Valley Bible Institute International recognized eighteen schools of preaching in fifteen countries throughout the world at the end of 2015. Seven of these schools of preaching were located in West Africa. The Bear Valley website indicates that 120 men graduated during 2015 while seventy-eight of those graduates came from our schools in West Africa. All of these men have been well prepared to teach and preach the gospel to their people. They make wonderful evangelists and missionaries, and we anticipate a significant impact upon the strength of the church in this part of the world. The seven schools in West Africa reported over 1,000 baptisms and restorations during the previous year. This number should be multiplied many times over, because it does not include the success of all of the previous graduates. We also had thirty-three congregations either planted or restored during 2015. The church is growing in both number of Christians and number of congregations, and in spiritual maturity. We presently have over 100 full-time students at our schools in West Africa, and are evaluating methods to train even more! Here is a brief synopsis of some of the happenings at each of our West African locations. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute - Kpalime Togo graduated eighteen French speaking preachers in 2015. Numerous evangelistic campaigns and lectureships resulted in over 100 baptisms and restorations and seven new congregations of our Lord’s church were established. They received great benefit during the year with their new Gospel Chariot and motorbikes which has increased their mobility and effectiveness. They currently have twelve students in their full-time program and are making attempts at integrating the training with vocational aspects. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute – Ibadan, Nigeria graduated nineteen evangelists in 2015. They were very active with twenty-four evangelistic campaigns and four lectureships which resulted in over 230 baptisms and restorations. Two new congregations were established during the prior year, and two congregations were restored. The school presently has thirty-four students in the first and second year of their full-time program. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute – Doboro, Ghana passed out their first batch of students in 2015 with eleven students completing the two year program. They had four evangelistic campaigns during the year with thirty baptisms and restorations and three new congregations planted. They currently have eleven full-time students enrolled to complete the program in two years, with an additional fourteen students who will be taking the full curriculum over a four year period. That makes a total of twenty-five men who are being trained at this new school near Accra. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute – Tamale, Ghana completed their third graduation in 2015 with ten men being sent out into the fields of harvest. They concluded six evangelistic campaigns and five lectureships during the year with 160 baptisms and restorations being recorded. Seven new congregations of our Lord’s church were planted and there was one congregation restored. Seven students are currently enrolled in the two year program. We are increasing their efforts toward evangelism in northern Ghana with regional evangelistic teams who have been supplied with public preaching equipment. 

The West Coast School of Preaching in Ituma, Ghana finally had a graduation in 2015 where twenty men received Certificates or Bachelor’s Degree to recognize their labors in the classroom. This represents two years of students since the prior year’s graduation was cancelled due to the Ebola crisis. They currently have sixteen full-time students studying God’s word. There was the report of eighty-five baptisms and restorations during the prior year, and one new congregation of the Lord’s church was established. They are presently considering alternative programs to bring in additional students. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute – Wotutu, Cameroon will not have another graduation until next year, but they were very active during the previous year. They held fifteen lectureships and six evangelistic campaigns in addition to the regular evangelism for the students. As a result, they reported 390 baptisms and restorations during the year with six new congregations planted and four restored. They currently have twenty-one students enrolled in their two year program. 

The Bear Valley Bible Institute – Mbanga, Cameroon is our newest school in West Africa, and our second Bear Valley school in a French speaking area. They currently have six students who are being prepared to lead the church in this part of the world. They reported 3 lectureships during 2015 with eighty-five baptisms and restorations, and one new congregation of our Lord’s church planted. 

Additional details of the activities for all of our West African schools of preaching can be found on the Bear Valley website where regular weekly/monthly reports are posted. Please keep all these schools in your prayers. The reports can be found at this link: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/ 

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on February 21, 2016 .

West Africa Happenings: October - December

Greetings to all of our brothers, sisters, and friends throughout the world. This report brings us closer to that day when our Lord will return and bring an end to the challenges and problems we face here on earth. The turmoil that is taking place in the world today is amazing. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape war and poverty in search of a better life. The world is becoming a more dangerous place with terrorist activities not only taking place in the Middle East and Africa, but also Paris and California. The U.S. government has issued a world-wide travel alert warning about possible terrorist attacks that could take place. How should all these events impact our desire to obey the Great Commission? Brethren, we must continue to take the gospel message of our Lord to all those who want to hear throughout the world, regardless of the dangers. An understanding of God’s word makes it clear that it would be much more terrorizing to stand before God on the Day of Judgment in an unsaved state then it would be to stand before a terrorist today in a saved state. As Jesus said: 

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) 

We must continue to labor in our Lord’s vineyard to bring the saving message to all those in the world with ears to hear. We cannot allow fear to keep us from doing God’s will. If you have not OBEYED the gospel yet, I plead with you in the name of Jesus to do it today. Do not risk an eternity of terror! 

Healing Hands International
One of the major challenges that we face at all of our preaching schools is how the graduates will support themselves and their families after they begin their work. Many times their congregations are small in number and weak in finances so they are not able to provide significant support to their preachers. We have implemented numerous programs over the year to address this problem. This includes workshops and seminars on giving and support of evangelists and preachers. We have a vocational training program at our school in Nigeria and have plans to implement one at our school in Togo. We have developed our schedule at the school in Tamale so our students can continue to tend their farms while they attend classes. We are now happy to report on another step in the right direction. Bear Valley Bible Institute has formed a partnership with Healing Hands International to help equip our students and their communities with agriculture skills that will better help them to provide for their families. 

Healing Hands International is an organization located in Nashville TN that has various programs including well drilling, disaster relief, and agriculture. Ebenezer Udofia lives in Kenya and has traveled to four of our schools in West Africa to hold two day workshops on sustainable agriculture using drip irrigation. All of these programs were a great success, and the students were given certificates that qualify them to teach the process to others. Brother Udofia plans to also visit our other schools over the next few months. We pray that this program will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of preparing workers for our Lord’s Kingdom. 

Preaching School Synopsis
All seven of our Bear Valley schools of preaching in West Africa continued to labor in our Lord’s vineyard during the period as they trained evangelists and brought lost souls to Christ. One significant development was the decision to change the names of many of our schools to reflect their relationship with Bear Valley. The new name will be Bear Valley Bible Institute followed by their location. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the happenings at each of our West African locations. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Kpalime, Togo held their fourth graduation ceremony as eighteen students successfully completed the program in this French speaking school. Twelve new students began classes, and there are plans to extend the course to include vocational training so the graduates can develop a skill to help support their families as they do the Lord’s work. The school continues to utilize the Gospel Chariot and dozens were baptized into Christ during the period. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Ibadan, Nigeria also celebrated a graduation during the period with fifteen students and instructors receiving Bear Valley Certificates. Thirty-three students are now enrolled in their two year full-time program. The students’ Bible studies continue to be integrated with practical applications of personal evangelism and vocational studies which will help to develop well rounded effective preachers. May our Lord continue to bless their efforts. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Doboro, Ghana continues to train men as eleven students prepare to finish the program at the end of 2015. Two new congregations were planted during the past couple of months, and many souls were brought to Christ. The Bear Valley Master’s program is generating much interest in Accra as more students are enrolling in this degree program. Two acres of land have been acquired and earmarked for future development for this school. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Tamale, Ghana held their first women’s’ lectureship during the period with 126 women from 39 congregations utilizing the facilities in Tamale for this purpose. A school farm was begun with the introduction of the program with Healing Hands, and the school is continuing to evangelize northern Ghana, and train evangelists to edify the new Christians. The West Coast School of Preaching in Ituma Ghana also continues their labor of love as they bring many wandering souls to Christ. They held their annual seminar during the period with the help of the Howe church of Christ in Texas. The annual Campaign for Christ evangelism program resulted in a new congregation being planted in the Central Region in the town of Breman Onwomaso. The school is presently training eighteen men to bring the gospel to their people in West Africa. Finally, the Bear Valley Bible Institute – Wotutu, Cameroon, and the Bear Valley Bible Institute – Mbanga, Cameroon also continue to have great success in training preachers and evangelizing their communities in English and French speaking Cameroon. Both of these schools are being coordinated by brother David Ballard of Pattonville Texas who is doing a wonderful job helping to direct their activities. Details of the activities in Cameroon and more information for all of our West African schools of preaching can be found on the Bear Valley website where regular weekly/monthly reports are posted. These reports can be found at this link: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/ 

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535 

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven's report with several pictures about the work, please click here.

Posted on December 15, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: July-September

Greetings to all of our brothers, sisters, and friends throughout the world. As we continue to train preachers and leaders, and take our Lord’s gospel to the streets of West Africa, we want to pause for a few minutes and greet those who make this work possible. With your help, our reach is extended far beyond what would be possible alone. Together we are helping to empower many faithful Christians in this part of the world to reach their full potential as workers for our Lord. May God continue to bless you richly as you sacrifice for Him. The last few months have been very busy as I travel throughout West Africa. I have attended four graduations, and numerous seminars and evangelistic campaigns in various countries over this time. Over eighty students have passed through various programs in Nigeria, Togo, and Ghana, and many have been brought to Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. I am tired but not worn out. It is my prayer that God will grant me the strength and courage to continue this work in the years to come, or until He returns to take us to that heavenly home that is being prepared for those whose name is written in the Book of Life

The Book of Life – What if ... ? 

... And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God,
and books were opened.
And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
... And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:12-15

There is a question that dwells in all of our minds. What if ...? We all make many decisions every day to deal with this uncertainty. Insurance, savings, helmets, and seat belts are all evidence of out attempts to protect ourselves from potential problems. With all of the wars, terror, diseases, and difficulties taking place in the world today, my wife and I have pondered this question in relation to the work in West Africa. What if ... ? Our answer is simple. We believe that the righteous God that we serve will protect us when we do His will, and if we die or Jesus returns then He has written our names in the Book of Life. (Phil 14:3; Rev3:5;13:8;17:8;20:12,15;21:27;22:19)! 

The simple fact is that 150,000 people in the world die every day, and we could be one of them no matter where we are in the world! That leads us to another question that should be continually on our minds. What if we do not go and declare the gospel of our Lord? What if 150,000 people die today without understanding and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ? What if their names have not been written in the Book of Life? That is why it is so imperative that we all work together to go and preach the gospel? 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, ... Romans 1:16

Has your name been written in the Book of Life? Jesus makes it clear that we will be judged based upon His words (Jn 12:48), and His blood has the power to forgive our sins (1 Jn 1:9). He will either welcome us into heaven (Jn 14:1-6), or punish us for eternity (2 Thess 1:6-10). The Bible teaches that it is only through continual submission and obedience to Christ that one can be saved? What do you believe and understand about salvation, and is your belief based upon feelings, the traditions of men, or the word of God? What if ...? 

The Book of Life - What if ... ? 

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21

Jesus warns us to be careful not to be deceived by the world (Matt 7:13-23), and this warning is repeated over and over again in God’s word (James 1:21-22; 1 John 1:7-8; Jude 3-4). What if you are mistaken about what is necessary to be saved? Is it possible that you are being deceived by yourself or others? Is your name written in the Book of Life? Let us look at closely at God’s word. 

