West Africa Happenings: October - December

Greetings to all of our brothers, sisters, and friends throughout the world. This report brings us closer to that day when our Lord will return and bring an end to the challenges and problems we face here on earth. The turmoil that is taking place in the world today is amazing. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape war and poverty in search of a better life. The world is becoming a more dangerous place with terrorist activities not only taking place in the Middle East and Africa, but also Paris and California. The U.S. government has issued a world-wide travel alert warning about possible terrorist attacks that could take place. How should all these events impact our desire to obey the Great Commission? Brethren, we must continue to take the gospel message of our Lord to all those who want to hear throughout the world, regardless of the dangers. An understanding of God’s word makes it clear that it would be much more terrorizing to stand before God on the Day of Judgment in an unsaved state then it would be to stand before a terrorist today in a saved state. As Jesus said: 

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) 

We must continue to labor in our Lord’s vineyard to bring the saving message to all those in the world with ears to hear. We cannot allow fear to keep us from doing God’s will. If you have not OBEYED the gospel yet, I plead with you in the name of Jesus to do it today. Do not risk an eternity of terror! 

Healing Hands International
One of the major challenges that we face at all of our preaching schools is how the graduates will support themselves and their families after they begin their work. Many times their congregations are small in number and weak in finances so they are not able to provide significant support to their preachers. We have implemented numerous programs over the year to address this problem. This includes workshops and seminars on giving and support of evangelists and preachers. We have a vocational training program at our school in Nigeria and have plans to implement one at our school in Togo. We have developed our schedule at the school in Tamale so our students can continue to tend their farms while they attend classes. We are now happy to report on another step in the right direction. Bear Valley Bible Institute has formed a partnership with Healing Hands International to help equip our students and their communities with agriculture skills that will better help them to provide for their families. 

Healing Hands International is an organization located in Nashville TN that has various programs including well drilling, disaster relief, and agriculture. Ebenezer Udofia lives in Kenya and has traveled to four of our schools in West Africa to hold two day workshops on sustainable agriculture using drip irrigation. All of these programs were a great success, and the students were given certificates that qualify them to teach the process to others. Brother Udofia plans to also visit our other schools over the next few months. We pray that this program will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of preparing workers for our Lord’s Kingdom. 

Preaching School Synopsis
All seven of our Bear Valley schools of preaching in West Africa continued to labor in our Lord’s vineyard during the period as they trained evangelists and brought lost souls to Christ. One significant development was the decision to change the names of many of our schools to reflect their relationship with Bear Valley. The new name will be Bear Valley Bible Institute followed by their location. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the happenings at each of our West African locations. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Kpalime, Togo held their fourth graduation ceremony as eighteen students successfully completed the program in this French speaking school. Twelve new students began classes, and there are plans to extend the course to include vocational training so the graduates can develop a skill to help support their families as they do the Lord’s work. The school continues to utilize the Gospel Chariot and dozens were baptized into Christ during the period. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Ibadan, Nigeria also celebrated a graduation during the period with fifteen students and instructors receiving Bear Valley Certificates. Thirty-three students are now enrolled in their two year full-time program. The students’ Bible studies continue to be integrated with practical applications of personal evangelism and vocational studies which will help to develop well rounded effective preachers. May our Lord continue to bless their efforts. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Doboro, Ghana continues to train men as eleven students prepare to finish the program at the end of 2015. Two new congregations were planted during the past couple of months, and many souls were brought to Christ. The Bear Valley Master’s program is generating much interest in Accra as more students are enrolling in this degree program. Two acres of land have been acquired and earmarked for future development for this school. Bear Valley Bible Institute – Tamale, Ghana held their first women’s’ lectureship during the period with 126 women from 39 congregations utilizing the facilities in Tamale for this purpose. A school farm was begun with the introduction of the program with Healing Hands, and the school is continuing to evangelize northern Ghana, and train evangelists to edify the new Christians. The West Coast School of Preaching in Ituma Ghana also continues their labor of love as they bring many wandering souls to Christ. They held their annual seminar during the period with the help of the Howe church of Christ in Texas. The annual Campaign for Christ evangelism program resulted in a new congregation being planted in the Central Region in the town of Breman Onwomaso. The school is presently training eighteen men to bring the gospel to their people in West Africa. Finally, the Bear Valley Bible Institute – Wotutu, Cameroon, and the Bear Valley Bible Institute – Mbanga, Cameroon also continue to have great success in training preachers and evangelizing their communities in English and French speaking Cameroon. Both of these schools are being coordinated by brother David Ballard of Pattonville Texas who is doing a wonderful job helping to direct their activities. Details of the activities in Cameroon and more information for all of our West African schools of preaching can be found on the Bear Valley website where regular weekly/monthly reports are posted. These 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 several pictures about the work, please click here.

Posted on December 15, 2015 .