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 .