The word of God is clear that faith and complete submission and obedience to Christ are required to have our sins forgiven and our name recorded in the book (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:17; 1 John 2:3-4; Acts 2:37-38). We cannot base our salvation on one verse of the Bible. We must take all of God’s word and apply it to our lives (2 Tim 3:16-17). God tells us that we can know if our names are written in the Book of Life (1 John 5:13), but God is clear that this is conditional upon our obedience (1 John 1:7-10; 1 John 2:3-4; Hebrews 5:9-10; 1 Peter 4:17-18). We are commanded repeatedly to be diligent workers to ensure our salvation (2 Tim 2:15; 2 Peter 1:10). 

Most of the world does not recognize that continual obedience is necessary for salvation? In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul prayed that his Jewish countrymen may be saved because they had a zeal for God but it was not according to knowledge (Romans 10:1-4). The Jews wanted to save themselves through their own works rather than becoming completely submissive to Christ. Paul emphasizes the need for obedience over and over again in the book of Romans (1:5; 2:8; 6:16-17; 10:16; 15:18; 16:19; 16:26). The question is not whether we must believe to be saved. We must believe, but we must also obey! We must believe in the Son of God, be submissive and obedient to Him, be buried and resurrected with Him, and faithfully follow Him until death (Rom 10:9-10; 6:3- 4; Col 2:12; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Mk 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:21; Gal 3:26-27; John 3:3-5; 1 Cor 12:13; Acts 2:37-38). Only then can we be assured that our names will be written in the Book of Life on that Day of Judgment! 

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 

... for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Romans 6:3-8

And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:47

Has the Lord added your name to the Book of Life? What if Jesus returns today? What if ... ? 

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535 

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

Posted on October 4, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: May-June

Greetings once again from your coworkers and brethren throughout West Africa. We pray that our Lord is continually showering His blessings upon you as we strive together to please Him. The year so far has been a busy one with four of the last six months spent traveling throughout West Africa. We have held seminars and workshops, and numerous evangelistic campaigns during this time with more to follow in the upcoming months. This year is one for graduations for the schools where I work with many students completing their studies in Takoradi, Tamale, Kpalime, and Ibadan. I have been blessed to be able to participate in many of these occasions so far this year. There have also been efforts to establish a new school in the country of Liberia, however my plans to visit there are being hampered by the recent reoccurrence of Ebola. The challenges are great but the accomplishments that we are making with your help are monumental. My reports throughout the year will highlight many of these events. Please keep all of our graduates and the new Christians that have been added to our Lord’s kingdom in your prayers. Please pray for traveling mercies for myself as I journey from place to place edifying and encouraging all of these wonderful works. I would also ask that you keep my health in your prayers, as I continue to battle with occasional bouts of malaria during my travels. 

Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, ... (Romans 15:30) 

Let us now look at some of the happenings at the various schools in the previous period. 

Preaching School Synopsis 
The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo continues their labor of love as they train preachers and bring souls to Christ. The new Gospel Chariot is getting a continual workout with evangelistic campaigns taking place in numerous locations as noted in their recent reports. One entire denominational congregation came to an understanding of the truth and decided to begin worshiping according to the pattern we find in the New Testament. We are actively preparing for the graduation of eighteen students in September of this year, and the beginning of a new class of twenty students at the same time. The school has appealed for the funds for a motorbike. If you can assist in any way, please let me know. The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana is moving forward after celebrating another graduation during the previous period. With nineteen students presently enrolled in the program, and many others who have already passed through, this school is having a tremendous impact on the church in southern Ghana. One of the challenges at all of our schools is the feeding of students while they attend, and the support of them and their families when they embark upon their ministry. Todd Clippard and Andy Kizer from the USA visited the WCSOP to help with this problem by implementing an agriculture, poultry, and animal rearing program. Eggs, animals, and vegetables will be used to help feed the students, and skills will be taught that can be utilized after their graduation to provide for their families. We pray that similar programs can be established and implemented at our other schools of preaching. We would also ask that you continue to keep Daniel Ampadu Asimah in your prayers as he recovers from his stroke. 

The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria has successfully made it through another year as they prepare faithful Christians to work in the Lord’s vineyard in this part of the world. Nigeria now has a new president but the country continues to face many difficulties with dire poverty, over population, radical Islam, and other significant challenges. The SWSE in Ibadan and their satellite programs in Lagos are training over 35 men, and are considering another satellite school in northeastern Nigeria where a number of new converts from World Bible School reside. The schools vocational training program is proving successful with all of their students studying some income generating trade such as computer systems, poultry farming, welding, or electrical works. We are now preparing for the next graduation which will take place in August of this year. The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in southern Ghana is striving to fulfill their mission as a beacon and propagator of the truth in this part of the world. The school has now been formally registered with the government and they are attempting to locate a permanent place to relocate when the initial four year rental agreement is completed. I had the opportunity to spend a week with the students teaching them Biblical Geography and can honestly say that these are a devoted, zealous group of Christians who will greatly benefit the work around Accra. Brother Gary Fallis once again traveled to Accra to train numerous brethren at the Masters level, and we thank him greatly for his sacrifice. The school continues to face problems with water, and electricity so we ask for your prayers in this regard. May our Lord continue to bless this effort! The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana is diligently attempting to face the challenges of working in a predominantly Islamic poverty stricken part of the world. We recently held a well-attended workshop of preachers where we actively analyzed the problems of evangelism and edification in this part of the country and attempted to come up with solutions. We divided the northern part of Ghana into regions, and we are developing evangelistic plans for each region. The school in Tamale continues to face water problems, and there is the need to consider drilling a well. We are also looking for a missionary who would be interested in living in Tamale and assisting with the work there. Accommodations are available, and there may be assistance with limited support. We continue to recruit students and twelve have applied for the upcoming class. Ten students graduated a few days ago, and more on this graduation will be in the next report. The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu continues bringing many to Christ through their significant evangelistic efforts. We now have our third class at the school in Wotutu, and by the grace of God a new campus has been established in Mbanga which is located in the French speaking portion of Cameroon. Fifteen students have applied, and five have already showed up for classes. We pray that more shall follow. Both of these schools are now operating under the name of Bear Valley Bible Institute International – Wotutu/Mbanga. Many of our other satellite schools will be changing their names in the months to come. The Institute in Wotutu was also able to acquire a school van during the period which will be a great help to the work there. Please keep both of these schools in your prayers. 

More information on all of these Bear Valley Bible Institute schools can be found on their website! 

Financial Support 
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love 
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on July 11, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: March-April

Greetings to all throughout the world who are able to read this report. We thank God for the opportunity to labor in His vineyard, and pray that His blessings find their way into your lives. We continue to face many challenges in the work in West Africa, but the rewards are bountiful. With your help, souls are being saved, leaders are being trained, and the church is growing in both number and maturity. One major challenge we face in West Africa, and the rest of the world, is the clash that often occurs between the demands and expectations of local culture, and the Gospel of our Lord. We briefly review the problem in this newsletter. We also examine some of the activities taking place at each of the preaching schools in West Africa. Finally, the email version of this report will present a photo album of some of the major happenings during this period. 

Preaching School Synopsis 
The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo continues to labor diligently in our Lord’s Kingdom. Many are being brought to Christ, with twenty-eight souls baptized during one recent evangelistic campaign. This school is truly a tool of God to bring the gospel to those who have been deceived in the Christian world. The only thing worse than being deceived, is failing to see the truth when it is presented to you and abiding in that deception. Thankfully, many are identifying the truth in the fertile fields of Togo. The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana continues to grow in size as they presently train nineteen students in their full-time two-year program. They are active in evangelism, and bringing many to Christ when they are not in the classroom soaking up the word of God. In a recent campaign, some were baptized after hearing the gospel, and over 50 prospects were turned over to the local congregation. Additional land was purchased during the period to be used for raising poultry, goats, and growing crops to help in the support and training of the students. Daniel Ampadu Asiamah has now been moved from Accra to his home in Takoradi and needs our prayers as he struggles to recover. The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria continues their labor of love in the highly populated area between Lagos and Ibadan Nigeria. Twenty-five full time students are diligently studying the Scriptures in the village of Butubutu. Each of these students is linked up with a tradesman for vocational training while preparing themselves to preach the gospel. The school places a lot of emphasis on World Bible School courses and seminars to assist them in the spread of God’s message. The construction of the school facilities is rapidly reaching their conclusion as they appeal for funds to finish the project. We thank God for the sacrifice of these brethren! The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in southern Ghana moved into their second year with eleven students receiving training in the word of God. The school placed a special emphasis on evangelism with quarterly week-long campaigns, and weekly local evangelistic efforts. A dry well and an electrical infrastructure that cannot supply the needs of a developing population are two areas where the school faces challenges. They are digging the well deeper, and the use of a generator helps to provide lights for the students. We have come a long way in building our library, and computer room, and acquiring the necessary office equipment for the smooth running of the school. We are now looking at a permanent site where we can move from the rented premises upon the conclusion of our lease. An appeal for funds is being made for this purpose! The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana also faces a water crisis, and is considering the possibility of digging a well on their property. I had the opportunity to spend a week with the students earlier this year teaching on the subject of Christian Evidences. This third class of ten students will graduate and move into the white fields of harvest later this year. The local congregation which meets on the school premises is continuing to grow, and is diligently working towards building their own church building. One of our instructors, Jaminga, is unable to walk and is in need of your prayers. He was told he will need an operation to put a metal plate in his leg to solve the problem. We pray that he will be healed soon! The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu began the year with 22 new students in their third (Gamma) class since their inception. The school theme for 2015 is “My Year of Growth” and they are working towards accomplishing this goal through extensive evangelism and edification. One congregation that had been dead for ten years was recently revived through the efforts of the school. The school is also attempting to help their graduates with vocational skills such as raising poultry to help them support their families while preaching the gospel. A new Bear Valley school commenced classes in the French speaking region of Cameroon, and more details will be available in the next report. Please keep our brethren in Cameroon in your prayers! 

When the Gospel & Culture Clash
Should we allow culture to change us as Christians or should Christians attempt to change culture? It is often a difficult balance to interact within society while shining the Christian light as required by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is pressure in the church and the world today to allow cultural influences to change the doctrine we find in the word of God. In West Africa there is a deeply ingrained traditional belief in the spirit world that includes a Supreme Being, lesser deities, and ancestral spirits. There is interaction that takes place with the spiritual world on a regular basis, and participation is expected by all family members. Can we offer sacrifices to lesser gods? Can we pour drink offerings to our ancestral spirits? What are the implications of allowing these cultural practices to influence our Christianity in the naming of our children, the funerals of our relatives, or other major events in our lives? This is not merely a problem in West Africa. Culturally accepted practices related to homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, worship, etc. are becoming acceptable in the western Christian world even though they are contrary to the word of God. We must identify those areas of culture that are incompatible with our Christian faith and reject them. Satan is screaming that we can have heaven and live our lives in accordance with the desires of the world rather than the doctrine of God. Do not be deceived! We must allow God rather than culture to determine what is acceptable in our Christian lives! Let us be diligent to follow God’s word and not be deceived by Satan! 

Financial Support 
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at:

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535 

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on May 17, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: January-February

Greetings to all those who love our Lord, and desire to see God’s glory manifested through the expansion of His kingdom throughout the world. We thank God for your love, encouragement, and support! 

