THE KINGDOM OF GOD GROWS
V . P . Black once said, “What God controls grows.” How true this is! Think of this as an individual Christian, a part of God’s Kingdom. Ask yourself: “Am I growing?”
The kingdom of God in Tanzania and throughout East Africa is growing. Why? Because God is in control. We started with a vision, a vision to do God’s will, God’s way, in Tanzania. We had a dream of planting 50 congregations. Because God is in control, He has planted 150 new congregations in East Africa through the ministry of Tanzania 2000. Let me illustrate:
In July, 1998, when we began this mission effort, only two small congregations existed in northern Tanzania, Arusha and Usa River. They had a combined attendance of between 25-30 in worship.
As of October, 2011, the work of God has resulted in the following:
♦5 Bible Schools in Tanzania: Arusha, Moshi, Monduli, Ushirombo and Mto wa Mbu.
♦90 gospel preachers have graduated from the Andrew Connally School of Preaching, an extension of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.
♦ 150 congregations meet throughout East Africa: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
♦25-30 Christians are trained in The Uganda School of Evangelism, which began in 2007.
♦ A Bear Valley Extension in western Kenya is to begin in 2012.
Between 10-15 congregations are being established each year by our graduates and existing congregations.
All of this and much more has been made possible by the grace of God and with the help of our faithful friends and supporter. The following activities have contributed to the growth of the church in East Africa.
♦Safari for Souls Campaigns. Each year between 50-100 Christians from America join us in Tanzania to teach thousands.
♦Tanzania Leadership Conference. Over 100 evangelists from Tanzania join in lessons on Leadership and Christian growth.
♦Future Preacher’s Training Camp. Young men between the ages of 13-25 receive training in public worship, song leading and sermon preparation.
♦Tanzania Christian Camp. The youth of Tanzania come together each year for fellowship and Christian ministry.
♦Ladies’ Seminar. Missionary wives, Christian ladies from Tanzania and America teach how to be better wives and mothers, teachers and servants of God.
♦ East Africa Gospel Meeting. Christians from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have their own annual “Safari for Souls” which rotates among the three countries.
The doors of opportunity continue to open in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Will you join us? God is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).
Cy Stafford - THE BENEFITS OF PARTNERSHIP
Tanzania 2000 began in 1998 to evangelize northern Tanzania. The ministry has forged partnerships with Christians in Africa and America. One of those partnership is between Tanzania 2000 and the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, CO (BVBID). I began serving as the Coordinator of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching in 2002 and served in that capacity until 2007. I now serve as the Coordinator of Master’s Studies. I have witnessed the resilience of this relationship.
Actually, my relationship with TZ 2000 started before I began working with BVBID. Cy Stafford, Coordinator of East Africa Evangelism, was one of my students at the Brown Trail School of Preaching, graduating in 1998. Duane Patton and John Baker, who previously taught at ACSOP, were also my students. Other Brown Trail students have participated in campaigns and special lessons.
In 2007 Francis Wechesa began the Uganda School of Evangelism. A native of Uganda, Francis began a Bible School in Arusha, TZ even before the Andrew Connally School of Preaching began. He yearned to begin a similar school in Uganda. In January, 2007 the Uganda School of Evangelism opened its doors to twelve students in a cramped room in a church building. Francis dream came true! But there was much more to be done. Now, this BVBID Extension has a functional building similar to ACSOP thanks to the partnership of Ugandan and American Christians. The school now teaches evangelists in English and Swahili from the countries of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. I was the first Bear Valley teacher there in 2007 and pleased to find that most of the teachers were graduates of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.
In Sept. 2012 native brethren will also begin a Bear Valley Extension in western Kenya. Charles Oguta, ACSOP graduate, will serve as the Director. Other ACSOP graduates will be teachers. I have taught all these men both on the undergraduate and graduate levels. One of the elders of the Kenyan congregation, which will oversee the school, is the father of Jacob Omollo, an ACSOP graduate and future teacher.
The apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Corinth where teamwork was sometime fragile, gives two excellent illustrations of those who work together with God. The first illustration is farming. He says, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gives the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). The second illustration is building. He describes Christ as the foundation, and how one lays the foundation and another builds on it (1 Cor. 3:10-11).
Christians from East Africa and from America are working together with God to bring souls to Christ. When we plant the word of Christ and nurture that seed, God gives the growth. And when we build on that foundation, not caring who gets the credit and recognizing we are all servants, the Kingdom will grow and prosper. This is the benefit of a partnership.
