West Africa Mission Happenings - January - February 2012

Greetings once again from West Africa to all of our brethren who are taking the opportunity to read this newsletter. The beginning of the year 2012 has been very busy as our brethren in West Africa and I continue to labor in the fruitful fields of this part of the world. We are continuing to train preachers and leaders, and to edify those who have graduated and are working in their various ministries. We continually thank God for your prayers and support as we labor together to fulfill the Great Commission. In this newsletter, we will attempt to update you on some of the happenings over the past couple of months.

A Long Trip through Africa
The weather was very hot during the day and cool at night. The air was filled with dirt, dust, smoke, and other particles as the wind blew constantly. We were surrounded by natives who had bandanas and other pieces of cloth covering their mouths and noses as they motored, bicycled and walked throughout northern Ghana and Togo. This is where I found myself as we labored in West Africa during 2012. The journey began in Accra, the capital of Ghana, not long after the beginning of the year. It continued by traveling along the coast to the West Coast School of Preaching in the city of Takoradi. From there, the trip moved north to the Islamic city of Tamale and then even farther north to the cities of Kara and Dapaong in the country of Togo. My steps then returned me to Tamale and then to southern Ghana, and onward to the Center for Biblical Studies in the city of Kpalime in the neighboring country of Togo. Time was spent meeting with congregations, students, school staff and instructors, and our brethren all along the journey. Plans were made, the church was edified, the gospel was preached, and new Christians were added to our Lord’s church. In this newsletter, we would like to share some of these happenings in West Africa in early 2012. Without you it would not be possible! Your love for our Lord and the Great Commission, your prayers, and your support empowers the indigenous Christians with what they need to effectively build up the church in this part of the world. We are all working together, joined together by the blood of Christ, to glorify our Lord and help prepare HIS kingdom for HIS return.

French Speaking West Africa
Since I began the work in West Africa many years ago, the French speaking countries that surround Ghana have drawn me. There are vast areas of West Africa where the true gospel has not been preached. Some of these areas are almost completely Islamic, but others have been greatly influenced by false teachings related to Christianity. With your help, the church of the New Testament has been planted and is continuing to grow in some of these areas, including northern Togo. I visited the city of Kara Togo in early 2012, and met with four preachers from the northern part of this country. We discussed the work, and formulated ideas for the future, including plans to plant new congregations in the upcoming months. We journeyed to the extreme north of the country where we had recently planted a congregation in Dapaong, and stopped in the city of Mango along the way to survey the possibility of a new church plant there. When we returned to Kara, the Lord added another member to HIS body when the truth was preached and a man was baptized into Christ. The Togolese brethren have a zeal for God and a hunger for God’s word. The church is weak and new, but the brethren are strong and motivated to see our Lord’s kingdom expand in this part of the world. Thank you for helping to empower these brethren! May our Lord bless each of you as we continue our labors together!

The Schools of Preaching
The schools of preaching throughout West Africa are continuing to build up leaders, edify churches, and assist the local congregations in evangelistic efforts as we move forward during 2012. In the last couple of months, we held planning sessions at each of the schools in Ghana and Togo, and I was given the opportunity to teach at both the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies and the West Coast School of Preaching. We would like to discuss some of the happenings at each of these schools.

Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies
The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in northern Ghana resumed classes with fifteen students in the month of January. I taught the book of James and Biblical Geography during the quarter, and was greatly encouraged by the diligence of our students as they delve deeper into God’s word. We are continuing with the building project, and it is our prayer that we will be ready to move from the rented building by the end of the year. We are taking every opportunity to work in the surrounding villages and to utilize the existing students and previous graduates in the evangelization of northern Ghana.

West Coast School of Preaching
The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi in southern Ghana continued classes with six first and second year students for a total of twelve students in 2012. We have students from Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria taking advantage of the two year training program. During the month of February, we gathered together all of the Bachelor’s students for the final class to complete the requirements for their degree. We are taking the opportunity to help all the students increase their written communication skills so they can more effectively battle for the faith throughout West Africa. We plan to increase the student body to over twenty by the fall of 2012 by actively recruiting new students.

Center for Biblical Studies
The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo began classes with twenty students at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, five of these students could not continue the program for various reasons. Classes are being held in the new rental building which has proven to be very suitable for their program. We took the opportunity to meet with the staff, instructors and alumni of the school to formulate plans to help direct the school as it moves forward. This school is doing an excellent job of training men to preach and teach in the country of Togo.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

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 view the entire report with pictures of Steven's activites, click here.

Posted on April 22, 2012 .