Year End Review 
The previous year was a wonderful and prosperous one for the work in West Africa, and the current year is already showing promise to be even more exciting! Bear Valley Bible Institute now has seventeen extension schools and over three hundred full-time preacher training students throughout the world. There have been over two thousand baptisms and restorations in the past year, and over one hundred congregations were planted and restored directly related to these Bear Valley schools! This does not even take into consideration the multitude of those who are being brought to Christ from the hundreds of graduates who have already completed these preacher training programs. We find over one-third of these Bear Valley schools and students in West Africa! With your help, our evangelistic and edification efforts are having a significant impact on the growth and strength of the church in this part of the world. 

As a new year begins, we spend significant time reflecting on the accomplishments in the past, and planning for the future. The past few weeks have involved conferences with the staff and instructors at a number of the schools in West Africa, and an extension meeting with the Bear Valley staff in Denver Colorado. These strategic planning sessions will continue over the next few weeks here in Africa. In this newsletter, we would like to look forward at some of our challenges for 2015 and beyond, and look back at some of the major accomplishments throughout West Africa during 2014. With your help, we are training many to evangelize, teach and preach the gospel message of our Lord! It is our prayer that God gives us the strength to continue this effort for years to come. We pray that the gospel will continue to touch the hearts of countless others through our efforts. We have included a photo gallery with many of our favorite photos from 2014 in the email version of this newsletter. Thank you again for your sacrifice that makes this work possible. May God continue to shower his blessings upon you! 

Looking Back and Forward 
The year 2015 brings many potential challenges and opportunities for the work in West Africa. We plan to continue to train and edify evangelistic leaders through all of our Bible training programs, and to empower them to successfully embark upon our Lord’s work in this part of the world. Many of the challenges that we face, are the same ones that you hear about continually in the media, and in my previous reports. Radical Islamic groups are limiting our ability to work in many places due to fear and intimidation of the population. We plan to work diligently in those areas where God has opened doors, and pray that our Lord will open other doors also in these difficult turbulent locations. Disease and poverty continues to play both a positive and negative role in the work in West Africa. While Ebola has closed many doors, it has also opened many hearts. It has caused many to evaluate their mortality and where they will spend eternity. There has recently been a request to start a new Bible training program in one of the hardest hit areas for Ebola, and we are looking into that opportunity. Many specific plans are being made for the establishment of new schools. You can follow along throughout the year at each of these locations on the Bear Valley website, and through my regular reports. May our Lord continue to bless you richly.. 

Looking back, the year 2014 was an exciting one for the work in West Africa. The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo recorded 409 baptisms and five new congregations were planted during twelve evangelistic campaigns! Many others were also edified during seven seminars and lectureships throughout the year. The Bible school currently has fifteen students who are scheduled to graduate in 2015. This will bring the total graduates from CBS to forty-one. Many of these were leaders in denominations before coming to understand the truth. We are now preparing for twenty new students to arrive in 2015. The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana is continuing their work in the Western Region of Ghana. This school recorded 97 baptisms during 2014 as a result of six evangelistic campaigns, and one new congregation was established! Many others are being brought to Christ by the graduates who have passed through this school over the last decade. The school also had five seminars and lectureships during the previous year. A new class began in 2014 with eighteen faithful Christian men. The 2014 graduation was rescheduled for April of 2015 due to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Daniel Ampadu Asiamah continues to need our prayers as he recovers from his stroke. The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria is laboring in the white fields of Nigeria with over 125 baptisms resulting from thirty-five special and weekly evangelistic campaigns during the previous year. Over 200 souls were restored to the church, and four new congregations were planted during the year. The school also held four seminars to edify the local Christians in 2014. The SWSE currently has twenty- eight full-time students and twenty part-time students at their three campuses. We are considering the possibility of establishing a new full-time training program in Lagos Nigeria in the near future. The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies is a new school but they have not been idle during the previous year. They recorded twenty-eight baptisms, and two new congregations as a result of two special and regular evangelistic campaigns. We also held one seminar during the fall of the previous year. They currently have eleven students, and efforts are underway to recruit a new class for 2016. The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana is continuing their effort to build up the church in northern Ghana with ten students scheduled to graduate in 2015. This will bring the total graduates in Tamale to thirty-eight men over the past six years. There were fifteen baptisms as a result of five evangelistic campaigns during 2014, and many others were brought to Christ through the efforts of our graduates. The missionary that was living in Tamale, Tony Johnson, remarried in 2014, and is no longer working with Bear Valley Bible Institute. He has now moved to Council Bluffs Iowa in the USA. The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu is doing a wonderful work through the coordinating efforts of brother David Ballard from Pattonville, Texas. The school recorded 238 baptisms and 100 restorations during ten evangelistic campaigns, and lots of weekend evangelism! Three new congregations of our Lord’s church were planted, and three additional congregations were revived as a result of these efforts. The school graduated twenty-three students in December 2014, and twenty-two new students began their training program in January 2015. May our Lord continue to bless this wonderful work! 

Financial Support 
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love 
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on March 1, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: November-December...

Greetings to all of those who love our Lord and yearn to see His Gospel proclaimed throughout the world. As we move forward into a New Year, the work is flourishing and growing in West Africa. We take this time to describe some of the significant happenings over the last few months. 

15 Plus Souls Baptized in Northern Togo 
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the POWER of God to Salvation for everyone who believes ...” (Romans 1:16). This power was profoundly evident in the French speaking village of Korbongou Togo recently as 15 precious souls made the decision to be buried with Jesus Christ in baptism on a wet and rainy day. Thoughts of that day of Pentecost two thousand years ago came to our mind as we witnessed the atmosphere of joy as sins were washed away, and new members were added to the body of Christ. A new congregation was born, and we are rejoicing with the angels in heaven! There is now a new beacon of light shining brightly in this French speaking area of the world which has been influenced greatly by pagan and Islamic religious beliefs. As the weeks pass by, others have chosen to forsake all to join this growing congregation, and over 100 precious souls, including children, are now joining this group of Christians at their regular worship assemblies. We would like to take you on a quick journey to the village of Korbongou in northern Togo. 

A Journey to Northern Togo 
As you move north through Togo you pass through about 40 different ethnic groups of people. Each of these distinct tribes has their own language, their own culture, and their own attitude towards religion. The predominant tribe in the southern portion of the country is the Ewes who make up about one third of the population of Togo. Many in this tribe which is also prevalent in the neighboring country of Ghana have embraced Christianity! However, it has been very difficult for them to give up their pagan African Traditional Religious beliefs. As a result, many have moved towards a syncretic belief system that merges Jesus with their traditional beliefs much like the Voodoo that you find in the Caribbean Islands. The Ewes are the indigenous tribe in the city of Kpalime where one of our preaching schools (Center for Biblical Studies) is located. 

Moving Into Islam 
As you continue to move north towards central Togo, you reach an imaginary line where the religious climate shifts, and Islam becomes much more widespread. It is interesting to be driving along and see the obvious outward signs. The buildings change from churches to mosques, and the dress changes from African secular western style to African Islamic Middle Eastern style. You begin to hear the call to prayer from the loud speakers on the minarets. As with Christianity, many of those who have embraced the Islamic faith continue to practice the African Traditional Religion of their ancestors. This is sometimes called Folk Islam. 

A Melting Pot 
As you continue to move farther north through Togo you pass through various ethnic groups that have either incorporated Islam or Christianity, or both or neither, into their traditional religious beliefs. When you arrive at the Burkina Faso border to the north, you reach an area of Togo that has become a melting pot of different tribes from both Togo and the neighboring countries of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Nigeria, and Benin. While many in the area have embraced Islam, a large percentage of the population continues to practice the pagan religion of their ancestors. This brings us to the village of Korbongou. It is located about 10 miles from both the Burkina Faso border and the major city of Dapaong where we planted a new congregation a few years ago. A Togolese missionary named Bedjelsi Fidele moved to this area in 2010 after graduating from a preaching school in Benin. He has been doing an amazing work throughout this French speaking economically challenged area of the world. 

The Campaign in Korbongou 
Fidele had already spent a week going from house-to- house teaching the people when I arrived in Korbongou. We continued for the next few days gathering those in the village and answering questions regarding Christ, His church, and God’s plan of redemption during the day, while we publicly preached the Gospel at night. The people are eager to hear God’s word! They are excited to understand that they can become part of our Lord’s Kingdom! They want to experience the spiritual blessings that God has promised them. They want to exchange their physical poverty for that crown of salvation, and the hope of riches of heaven. They began to line up asking to be saved. We sat down with each of them to make sure they understood the sacrifice that is necessary to become a disciple of Christ. They must forsake all! They must be willing to confess Christ before everyone no matter the cost! They must be born again, and become new creatures in our Lord’s spiritual kingdom. 

Even though it was rainy season, we had to drive the new Christians in groups of five or six about ten miles to a place for baptism. Over and over again, we load up my car to meet Fidele at the water. We again discuss God’s plan of salvation with them to ensure that they completely understand what they are doing. And then they are immersed for the forgiveness of their sins. They experience salvation! The words of Jesus ring in my ears. “... Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved ...” (Mark 16:15-16). We thank God for these new Christians and this new congregation in Korbongou. There are many villages just like Korbongou in the world today. They need the Gospel! They need God’s Power to lead them to salvation. With your help, we can preach the message that will change the eternal destinies of many! 

Bear Valley Preaching Schools 
The work is abounding throughout West Africa. Students are being trained and graduating from our programs to continue their work in the white fields of harvest. We are continually engaging in evangelistic campaigns to bring souls to Christ, and organizing seminars to edify the faithful throughout this part of the world. Each of our schools in Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, and Cameroon send regular reports detailing many of these major events that are taking place. These reports and additional information can be found on the Bear Valley website at this address: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/ 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58) 

Financial Support 
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ 

For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535 

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love 
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on January 18, 2015 .

West Africa Happenings: September-October 2014...

Greetings to all of our friends and brethren throughout the world. Our Lord is on His way, and we are laboring diligently in the white fields of Africa as we anxiously prepare for His arrival. With your help the church is becoming larger and more mature here in this part of the world. We thank you all for your partnership in this effort! 

Barriers to Preaching the Gospel 
Boko Haram, ethnic conflicts, malaria, polygamy, idolatry, Islam, denominationalism, many different languages, poverty, political upheaval, corruption, dangerous roads, and bandits. These are only some of the many barriers that we face as we attempt to spread the gospel throughout West Africa. The list could go on and on. Two recent happenings that are making the work more challenging are the Ebola virus raging through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and the recent military coup in the country of Burkina Faso. These are two areas where plans were being made for evangelistic and training programs that have now been put on hold. Borders have been closed, transportation has been limited, and the interaction between the local people has been curtailed. However whatever the challenges and barriers, we must continue to preach the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission! 

Bear Valley Preaching Schools 
The work is flourishing at all of the Bear Valley extension preaching schools located in West Africa. We are training leaders for the Lord’s church, preaching the gospel to the community, and bringing many souls to Christ as a result of our efforts. With your help, the church is expanding and maturing in this part of the world! In the following section, we will describe some of the happenings at each of these schools. 