A NEW BIBLE SCHOOL BEGINS IN KISONGA
The Kisonga Bible School is planned, organized and operated by Tanzanians for anyone who wants to seriously study the Word of God. The classes meet in the ACSOP facilities from 4:30-6:30 after the preaching students have finished for the day. The school is patterned after the Arusha and Moshi Bible Schools that were established in 2000 to promote Christian growth and leadership.
The Tanzanians are “stepping up to the plate” in leadership and vision. The man responsible for most of the effort is ACSOP graduate Ahimidiwe Kimaro, who serves as the preacher at Kisongo as well as Dean of Students and Office Manager/Printer for ACSOP.
Who is responsible for Ahimidiwe’s training and education? The Kensington Woods Church of Christ (Hattiesburg, MS) which made a 20 year commitment to train Africans to teach Africans. Who brought his vision and dream to the attention of the Kensington Wood elders? Cy Stafford. And upon whose work did Cy Stafford build? Andrew Connally, who began evangelizing East Africa long ago in the 1960's. And who is responsible for keeping this work alive and prospering? YOU ARE.
Many, many people have been involved in the TZ 2000 mission work including financial supporters (whether individuals or congregations), visiting American teachers and preachers, African evangelists and Tanzanian ACSOP staff (housekeepers, cooks, office workers, guards, etc) “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (I Cor. 3:6)
OBSERVATIONS OF A GRADUATE FROM ACSOP
From a student’s point of view, Acts 17:26-27 could as well be the spirit behind the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. As a lost soul, I realized there is no salvation in human inventions, and I sought the true God tirelessly. I came face to face with what I had been looking for and became a member of the church of Christ. I saw a need to take that knowledge to others but realized that I did not know enough. However, brethren from far away, compelled by the love of lost souls like me, gave sacrificially to plant a preaching school in Tanzania, East Africa.
My thirst for knowledge drew me to the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. Missionaries, who also served as the faculty, worked tirelessly around the clock. At the end of a six-week quarter, they were relieved by a visiting instructor who would teach an intensive course for a week or two. We students would then have a break, completing our homework and field assignments. We became attuned to the routine, and the cycle resumed and continued for two years. We studied diligently and received knowledge and experience that would otherwise have stretched over four years.
During training, the only thing that I missed was time to sit down, undisturbed, and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation again and again. Now I have the tools of study available to me, and I can read the word of God with a totally different light and enjoy it. But I will never forget that without the efforts of Christians from far away, I would still be groping for the truth and probably not finding it in a lifetime.
As a post graduate, I will be further trained through seminars and workshops conducted by the missionaries, so that I may teach others in congregations to be evangelists. Thus, the work becomes a chain reaction. More souls are saved and God is glorified.
Much gratitude is directed to the noble souls who are behind all this. We are sincerely aware that within the two year period at ACSOP we have gained the knowledge of truth concerning the word of God which we could never have gained in a lifetime of personal study.
It is obvious that the Andrew Connally School of Preaching, together with her sister, the Arusha Bible School, are going to attract much attention and fame from East Africa and beyond with only the slightest advertisement. We who are graduates from ACSOP, however, will continue to be the mouthpiece of the school’s reputation through our doing and teaching what we have prepared our hearts for, all to the glory of God and to the betterment of mankind. All was freely offered to us, and we need to offer it freely to others.
The School of Preaching is undoubtedly crucial in this part of the world, as false teachers from all over the globe have diabolically united to lead millions of ignorant and otherwise sincere souls to the gates of hell under the camouflage of Christianity. The work ahead of us is neckbreaking, but we must stand steadfast for the truth, knowing that we are not alone. God is with us.
A TRIBUTE TO STEVEN KIVUYO
I have reprinted this article from Steven Kivuyo, a 2004 graduate, because it sums up the purpose and value of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. Steven was one of the most outstanding students to ever graduate from ACSOP. He was scheduled to enter the first graduate program class and would likely have become director of the Arusha Bible School. He had that kind of character, maturity and ability. I heard him preach during the Leadership Conference 2004., and he easily had one of the best sermons in content and delivery that I have ever heard. However, Steven died of malaria shortly after his graduation. He has gone to his reward, but even after this man years, “his works do follow him.” Steven Kivuyo, March 2004 Graduate, ACSOP
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