West Africa Happenings: January-February

Greetings to all those who love our Lord, and desire to see God’s glory manifested through the expansion of His kingdom throughout the world. We thank God for your love, encouragement, and support! 

Year End Review 
The previous year was a wonderful and prosperous one for the work in West Africa, and the current year is already showing promise to be even more exciting! Bear Valley Bible Institute now has seventeen extension schools and over three hundred full-time preacher training students throughout the world. There have been over two thousand baptisms and restorations in the past year, and over one hundred congregations were planted and restored directly related to these Bear Valley schools! This does not even take into consideration the multitude of those who are being brought to Christ from the hundreds of graduates who have already completed these preacher training programs. We find over one-third of these Bear Valley schools and students in West Africa! With your help, our evangelistic and edification efforts are having a significant impact on the growth and strength of the church in this part of the world. 

As a new year begins, we spend significant time reflecting on the accomplishments in the past, and planning for the future. The past few weeks have involved conferences with the staff and instructors at a number of the schools in West Africa, and an extension meeting with the Bear Valley staff in Denver Colorado. These strategic planning sessions will continue over the next few weeks here in Africa. In this newsletter, we would like to look forward at some of our challenges for 2015 and beyond, and look back at some of the major accomplishments throughout West Africa during 2014. With your help, we are training many to evangelize, teach and preach the gospel message of our Lord! It is our prayer that God gives us the strength to continue this effort for years to come. We pray that the gospel will continue to touch the hearts of countless others through our efforts. We have included a photo gallery with many of our favorite photos from 2014 in the email version of this newsletter. Thank you again for your sacrifice that makes this work possible. May God continue to shower his blessings upon you! 

Looking Back and Forward 
The year 2015 brings many potential challenges and opportunities for the work in West Africa. We plan to continue to train and edify evangelistic leaders through all of our Bible training programs, and to empower them to successfully embark upon our Lord’s work in this part of the world. Many of the challenges that we face, are the same ones that you hear about continually in the media, and in my previous reports. Radical Islamic groups are limiting our ability to work in many places due to fear and intimidation of the population. We plan to work diligently in those areas where God has opened doors, and pray that our Lord will open other doors also in these difficult turbulent locations. Disease and poverty continues to play both a positive and negative role in the work in West Africa. While Ebola has closed many doors, it has also opened many hearts. It has caused many to evaluate their mortality and where they will spend eternity. There has recently been a request to start a new Bible training program in one of the hardest hit areas for Ebola, and we are looking into that opportunity. Many specific plans are being made for the establishment of new schools. You can follow along throughout the year at each of these locations on the Bear Valley website, and through my regular reports. May our Lord continue to bless you richly.. 

Looking back, the year 2014 was an exciting one for the work in West Africa. The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo recorded 409 baptisms and five new congregations were planted during twelve evangelistic campaigns! Many others were also edified during seven seminars and lectureships throughout the year. The Bible school currently has fifteen students who are scheduled to graduate in 2015. This will bring the total graduates from CBS to forty-one. Many of these were leaders in denominations before coming to understand the truth. We are now preparing for twenty new students to arrive in 2015. The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana is continuing their work in the Western Region of Ghana. This school recorded 97 baptisms during 2014 as a result of six evangelistic campaigns, and one new congregation was established! Many others are being brought to Christ by the graduates who have passed through this school over the last decade. The school also had five seminars and lectureships during the previous year. A new class began in 2014 with eighteen faithful Christian men. The 2014 graduation was rescheduled for April of 2015 due to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Daniel Ampadu Asiamah continues to need our prayers as he recovers from his stroke. The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria is laboring in the white fields of Nigeria with over 125 baptisms resulting from thirty-five special and weekly evangelistic campaigns during the previous year. Over 200 souls were restored to the church, and four new congregations were planted during the year. The school also held four seminars to edify the local Christians in 2014. The SWSE currently has twenty- eight full-time students and twenty part-time students at their three campuses. We are considering the possibility of establishing a new full-time training program in Lagos Nigeria in the near future. The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies is a new school but they have not been idle during the previous year. They recorded twenty-eight baptisms, and two new congregations as a result of two special and regular evangelistic campaigns. We also held one seminar during the fall of the previous year. They currently have eleven students, and efforts are underway to recruit a new class for 2016. The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana is continuing their effort to build up the church in northern Ghana with ten students scheduled to graduate in 2015. This will bring the total graduates in Tamale to thirty-eight men over the past six years. There were fifteen baptisms as a result of five evangelistic campaigns during 2014, and many others were brought to Christ through the efforts of our graduates. The missionary that was living in Tamale, Tony Johnson, remarried in 2014, and is no longer working with Bear Valley Bible Institute. He has now moved to Council Bluffs Iowa in the USA. The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu is doing a wonderful work through the coordinating efforts of brother David Ballard from Pattonville, Texas. The school recorded 238 baptisms and 100 restorations during ten evangelistic campaigns, and lots of weekend evangelism! Three new congregations of our Lord’s church were planted, and three additional congregations were revived as a result of these efforts. The school graduated twenty-three students in December 2014, and twenty-two new students began their training program in January 2015. May our Lord continue to bless this wonderful work! 

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, please click here.

Posted on March 1, 2015 .