The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies located in Dobro/Nsawam is making progress. Brother Kojo Aquah Beenyi is a welcome addition to the group of full-time instructors at the Institute. Brother Ralph Williams with the Bear Valley Master’s program was able to visit Ghana for two weeks for another period of short course training. The students have been divided into four groups for the purpose of doing evangelism during their training, and the local congregation that was planted by the school earlier this year in Dobro is growing in both number and maturity. 

Many wonderful happenings can be found for the Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website. The school has been actively distributing the tracts that were received from Mission Printing earlier this year. They are a wonderful tool for evangelism and edification. The church in Wotutu started a training program for ladies to help them in the children’s classes, and this has generated a lot of interest. The evangelistic zeal of the staff and students at the Institute in Cameroon is an inspiration to us all! Please keep them in your prayers. 

The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo continues to train evangelists and church leaders in French speaking West Africa. During the period, a van complete with a driver, PA system and projection equipment was placed into service in Togo, and has already been used for a number of evangelistic campaigns. The church is also continuing their preaching on the radio, and using other methods to bring the gospel to the community. With your help, each of the students was given a Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible in the French language to help with their studies. You can read more about all the works taking place in Kpalime Togo on the Bear Valley website. 

The West Coast School of Preaching near Takoradi, Ghana is moving towards their upcoming graduation that will be taking place at the end of November. The school is continuing their regular “Campaigns for Christ” with a recent campaign in the village of Sofokrom resulting in two baptisms and a number of additional Bible studies being set up. The annual seminar by the Howe church of Christ was originally scheduled for September, but had to be cancelled due to the present Ebola crisis taking place in West Africa. Brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah continues to need our prayers as he goes through the rehabilitation process from the stroke he had late last year. 

The Southwest School of Evangelism near Ibadan Nigeria celebrated their twelfth annual graduation and lectureship during the month of August. Nine graduates completed the two year Bear Valley program, and received Certificates of Biblical Studies. Another twelve completed the one year needed for a Diploma in Theology, and three were recognized for their attendance. Since the schools inception twelve years ago, over 100 men have graduated from the program, and over 50 congregations have been planted through the efforts of the school. Please keep this work in your prayers. 

The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana continues to edify our Lord’s church in northern Ghana. We thank God that many of the challenges such as Ebola, radical Islam, political upheavals, and ethnic conflicts have not been prevalent in the area around Tamale. We pray that this relative peace continues so the work can move forward. The school and church in Tamale have been active in evangelism with some new congregations planted over the past few months. Plans are being put in place to expand the evangelistic efforts throughout northern Ghana. 

Plans are also being made to set up a radio station in the area around Tamale. The living quarters for the onsite director have now been completed. 

With over 100 students presently being trained in the various full-time residential programs throughout West Africa, the impact on the church in this part of the world can be immense. We thank each and every one of you for your sacrifice that makes this work possible. 

Additional information can be found for all of the schools on the Bear Valley website at this address: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/ 

Financial Support 
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible. 

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ For: West Africa Mission 

Mailed to: 
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653 

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535 

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email. 

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love 
Steven Ashcraft 

To see Steven’s report with pictures from the work, please click here.

Posted on November 9, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: July-August 2014

Greetings once again from West Africa to all of our brethren throughout the world. We thank God for your prayers, love, encouragement and support as we strive together to preach the gospel of our precious Lord. During this reporting period, time was spent preaching at a seminar in Ghana, participating in an evangelistic campaign in Burkina Faso, teaching a week long class in Cameroon, and meeting with the brethren at the various Bear Valley schools in West Africa. I now find myself in Ghana once again preparing for another evangelistic campaign. In this newsletter, I will attempt to outline some of the significant happenings.

The Fear of ...
“Are you afraid of ...?” The object changes, but the question that often confronts me is the same. “Are you afraid of ... malaria, Muslims, and now Ebola!”

The media is continually in a feeding frenzy upon the fears of people as they report on events throughout the world. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears with 239 passengers aboard, and the plane has never been found. An American journalist is beheaded by Islamic militants with the promise that more executions are to come. And now Ebola hemorrhagic fever is ravishing West Africa with over 1,500 dead, and an estimate by the World Health Organization that 20,000 will be infected over the next nine months.

Ebola is a terrible disease that kills from 50% to 90% of those who are infected. It is spreading rapidly in the countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and has made its way to Nigeria and Senegal. It is now on the doorsteps of Ghana! You can see the concern when you enter the airport, and notice the immigration staff with latex gloves, and masks. The opening of schools in Ghana was delayed, and governmental meetings are presently taking place on how to control any outbreak here. Many of our brethren in other West African countries are suffering, and have requested our assistance to buy gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and food to help those in need. At least 20 members of the congregations of our Lord’s church in Nimba County in Liberia have tested positive for Ebola, and some of those have already died. Many others are under quarantine. I am attaching to the email copy of this newsletter a letter from the Central church of Christ in Nimba County Liberia with a request for assistance. I will gladly forward any donations to them quickly. The preacher for the congregation is a graduate of the West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana. Many will die before this epidemic is brought under control! We can help alleviate some of their suffering.

That leaves the question, “Are you afraid of Ebola?” Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” As human beings, we will all encounter both death and the judgment during our eternal existence (unless Jesus comes before we die). If we are prepared for the judgment, then there should be no fear of death! However, if we are not prepared for the judgment, then we should fear both death and the wrath of God. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 tells us that Jesus is coming to take vengeance on those who have not “obeyed the gospel” and “do not know God,” the two requirements necessary to be ready for that great day. God says we can have “confidence in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17), and that we should have no fear (1 John 4:18). Obedience to the gospel, and diligence to “walk in the light” should alleviate any fear of death! Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ (Romans 6:17; 6:3-4)? Are you walking in the light (1 John 1:7)? Are you ready for the judgment day (Luke 12:40)?

Bear Valley Preaching Schools
There have been many wonderful and exciting happenings at the West Africa Bear Valley extension preaching schools during this reporting period. The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in the Eastern Region of Ghana continues their labor of love as they train preachers in southern Ghana. A new congregation was planted by the school on the campus with an average Sunday attendance of 27. Future evangelistic efforts are planned. Brother Jerry Bates with Bear Valley spent a week at the school teaching a class on leadership. 

I had the opportunity to teach a week long class at the Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu on Biblical Geography. While I was there, a shipload of tracts from Mission Printing arrived from the USA to be used for evangelism and edification throughout the country. The school’s open air preaching and evangelism continues to show great success with the Wotutu congregation building bursting at the seams! Brother David Ballard is doing a wonderful work with this school, and arrived in Cameroon as I was leaving. 

The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime, Togo had many successes and a few challenges during this period. A lectureship and seminar were held that edified local members, and helped some denominational pastors learn more about the “One True Church” of the Bible. The adopt-a- congregation program is showing promise as a number of new buildings have been erected, and preachers hired. Some of the students continue to endure significant persecution from their denominational pasts, and two students were forced to leave the school due to financial threats from their previous members. 

The West Coast School of Preaching near Takoradi, Ghana have asked for our continued prayers for brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah as he recovers from his stroke. Students at the school had evangelistic campaigns during the period that resulted in around 20 baptisms. Recruiting efforts are going well with 19 students scheduled to begin later in the year. Unfortunately, some prospective Liberian students may not be able to attend due to the Ebola crisis. 

The Southwest School of Evangelism near Ibadan, Nigeria continues to preach the gospel and to bring souls to Christ in the challenging field of Nigeria. They also enjoyed a week-long visit by brother Jerry Bates who had the opportunity to teach from the book of Romans. Entrance exams were given for the next class and the full roster of twenty five plus students has been filled. They continue to seek financial support for this effort. 

The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana has their hands full in northern Ghana, as they build up leaders in this difficult portion of the country. They have repeatedly needed to deal with false teachings throughout the area relating to miracles, polygamy, and congregational autonomy. A seminar was held for church leaders regarding Biblical church organization which was very well attended.

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to:
Mountain Home church of Christ
For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com

USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on September 7, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: May-June 2014

Greetings from West Africa to all those who love our Lord, and have a desire to see His will done here on earth.

The Work Continues!
I am astonished at how our Lord uses His servants to spread the gospel throughout the world! We are God’s chosen vessels to deliver His saving message. Over the past few months, you could find me preaching and teaching the gospel all over West Africa. “Do you know Jesus? Can we spend some time and study the Bible together?” I asked a group of Islamic men in the streets of Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. In another town in the neighboring country of Togo, I meet a denominational pastor who asks, “What church are you with?” I open up the Bible and begin to teach him about Jesus Christ’s church. In southern Ghana, my voice booms through the loud speakers, “Jesus is coming soon! Are you ready?” I then begin to teach the crowd what they must do to prepare themselves for heaven. Much of my time is spent teaching the students at the various Bear Valley schools, or meeting and planning with the staff to make this possible. I ask the students in the classroom in Nigeria, “Do you want to be like Paul? Then take up your cross and follow Jesus! Prepare yourselves for a difficult and rewarding life!” We face many challenges in the developing countries of the world. Life is more fragile, so there seems to be more of a focus and reliance upon God. Malaria, disease, or accidents could take you away from this world at any time. If we want to hear Christ say, “Enter my good and faithful servant,” then we need to be ready whether we live in Africa or the USA. “Are you ready to enter heaven? Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ? Are you faithfully following Christ?” Paul says in 2 Cor. 6:2, “... now is the day of salvation.”

A New Congregation is Planted!
Two thousand years ago, after Christ died for our sins and ascended into heaven, the gospel of Christ was first preached in Jerusalem. Peter answered the question, “What shall we do?” with “Repent and be baptized ... for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:37-38 NKJV). Those who “gladly received his word” (Acts 2:41) were baptized, and added by the Lord to His church (Acts 2:47). Our students, graduates, and instructors at our West African Bear Valley extension schools are continually preaching this message of salvation to truth seekers, and many are coming to Christ! Souls are being saved, and congregations are being planted! Recently, in Nkoransa Ghana, we assembled a team to preach the gospel to this town. We walked two-by-two from house-to-house. With Bibles in our hands, love in our hearts, and a saving message on our lips, eleven souls were baptized into Christ. On the first day of the week, a new congregation of the Lord’s people began to worship in spirit and truth. Since that time, five additional Christians have been added to the Lord’s church in this town. We thank and praise God for this new congregation in Nkoransa. Please keep these newborn babes in your prayers!

Bear Valley Preaching Schools
There are many exciting events taking place at the Bear Valley schools of preaching throughout West Africa. Here are a few recent happenings: 

The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in the Eastern Region of Ghana is off to a wonderful start. There is great joy by both the students and instructors that God has given them this opportunity to train men for our Lord’s Kingdom. Their hand-dug well is now providing water for the students. They continue to need a better-equipped library, a copy machine, and a generator. Can you help with their needs? Please keep this school in your prayers. 

The Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu continues their labor of love with great success through their weekly evangelistic campaigns, and daily open air radio program. Many are hearing the gospel and coming to Christ! We are excited to say that some of the previous graduates are now teaching short courses to the existing students. We see this as wonderful progress in their program. If you want to learn more about their evangelistic efforts, their new prison ministry, the persecution of students through beatings and imprisonment, or the recent visit by Richard Renfro from Mission Printing, please read the regular reports on the Bear Valley website. The work is flourishing in Cameroon! 

