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 .