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 .