The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo continues to strive to expand and edify our Lord’s kingdom in this French- speaking country. A new congregation was planted in Yorkele by a recent graduate, and other congregations have been adopted by supporters to help them through their period of infancy. The plan to bring denominational leaders into the school to teach them the word of God is a tremendous success. Thirteen of the sixteen denominational students have now accepted the truth and put on our Lord in baptism. We thank God for the sacrifice and devotion of the Christians in Kpalime. 

The West Coast School of Preaching near Takoradi Ghana is also working diligently to train workers for the kingdom in this part of the world. As they approach their upcoming graduation, they are actively recruiting new students, and we pray they will find twenty faithful men to spend two years full-time studying God’s word. They continue to renovate their building, and are putting into place an agricultural project that will help support the school, and give the students a marketable skill. Please keep this tremendous effort in your prayers. We also need continued prayers for Daniel Ampadu Asiamah as he goes through the process of rehabilitation. 

The Southwest School of Evangelism near Ibadan Nigeria is laboring diligently to build up the church in this volatile nation. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week at the school teaching the students. They are doing a wonderful job of integrating vocational training with Bible training to prepare these men for a difficult life of ministering to their communities. As their name depicts, they are continually teaching and preaching the gospel, and many are coming to Christ. The SWSE is in dire need of continual financial support for the operation of the school. About one-half of their annual budget needs to be raised for the upcoming year. If you can help with this, please let me know. 

The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana is fulfilling their vision of strengthening the church in northern Ghana through the training of preachers, evangelistic campaigns, seminars, and work in the community. Tony Johnson, our resident missionary, is doing a fantastic job teaching and coordinating this Bear Valley School. The use of the facilities is being widened as a recent seminar was held there by a group of church of Christ University students near Tamale. They could sleep and eat on the premises while they studied the word of God together. We continue to use this mission in Tamale as a jumping-off point for the work in Burkina Faso and northern Togo. Please keep this wonderful work in your prayers.

Additional information can be found for all of the schools on the Bear Valley website at this address: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:

Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much,
With Christian Love

Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures from each location, please click here.

Posted on July 6, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: March-April 2014

Greetings once again to all our brothers, sisters and friends around the world. We pray that our Lord is continuing to shower His wondrous blessings upon you as we anxiously await his coming. We thank you and God continually for your partnership in the gospel as we strive together in the bountiful mission field of West Africa. We are eternally grateful for your love, encouragement and support. There have been many exciting happenings since our last report that we want to share with you.

Working Together in Africa!
The work of our Lord has moved me all over West Africa so far in 2014. God blessed me with the opportunity to evangelize, teach, preach, plan, edify, and labor in many ways in this part of the world. My journeys have brought me to five of our six Bear Valley schools of preaching located in Ghana, Togo and Nigeria. During my travels, we planted new congregations, edified churches, taught faithful Christians, and saved souls! With your help, we are shining our Christian lights, and making a difference in West Africa!

The short time I spent in the USA during 2014 has also been very busy. There were meetings and planning sessions with overseeing and sponsoring elderships, mission reports were given to supporting congregations, and the Bear Valley foreign extension staff gathered together for a strategic planning session. During this report, we will examine some of these exciting happenings and also look at some of the areas where your prayers are needed.

Prayers Needed
As I was writing this report, I received information that one of our graduates from the first class at the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana was involved in an accident. As Tony Johnson, the missionary in Tamale, was driving to extreme northern Ghana to check on our brother, he was informed that John Avoka had passed away. We need to keep John’s family, his congregation, and all those who have been affected by this terrible event in our prayers.

Brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah, the director of the West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana continues to need our prayers. I informed you in our last report that brother Asiamah suffered a severe stroke. I visited him a number of times over the previous months, and he has made significant progress. However, he still has a long way to go on his road of recovery. He continues to be bedridden with only limited ability to communicate to those around him. Let us all pray together that our dear brother will continue to improve and recover his strength.

Bear Valley Preaching Schools
There have been many uplifting and exciting reports during 2014 from our brethren in West Africa. I will try to recap a few of these major events in this newsletter. However, you can read about the triumphs and challenges of each of our foreign extension schools in their regular submissions to the Bear Valley Bible Institute website at this address: www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-schools/

A New Bear Valley School...
The work is expanding and growing in Ghana West Africa! The faithfulness and zeal of our brethren amaze me while their sacrifice and labor of love are inspiring. In this small country the size of Oregon, there are thousands of congregations of our Lord’s church, and tens of thousands of Christians. If the church is going to continue to stand fast in the faith, there must be strong and sound leaders. A new Bear Valley Bible School in the Eastern Region of Southern Ghana is off to a wonderful start training some of these men. The ribbon was cut, and the doors were opened in February 2014 for the Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in Doboro/Nsawam. Twelve faithful Christians embarked upon a challenging two-year journey through the Bible. Please keep this school in your prayers as they labor to train men to edify and expand our Lord’s kingdom. The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies is continuing their work in northern Ghana. I had the opportunity to spend one week in the classroom with our third class of fifteen men earlier this year. The congregation near the school is growing in both number and maturity. We are also building additional facilities for our director Joseph Baah to live on campus. Tony Johnson from Greenbrier Arkansas continues to labor effectively with the staff, students and congregations throughout northern Ghana. We thank God for this work! The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana is showing their amazing perseverance to train strong leaders as they work through the trial of the absence of their director. Souls are being saved through the students’ evangelism and preaching while the staff continues to recruit faithful Christians for our next class. Please keep Daniel and the school in your prayers!

We have also received many reports of wonderful works from our schools in Togo, Nigeria, and Cameroon. The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo is laboring for our Lord in southern Togo. Most of the students have now accepted the truth and obeyed the gospel of salvation. Please pray that the remaining five will have their hearts touched and come to Christ soon. They are continuing with their weekly radio program and regular evangelistic campaigns, and many are coming to Christ as a result of these programs. New congregations are being planted, and congregations edified. Their goal is to plant congregations in all the villages surrounding the school of preaching within five years. We thank God for your partnership with this effort. The Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu continues to strive for the Master in the country of Cameroon. You can read all about their efforts on the Bear Valley website. Their weekend evangelistic campaigns are an inspiration to us all. It is amazing to read about their work, and I am looking forward to spending a week teaching the students next month. May our Lord continue to bless this effort! The Southwest School of Evangelism in Butubutu near Ibadan in Nigeria continues doing a sensational job of training preachers. I was blessed with the opportunity to teach their students a couple of weeks ago. Brother Doug Wheeler from Norman Oklahoma visited the school earlier in the year on his annual tour of WBS Seminars and Lectureships. Many heard and obeyed the gospel as a result of their efforts. Both the Ibadan and Lagos campuses are planting congregations and edifying the Lord’s church. Please keep all of these works in your prayers!

Financial Support:
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mail to:
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much,
With Christian Love

Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on May 4, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: January-February 2014...

Greetings to all those throughout the world who are diligently seeking and eagerly anticipating a heavenly home with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The ultimate sacrifice has been made for our sins! The final victory has been won! We each now have the opportunity to spend eternity in a wonderful place prepared only for those who choose to follow Jesus. The choice is ours! God’s plan is simple and easy to understand, but it must be heard before a person can obey. That is why Jesus commanded His disciples to “preach the gospel to every human being” (Mark 16:15). We are working together in fellowship with you to bring the true gospel message to all those in West Africa! The apostle Paul thanked God for the “fellowship in the gospel’ of the Philippians who abounded in liberality even though they were confronted with deep poverty and afflictions (Philippians 1:3-5; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2). We also thank God for your participation in this wonderful work of our Lord!

The passing of time brings about a need for reflection on the past and planning for the future. In this newsletter, we would like to look forward at some of our goals and challenges for 2014 and beyond, and look back at some of our major accomplishments throughout West Africa during 2013. With your help, we trained many to evangelize, teach and preach the gospel message in the past year! We planted and edified congregations, and many souls were saved. A photo gallery with some of our favorite photos from 2013 is included with the email version of this newsletter. Thank you so much for your sacrifice that makes this work possible. May God continue to shower his blessings upon you!

Looking Forward
Looking forward, the year 2014 and beyond brings many potential challenges and opportunities. We plan to continue to train and edify evangelistic leaders through all of our Bible training programs in West Africa to empower them to successfully embark upon our Lord’s work in this part of the world. We have the objective to establish vocational (tent making) types of programs so the graduates can better provide for their families. We are strategizing to implement ways that the various schools can become more self-sufficient in feeding the students through school agriculture projects. We hope to offer more leadership training to our graduates, and other congregational leaders to edify the churches throughout West Africa. One area we are planning for both evangelistic and edification is the establishment of language specific Internet radio stations that may be accessed through the web or streamed through an FM system. Another avenue being considered is a brotherhood publication written by local brethren to address current issues in the church. We are also analyzing the possibility of additional Bible training programs in different areas. One new Bear Valley school was started a week ago in the Eastern region of Ghana near the town of Nsawam. We currently have twelve students, and are anticipating that a few more will enroll before the admission is closed. We anticipate this program will provide needed leaders throughout the area. We are also considering the establishment of a new school in French-speaking Cameroon to complement the school on the English-speaking side of the country. The target date for this program is January 2014. Please keep all of these plans and efforts in your prayers.

Looking Back
Looking back, the year 2013 was an exciting one for the work in West Africa. The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana moved into their new building early in the year, and thirteen men went through a graduation ceremony in July. With your help, we have now graduated twenty eight men from this program in northern Ghana. We held seminars during the year for graduates and church leaders on the subjects of congregational giving, budgeting, and leadership. The first crop was harvested from a school farm on the building site which is being used to feed the students during church planting campaigns. The students continue to be active in local evangelism, and a new congregation has been established and is growing near the school. Fifteen students are now enrolled in the program and scheduled to graduate in 2015. We praise God for giving us the strength to move forward with this wonderful program in Tamale! The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo also had an exciting and eventful year. We graduated another fifteen students from this program in September, which brings the total graduates to twenty-six. Most of these men came from denominational backgrounds, and they all learned and obeyed the gospel during their two years of training. Twenty new students began their studies during 2013, and are scheduled to graduate in 2015. The staff and students continue to be active in evangelism in the local area. There is a great need for French-speaking evangelists, and you are helping to provide those workers with your support! The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana is moving forward with the training of leaders in the Western Region of Ghana. Sixteen men are scheduled to pass through a graduation ceremony in 2014, and we are in the process of recruiting for another class. The graduates of this school are very busy, and numerous alumni evangelistic teams are active in the area planting churches and bringing souls to Christ. The school continues to hold an annual seminar to deal with pertinent topics. A new program has also been implemented to help train the students in agricultural skills, and provide for their feeding. At the end of 2013, the principal of the school Daniel Ampadu Asiamah suffered a stroke and is in need of our prayers. Thank you so much for your fellowship in this work! The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria is continuing their labor of love as they prepare evangelists for the white fields of harvest in this troubled country. The SWSE graduated ten men from the full-time Bear Valley program in 2013, and another two from their Saturday program in Lagos.

They currently have 32 men enrolled in the two-year residential program, and five in the part-time program. The new campus in Butubutu was substantially completed in 2013, and all activities are now taking place at this site. They presently need to drill a well, expand their library and computer room, and finalize the completion of the building. The staff and students were very active in evangelism during 2013 with five new congregations planted, and over 400 baptisms and restorations. Please keep this wonderful work in your prayers! The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu is continuing their quest to bring the gospel to their country. They graduated 17 students in December 2012, and currently have 27 students enrolled in the program. They are continuing their evangelistic efforts through their onsite radio program and personal work, which resulted in seven congregations being established and restored in 2013 and many souls brought to Christ. The building for the school is currently being expanded to provide space for the students to live on the premises. The brethren in Cameroon are doing a wonderful work!

Thanks So Much,

With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven's report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on March 9, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: November-December 2013

Greetings from West Africa to all of our brothers, and sisters, and friends throughout the world. We thank God for your fellowship with us in the gospel as we labor to bring the truth to the lost throughout West Africa. It has been wonderful to meet with many of you while reporting on the many works that we are doing together to fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. We are training many preachers and teachers while others are hearing and obeying the words of life. Without you, this effort would not be possible. May our Lord continue to shower bountiful blessings upon each of you as we all attempt to faithfully follow Him. Thank you so much for your love, encouragement, and support!

The Challenge of Many Languages
In Genesis 11:7-9, we read: "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Konkombas, Dagombas, Gonjas, Fantes, Asantes, Gas, Frafras, Dagares, Bissas, Ewes, .... These may only be words to you, but in Ghana these are only a few of the many distinct ethnic groups which have their own languages, and their own cultural practices. There are over 1600 different ethnic groups scattered throughout West Africa that need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in a language that they can understand. We must convey the gospel message in a way that makes sense to each of them based upon their own cultural background, worldview, and thinking process. It is not enough for them to hear the message; God’s meaning must be understood and obeyed! In the words of Jesus:

“It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45)

Africans are very religious people! In addition to all the different languages, each ethnic group has their own African religious practices and beliefs. Juju, fetish priests, spells and potions, divination, rainmakers, chieftaincy, animal sacrifices, spirits in the trees and rocks and rivers, pouring libation, veneration of ancestors, miracles, crosses and mosques. Their traditional religion is continually changing to meet the needs of the people, and has been significantly impacted and influenced by the importation and acceptance of Islam and Christianity in many areas. Islam, Christianity and African religion intermingle throughout almost every community in Africa, and are a part of the lives of practically all members of society. Since religion already plays a significant role in the mind and everyday lives of the people, it is important that we carefully present the gospel message in a way that fits into their cultural understanding. As we said above, It is not enough for them to hear the message; God’s meaning must be understood and obeyed!

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?” (Romans 10:16)

Training West African Evangelists
An effective West African evangelist needs to have an excellent knowledge of the indigenous culture, the local language, and their traditional religious system. The best method we have found to develop this type of evangelist is to take someone who already knows the local language, who already understands the culture, who has already experienced the traditional religious system, and empower them with a knowledge of the Bible and useful techniques to deliver the gospel message. All of our schools throughout West Africa are accomplishing this task!

There are many advantages to the model of foreign preacher training programs. Economically, it is much more efficient to train evangelists in this part of the world. For the cost of bringing one West African family to a preaching school in America, we can train twenty men in their own home country. Many times those we bring to the USA to study do not want to return home so our goal of bringing the gospel to their own people is never achieved. The training that they receive from mature Christian teachers in their own countries can be much more culturally specific to the work they will engage in when they graduate. There will be discussions in the classroom about many topics, such as chieftaincy, polygamy, juju, fetishes, spirits, sacrifices and other local cultural and religious practices, and how they relate to Christianity. The foreign student would probably not enjoy this depth of study of their own culture if they were trained in the USA. It is important for a foreign evangelist to understand Biblical culture and their own culture, but it is not necessary for them to learn or be influenced by American culture. The best place for this type of training to take place is in their home country.

The practical experience that the students engage in during their time at our West African extension schools has a direct impact on the lives of many. Local congregations are being planted and edified, and precious souls are brought to Christ. The students are able to learn and utilize many effective techniques for evangelism that they may not have experienced in the USA. The fellowship that the students enjoy with their fellow students, teachers, Christians, and their own families while they study God’s word has a lasting impact on the success of their work in the years to come. This method of training evangelists and preachers makes sense. Thank you for your fellowship in the gospel that makes it possible!

Bear Valley Bible Institute Website
Many exciting events continue to take place on an ongoing basis at each of our Bear Valley Extension Schools throughout West Africa. Students are graduating, preaching the gospel, bringing souls to Christ, and planting new congregations. We are working together with you to fulfill the Great Commission in this part of the world! You can read all the up-to-date information about each of these extension schools on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website at the following address: http://www.wetrainpreachers.com/extension-news/

Financial Support
We want to thank all the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at: 
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love

Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on January 5, 2014 .

West Africa Happenings: September-October 2013

Greetings from West Africa to all those throughout the world who are taking the time to read this report. It is our prayer that you are diligently seeking and obeying the truth, so we can all grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we preach the gospel to the peoples of Africa, we also pray that the gospel light is burning brightly in your part of the world. May our Lord bless all of our efforts as we faithfully follow Him. Your fellowship in the gospel is allowing us to achieve many of our goals, and we would like to spend some time now sharing these happenings with you.

Special Needs
Books and Bibles – We can buy Bibles in the native languages of the people for $5 to $10. We continue to need library books for all of our school libraries. These books can cost from $5 to $30.

Roofs for Buildings – Some congregations need a little boost to complete their church buildings. We try to help those who put forth a lot of effort with their roofs. The cost can range from $300 to $1,000 depending upon the size of the building.

Support for Liberian Christian Refugees – Can you help a brother or sister restart their life in Liberia?

Used Laptops – We also have a need for used laptops. If you have an old Windows XP laptop or later, a preaching school graduate could use it in their work.

Radio Work – Some graduates would like to preach the gospel on their local radio stations. The cost can range from $40 a month and up.

Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies - Ghana
“Muslims, malaria, and mud huts!” said a deacon in an Arkansas congregation after one of my mission reports. This was his perception of northern Ghana. He should have also included in his description “white fields of lost souls ready to be harvested,” and “faithful Christians who are willing to sacrifice to make that possible.” The Tamale Institute in northern Ghana is continuing their efforts to train these faithful Christians. The school has now trained a total of twenty-eight men with our second graduation of thirteen men in 2013. We thank God for all of their efforts and sacrifice! We taught these men to preach the gospel, and only God knows the impact that they could have upon the Lord’s Kingdom in this part of the world. As these men left, we opened our doors to new students once again. God blessed us with eighteen men who will spend the next two years studying His word. Please keep TIBS in your prayers!

Southwest School of Evangelism - Nigeria
Bombings, kidnappings, ethnic and religious violence, poverty, corruption, and disease are some of the headlines you may see in the news for Nigeria. Could you imagine living among all these problems? Almost 170,000,000 Nigerians must deal with these challenges every day, and about half of those are under the age of 14. This is truly a nation of impoverished children. The Southwest School of Evangelism, established in 2003, is bringing this troubled nation a message of hope in Christ. A recent practicum for our students resulted in thirty-two baptisms and thirty-five restorations. The school has graduated over 100 preachers since its inception, and on August 24, 2013, we sent eighteen additional men into the mission field of Nigeria. There are now thirty-one students studying at the main campus located in Ibadan. Brother Gary Fallis with Bear Valley wrote a wonderful report of his recent trip to the graduation in Nigeria that you can find on the Bear Valley website. The school is doing a magnificent work, but continues to struggle with funding needs. If you would like to become a direct financial partner with these brethren, please let us know. They can definitely use our help!

West Coast School of Preaching - Ghana
(NEWS FLASH - Fourteen precious souls are baptized into Jesus Christ!) Joshua Aidoo, an instructor at the WCSOP, and eight other gospel preachers traveled to the northern Ghana town of Yeji recently to preach the gospel of our Lord, and God gave the increase. Many wonderful works are taking place at the school of preaching in Takoradi Ghana. The school sent out five men into the Ghanaian field of lost souls after they completed their two-year program during this period. These men will participate in a joint graduation ceremony with the eleven remaining students when they complete their studies at this time next year. We are presently working diligently to recruit twenty new men before then, so we can fully utilize the school facilities. Please keep our efforts in your prayers.

Cameroon Bible Institute – Wotutu
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). The Bear Valley program in Wotutu Cameroon continues to bring the gospel to the lost throughout the community. The school’s reports on the Bear Valley website are filled with personal work, and evangelistic campaigns that are bringing many souls to Christ. In addition to all the work in the field, they continue to teach men in the classroom! Twenty-seven preaching students recently began their third semester of training. We are amazed how many faithful Christians in Cameroon have a desire to dig deeper into God’s word. May our Lord bless their efforts as they continue to labor in His vineyard!

Center for Biblical Studies – Kpalime, Togo
“Bonjour Mes Amis.” How do you bring the truth to the people in a French-speaking country where the church is very weak? The Bear Valley program in Kpalime may have the answer! They bring in pastors, teachers, and leaders from many different faiths, teach them the truth about Christianity, convert them, and then send them out to teach others. Our third class of fifteen students completed the two-year program in August, and we will have photos on their graduation in our next report. We now have twenty new students who have begun their program of study. We thank God for this opportunity to make a difference in West Africa.

Bear Valley Bible Institute Website
You can read all the up-to-date information about each of our extension schools on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website at the following address: /extension-news/

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35)

Financial Support
We want to thank all the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:
Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com

USA Phone: 971-270-8535
Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love

Steven Ashcraft

To read Steven’s report, complete with pictures, please click here.

Posted on November 3, 2013 .

West Africa Happenings: July - August 2013

Greetings from West Africa to all those throughout the world who are walking that path of righteousness that is leading to our heavenly home. We pray that you are continually overcoming all the obstacles that you encounter along your way. Jesus is coming! The prize is in sight! Stand fast in the faith, and our Lord will reward you bountifully. This year has been a busy one with continual travel throughout West Africa and the USA. After a quick trip to the States for a few meetings, I am now in Ghana again. We are planning campaigns over the next few weeks in Ghana, Togo, and Burkina Faso, and we have another graduation scheduled in September for our extension school in Kpalime Togo. We completed graduations during July and August in our schools in Tamale and Nigeria, and we will tell you more about these in our next report. We thank God that many are being trained to teach and preach the gospel. Life is busy, but very fulfilling.

Reporting and Special Needs
The time is approaching when I will be doing annual reporting to the congregations who are helping to support this work. I will be contacting many of you in the next few weeks to attempt to set up a time to meet with you later this year. We must consider a number of special needs. We have a desire to begin a couple of new schools of preaching in West Africa. We are ready to train additional men if we have the opportunity! Some of our existing schools need to renovate or complete their buildings. We also have some brethren who need assistance due to undue hardships. We have other preachers who are requesting help with materials, evangelism, and other special needs. Please be considering how you may help with any of these, and keep all of these brethren and schools in your prayers. I am looking forward to seeing you soon!

West Coast School of Preaching - Ghana
Everything is going well at the Bear Valley extension school in Takoradi Ghana. The final term for the year began on May 13 with five second-year and fifteen first-year students. These twenty men have the ability to have a significant impact upon the church in Ghana. There are many in the school, both students and instructors alike, who are dealing with health issues and need your prayers. Please lift up some special prayers for our director brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah, who has been encountering some health challenges of his own. May our Lord give him the strength to continue this wonderful work! With your help, we gave the school three laptops during the period bringing their total computers to six. They need ten computers to complete their computer room. The school also needs funds for structural repairs on their dormitory building. We would ask that you keep our Liberian brother Jerome Tohr in your prayers as he attempts to raise the funds needed for him to return to his home in Liberia. We thank God for all the wonderful works taking place in Takoradi.

Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies, Ghana
The preaching school in Tamale took a scheduled break in May and June as our second graduating class ended, and a new class begins. Before closing in May, they completed a well-attended special leadership training seminar in their new building. Thirteen students graduated in July, and there will be pictures of this ceremony in our next report. Our recruitment efforts continued during May and June, and we now have over sixteen new students who began their training in July. Both students and instructors participated in evangelistic efforts during this period as we continue to labor to bring souls to Christ. The school has been preparing a school farm to help with their feeding during these campaigns. Please keep this wonderful work in your prayers!

Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu
We are presently training twenty-seven men at the Bear Valley extension school in Cameroon. The students and instructors are bringing many souls to Christ through their evangelistic efforts, and have experienced great success with their open-air radio program, and personal work. The school welcomed Bill Stewart from Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver during June to teach on Marriage and the Home, while David Ballard the Bear Valley coordinator came a week later to teach on the New Testament Church. We thank both men for their great sacrifice for the kingdom. Praise the Lord!

Center for Biblical Studies - Togo
We have fifteen students scheduled to graduate in September from the preaching school in Kpalime Togo. They are continuing to embark on campaigns and spread the gospel in this French-speaking country. They baptized a Jehovah Witness during the period and the principal at the school has now started a class for fifteen of his denominational friends. We pray that they will all come to a knowledge of the truth, and be added to our Lord’s kingdom. There has been much evangelistic success in other areas through their radio and personal work. As they spread the good news, the kingdom is expanding throughout the country of Togo. Let us pray that many more souls will be saved through the efforts of these men!

Southwest School of Evangelism - Nigeria
The Southwest School of Evangelism continued their labors to train preachers throughout the present period. They engaged in numerous evangelistic campaigns over the last few months especially utilizing World Bible School and personal work. The thirty-seven students from both campuses along with six of the instructors gathered for a joint session in Ibadan Nigeria at the end of May. The two-week meeting began with a study on leadership followed by a visit from Bill Stewart of Bear Valley Bible Institute to teach on Marriage and the Family. The highlight of this conference was the dedication of their new building to brother Doug Wheeler for his outstanding contribution to the work throughout Nigeria. Although they still have some final additions, the SWSE has realized their dream of occupying their own space as they are now utilizing both structures on their property. May our Lord continue to bless the efforts of these faith Christians!

Bear Valley Bible Institute Website
You can read all the up to date information about each of our extension schools on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website at the following address:

/extension-news/

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek,” Romans 1:16.

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:

Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To read Steven’s report with pictures of evangelistic activities, please click here.

Posted on September 1, 2013 .

West Africa Happenings: May - June 2013

Greetings from West Africa once again to all those throughout the world who love and serve our Lord. We thank God for this opportunity to tell you more about some of the wonderful works that are taking place here in Africa. With your help, we are preaching the gospel, planting congregations, training leaders, and expanding our Lord’s kingdom. We pray that all those who read this newsletter are continually preparing themselves for the coming of our Lord so we can spend eternity in that glorious place called heaven together.

To Give or Not to Give ...
“To be or not to be, that is the question,” is the opening line of a soliloquy in the Shakespearean play Hamlet. We have a different question in West Africa, and it relates to sacrificial giving. “To give or not to give, that is the question” facing many members of the church in this part of the world today! Why do so many fail to give sacrificially to support the Lord’s work? Why is it difficult for congregations here to support their preachers, or build their church buildings? What can we do to change this troubling trend?

This problem has ramifications for the church throughout the world, and we are attempting to find a solution here in West Africa. Some of the staff of the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies travelled throughout northern Ghana recently to discuss this issue with various church leaders. Our travels took us over rough and dusty roads to meetings in Salaga, Kpandai, Chamba, Saboba, Yendi, Wa, Nadoli, Kpassa, and Laura with other areas to follow.

As we moved from place to place, we asked and answered questions related to the problem of giving. We then invited the leaders of the congregations to a four-day brainstorming seminar in Tamale, which we scheduled for the end of April. Over 80 participants attended the program, which was a wonderful way to use our new building. Everyone slept on the premises, we provided food, and numerous speakers introduced various topics. “Are we too poor to give to God?” We heard this question asked. “No, we are not poor!” was the response. Why should the preacher’s family go hungry, while the members have plenty to eat? Why should the preacher’s children lack funds for school fees, when the members’ children are going to school? Why should congregations in West Africa need to rely upon Christians in other countries to support their preachers and build their church buildings? How can we expect our young people to make the decision to become preachers, missionaries, and evangelists when they see those presently working for our Lord suffering because of a lack of congregational support?

The seminar was an enlightening experience for all those involved as we became more aware of our shortcomings in this area. We did not discover all of the answers. However, many church leaders offered suggestions, we recruited numerous students for the school of preaching, and the members made promises that they would try to do a better job in the future of helping their preachers. We pray that this seminar is the beginning of something that will bear much fruit in the future. It is possible that Ghana can be an example for the church throughout the world.

West Coast School of Preaching - Ghana
As the preaching school in Takoradi continues their efforts to train church leaders, we have some very sad news about one of our graduates. Jerome Tohr, a Liberian refugee, graduated from the WCSOP last year. Over the past few months, his wife became sick, and there was difficulty diagnosing her condition. During the month of April, she passed away at the age of 31 leaving Jerome with their three children. Jerome left Liberia over twenty years ago because of the civil war, and now has a desire to return to his home country. He needs funds for transportation, and assistance with living expenses for a period after his arrival. Please keep Jerome and his family in your prayers, and if you can help financially in any way, let us know.

Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies, Ghana
Many wonderful events are taking place at TIBS in Ghana. We are now utilizing our new building, and have completely moved out of the rented premises. During April, we held the seminar discussed above that housed over 80 participants, and we are preparing for our second graduation in July, as we actively recruit new students

Center for Biblical Studies - Togo
The school in Kpalime Togo was very busy during this period. We thank brother Barry Baggot from Nashville TN for taking the time to teach our students the book of Romans. The brethren at CBS resumed the radio program in Kpalime during the period, and held a three- day seminar on the “Divine Principles of Stewardship.” CBS graduates and students also engaged in numerous Bible studies, and our Lord added new souls to His kingdom.

Southwest School of Evangelism - Nigeria
The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan is continuing to train men to work in the white fields of Nigeria. They are working on their facilities, and attempting to raise funds for that effort. They have recently added a computer room, and are requesting books for their library. Please keep these faithful brethren in your prayers!

Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu
Many wonderful things are happening at the school in Wotutu. A number of souls have obeyed the gospel of Christ because of their open-air “Back to the Bible” radio program. The brethren are preaching the gospel both publicly and through personal studies. You can read all about the work in Cameroon and all of the other extension school efforts on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website at the following address: /extension-news/

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to: 

Mountain Home church of Christ 
380 North College Street 
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com

USA Phone: 971-270-8535
Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, 

With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on June 30, 2013 .

West Africa Happenings: March - April 2013

Greetings from Africa to all those who have a love for the truth and a longing to spend eternity with our merciful God. It is our prayer that our Lord is blessing you during the current year. It is also our prayer that you are holding fast to the truth found in the word of God. As the world seems to be drifting farther and farther away from God, we pray that you are walking in the light, and seeking His guidance in all that you do.

All Over West Africa in 2013
Another blink of our eyes, and we are now moving through the year 2013 at lightning speed. There are so many throughout the world who need to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ, and especially what they MUST DO to be washed by HIS BLOOD! The beginning of 2013 was spent visiting six of the schools of preaching throughout West Africa where we are training leaders. My travels took me through Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon and Nigeria as we discussed and planned how to best utilize the resources we have available through your support to bring as many to Christ as possible during the current year. There is much happening at all of the schools, and regular up to date reports are continually being posted to the Bear Valley Bible Institute extension school website. You can read about the evangelistic campaigns, the congregations that are being planted, and the souls that are being saved. You can read about the challenges of the work, and how God is helping our brethren throughout the world to overcome these trials. You can read about how we are implementing programs to train preachers, elders, deacons, and other church leaders throughout West Africa. In this newsletter, I will give a brief recap of some of the happenings.

Liberia Bible College – My journey began in Monrovia where we met with the staff and students at the Liberia Bible College as they continue to train leaders to labor in our Lord’s kingdom. Brother Richard Renfro with Mission Printing in Texas was traveling with me to Liberia and Ghana to discuss sending ship containers of Bible tracts to help build up the church in West Africa. All of your brothers and sisters send their greetings. The brethren said they are in dire need of books to build up their library and are requesting special assistance in this area. May our Lord continue to bless this school!

Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies – From Liberia, we moved to Tamale Ghana. The brethren are excited about the recent move to their new premises which are now nearing completion. Plans were being made for the different ways the facilities can be used to build up the church in northern Ghana. In addition to preacher training, they are discussing indigenous leadership training, programs for women and youth, and special lectureships and seminars to deal with specific topics and problems. Funds will need to be raised to assist our brethren with some of these programs. We thank God for the sacrifice of all those involved with this work!

West Coast School of Preaching – Our journey then moved us to southern Ghana where our brethren are training men to preach in the area around Takoradi. There was much elation over the recent renovations to their administration building which included a new roof, an expanded library, and an enlarged classroom. With the increase in their student body the facilities are being fully utilized at the present time. There is presently a need for additional computer equipment to assist in the training. Please keep this work in your prayers!

Center for Biblical Studies - From Ghana, I moved across the border to Togo where I had the opportunity to meet with our brethren in the city of Kpalime. I participated with the brethren in an evangelistic campaign, and also spent time with the staff planning the activities for the upcoming year. The school has been very instrumental in building up the church in this area of Togo. Congregations have been planted and many denominational leaders have come to understand the Bible more perfectly. With your support, fifteen students will graduate this fall, and we are actively recruiting for their next class. May our Lord continue His wonderful work in this area of Togo!

Cameroon Bible Institute of Wotutu – My journey continued into the country of Cameroon where I had the opportunity to visit the wonderful work taking place there. Each morning began at five a.m. with a morning devotional and public preaching through their open air radio program. I spent time interacting with the students, instructors, and staff as we discussed the way forward for the rest of the year. There are numerous needs at the present time to facilitate the training of preachers in this West African country. We pray that God will provide all of these needs!

Southwest School of Evangelism - My journey finally took me to the country of Nigeria where I had the opportunity to visit our school in Ibadan. We are currently training 32 men at this evangelistic Institute. With your help, we were able to assist with the purchase of some computers and other equipment that will facilitate their training program. The brethren are excited to move into their new facilities even though they are still in the construction process. Funds need to be raised to finish their auditorium and classroom facilities so they can fully utilize the new premises. We know that God will provide for their needs!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Need for Coordinators
Are you a preacher who would like to become involved on a part-time basis in training church leaders throughout the world? We have a need for short course teachers at our schools in West Africa! Can you make a short term trip for one or two weeks per year to teach? We are also in need of those to work part-time to help coordinate some of our schools in West Africa. Can you spend a few hours a week in communication (i.e. emails, Skype, telephone) in addition to an annual one or two week trip? If so, you could help us coordinate one of our preaching schools. Working together we can do even more than we could ever imagine. Please let me know if you can help in this way!

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:

Mountain Home church of Christ 380 North College Street Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:
Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com

USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with all the pictures attached, please click here.

Posted on May 5, 2013 .

West Africa Happenings: November - December 2012

Greetings to all those throughout the world who have a desire to spend eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray that our Lord is continuing to bless you as we attempt to faithfully follow our Master. The Good News is that through the shedding of His blood, we have the opportunity to stand “Holy and Blameless” before God forever and ever. The choice is ours! With your help, we are attempting to bring this message to many throughout West Africa! In this newsletter, we would like to recapture some of the major events of 2012. A photo gallery that includes many of our favorite photos for the year is included at the end of the email version of this report.

Another Year Has Passed By
We blinked and another year passed in front of our eyes. However, God has truly blessed the work during 2012. Many preachers were trained, many souls were brought to Christ, and our Lord’s body was edified throughout West Africa. We continue with evangelistic efforts in numerous areas as I also fulfill my role as Regional Director of Extensions in West Africa for Bear Valley Bible Institute. This position requires a lot of travel as I have just returned to the USA after visiting six schools of preaching in five different countries over the past six weeks. You can read all about this trip through the individual reports of the schools that are placed on the Bear Valley Bible Institute website. I would like to spend a few minutes now recapping some of the major events that have taken place throughout 2012 at each of the schools in West Africa where we are working. Please keep all of these works in your prayers!

TIBS – Tamale, Ghana
The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies had an exciting year during 2012. Brother Tony Johnson graduated from Bear Valley Bible Institute and moved to Ghana to become part of the team who is operating this school. His leadership, Biblical knowledge, and administrative skills have been a wonderful blessing, and we are certain that many will spend eternity in heaven due to his efforts. We are already seeing results through the students and staff in Tamale who were responsible for planting two new congregations during 2012 and over fifty baptisms. Our Lord is certainly blessing this work! At the end of 2012 there were 12 students who were studying God’s word at the school as we prepare for a new class in 2013. The work on the new building was continuing at the end of the year and the move has now been scheduled for February of 2013. It has been a long project that is nearing completion! Please keep all the Christians in this part of the world in your prayers.

WCSOP – Takoradi, Ghana
The West Coast School of Preaching has also had a thrilling year during 2012. Dozens have come to Christ as the students, graduates, and teachers continue to proclaim the gospel to all those who will listen. The school reached a major milestone during 2012 with six students who graduated with Bear Valley Master’s degrees in November of 2012. This was a first for the school! Bear Valley has been taking an active role in edifying the instructors so they can build up their students even more. These six graduates were accompanied by two who graduated with Bear Valley Bachelor’s Degrees and six who received Bear Valley Certificates. There are currently twenty students at the school who are studying God’s word as we move into 2013. Through your support, we were also able to put a much needed new roof on the administration building at the end of the year. We thank God for all those who are sacrificing to make this work possible.

CBS – Kpalime, Togo
The Center for Biblical Studies in Togo is continuing to labor in this French speaking country. At the end of 2012, there were 15 students in this unique full time program. We say unique because this school has been built upon an evangelistic design. Not only are the graduates preaching the gospel, baptizing souls into Christ, and planting churches, but the school itself is designed to bring leaders to Christ. Many of our students were pastors in the denominational world who came to learn the truth at the school and became members of our Lord’s body. These faithful Christians are now studying God’s word so they can preach the truth throughout western Togo. We thank God for giving us this wonderful opportunity!

CBIW – Wotutu, Cameroon
The work in Cameroon is flourishing! The numbers speak for themselves with over 170 baptisms and 120 restorations during 2012 through the evangelistic efforts of the school. Four new congregations were planted, and many heard the word of God preached through their daily radio program. They are not only studying and learning the Bible. They are applying what they learn! Seventeen students graduated from this full time program in December of 2012 as twenty nine new students were preparing to begin in early 2013. The impact that this school is having upon the church in Cameroon is amazing! We thank all those who are sacrificing throughout the world to make this work possible. May God have the glory!

SWSE – Ibadan, Nigeria
If you want to see an example of self-sacrifice for our Lord then you need look no farther than the Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria. This school became the dream of the local brethren in 2003, and they have been laboring diligently since that time to create a quality school. During 2012, Bear Valley Bible Institute joined hands with our Nigerian brethren to help build up their program. This is another school that spends a lot of their time applying what they learn outside of the classroom. Over 110 souls were immersed into Christ during the year 2012 as a result of their efforts. At the end of 2012, there were 32 students who were enrolled in the full time program in Ibadan, and another ten students were studying at a part time extension school in Lagos. All of these faithful Christians have the ability to make a significant difference in this troubled part of the world. We thank you for your fellowship in the gospel in Nigeria!

LBC – Monrovia, Liberia
The Liberia Bible College in Monrovia received a wonderful boost during 2012 when it became involved with the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. This full time program which had trained many of the preachers who are working in Liberia today was resurrected from the dead! Fifteen students started classes in September of the year after significant renovations were made to the building. This was all made possible through the benevolence of a brother from Texas who perceived the potential impact the school could have on the church in Liberia and acted upon those convictions. We are already seeing results as the students are continually involved in personal and public evangelism during their studies. There are plans to start a new class in September of 2013 with the hope of bringing the total enrollment up to 35 students. Please keep this wonderful work in your prayers!

Financial Support
We want to thank all of the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:

Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on March 3, 2013 .

West Africa Happenings: September - October 2012

Greetings from West Africa! We pray that this newsletter once again finds you in good health and sprits. We pray that God grants you the courage and the boldness to speak up for our Lord as we encounter a world that seems to be turning away from the truth. We face many challenges in West Africa as we empower men and women to speak up but with your help the work is flourishing throughout this part of the world. We thank you for your fellowship in the gospel! In this newsletter, we will bring you up to date on some of the happenings during this period.

Working with the Graduates
We love Good News and it keeps coming! Precious souls are baptized into Christ and new congregations are established as a result of evangelistic campaigns at our Bible colleges. As our schools impart Biblical knowledge to the students, they put this knowledge into action! Personal evangelism and public preaching are the norm rather than the exception at our schools. We want our graduates to continue to evangelize and reach their full potential after they complete the program. We are developing methods to track our graduates’ progress and evaluate their needs as they enter into the field. Many are working with minimal support and resources. With your help, we are offering assistance by providing them with preaching equipment, tracts, transportation, Bible study material and Bibles. At times we can travel to their villages or cities to help them achieve their evangelistic goals. During the present reporting period, we had the opportunity to personally work with graduates of our schools on evangelistic campaigns in both Togo and Ghana.

A New Congregation in Cinkasse Togo
We thank God that a new congregation is now worshiping in the city of Cinkasse in northern Togo! Surrounded by mosques and Muslims this small group of Christians are attempting to worship our Lord in Spirit and in Truth. The gospel light is shining bright, and we pray that many others will come to know and obey the truth. In some parts of the world, it is not easy to become a Christian. There is significant pressure from family, friends, and other members of the community to follow Islam or their traditional religion.. Those who do decide to obey our Lord will often suffer economic, social, and even physical persecution.

With your assistance over the years, we have planted numerous congregations of the Lord’s church in northern Togo. In our last report we highlighted the birth of a congregation in Basaar Togo, and we have now moved further north to the Burkina Faso border. The campaign in Cinkasse was a joint effort between the Togolese and Ghanaian brethren with both graduates and current students of the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies joining forces with their Togolese counterparts. We worked in this predominantly Islamic trading city by sharing the word of God from house to house and preaching the Gospel publicly at night as we showed films about Abraham and Jesus. We had large crowds each evening as many heard the truth about Jesus, and were given the opportunity to learn more. We have teachers from both Ghana and Togo who are traveling to Cinkasse regularly to edify this new group of Christians. The latest reports indicate that this congregation is continuing to grow in numbers and maturity. Please keep the work in Cinkasse in your prayers!

Five Baptized in Apam Campaign
Karen and I visited, encouraged, and edified many congregations and Christians as we traveled through Ghana and Togo over this period. We were blessed with the opportunity to work with graduates from the West Coast School of Preaching while we were in southern Ghana. Five precious souls were baptized into Christ during a short campaign in the city of Apam in the month of September. During the day, we moved from house to house to study the word of God with all who would listen. It is easy to begin a Bible Study in Ghana. Many times after you sit down to study with one person, others will join you before the study is complete. In the evenings, we showed films to draw a crowd and then preached the word of God to those who had gathered. Numerous studies were set up during this campaign, and the Lord’s Kingdom was expanded. The graduates from our schools of preaching are having a significant impact on the church throughout West Africa!

Tidbits from the Schools
The Cameroon Bible Institute evangelistic campaigns during the period resulted in 15 souls being baptized into Christ and 53 restorations in one week, and another 17 baptisms during another week. A new congregation was established in Ntesah village with plans to plant another new congregation soon in a nearby village. The fifteen students at the Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo are continuing to evangelize. They have recently planted a new congregation and have 32 prospects with whom they are studying. They are looking forward to their upcoming graduation in 2013. The Liberia Bible College in Monrovia Liberia began classes in September with 15 full time students. These students have been actively involved in evangelism through personal Bible studies, and radio preaching. As a result of these efforts, 7 Christians were restored and 3 new souls were baptized into Christ during the month of October. In October, the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies planted a new congregation in the city of Bimbila in northern Ghana. Twelve precious souls were baptized into Christ with others continuing to study God’s word. The first worship service of the Bimbila church of Christ had 35 in attendance. The Southwest School of Evangelism in Nigeria has been busy during the period with a number of evangelistic campaigns and a youth lectureship that was attended by over 400. The gospel is being preached and our Lord’s Kingdom expanded. The West Coast school of Preaching student body has increased significantly. Seventeen full time students have been attending classes, and they are expecting three more full time students at this evangelistic school.

Bear Valley Website
I would like to remind you that more frequent reports for the schools of preaching where we are working are now being posted to the Bear Valley website. You can see these reports at this web address:

/why-extension-schools/

If you go to this web address, you will find links on the right side of the page for all of the schools in West Africa. You will also find specific links for each school on the left side of the page along with a link for my previous reports.

Financial Support
We want to thank all the supporters for their contributions to this exciting work in West Africa. Without you, this effort would not be possible.

Contributions by check need to be made payable to: Mountain Home church of Christ

For: West Africa Mission

Mailed to:

Mountain Home church of Christ
380 North College Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 870-425-4330.

Or you can contact Steven at:

Email: samtnhome@yahoo.com
USA Phone: 971-270-8535

Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.

Thanks So Much, 

With Christian Love
Steven Ashcraft

Posted on December 30, 2012 .