Greetings to all throughout the world who are able to read this report. We thank God for the opportunity to labor in His vineyard, and pray that His blessings find their way into your lives. We continue to face many challenges in the work in West Africa, but the rewards are bountiful. With your help, souls are being saved, leaders are being trained, and the church is growing in both number and maturity. One major challenge we face in West Africa, and the rest of the world, is the clash that often occurs between the demands and expectations of local culture, and the Gospel of our Lord. We briefly review the problem in this newsletter. We also examine some of the activities taking place at each of the preaching schools in West Africa. Finally, the email version of this report will present a photo album of some of the major happenings during this period.
Preaching School Synopsis
The Center for Biblical Studies in Kpalime Togo continues to labor diligently in our Lord’s Kingdom. Many are being brought to Christ, with twenty-eight souls baptized during one recent evangelistic campaign. This school is truly a tool of God to bring the gospel to those who have been deceived in the Christian world. The only thing worse than being deceived, is failing to see the truth when it is presented to you and abiding in that deception. Thankfully, many are identifying the truth in the fertile fields of Togo. The West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi Ghana continues to grow in size as they presently train nineteen students in their full-time two-year program. They are active in evangelism, and bringing many to Christ when they are not in the classroom soaking up the word of God. In a recent campaign, some were baptized after hearing the gospel, and over 50 prospects were turned over to the local congregation. Additional land was purchased during the period to be used for raising poultry, goats, and growing crops to help in the support and training of the students. Daniel Ampadu Asiamah has now been moved from Accra to his home in Takoradi and needs our prayers as he struggles to recover. The Southwest School of Evangelism in Ibadan Nigeria continues their labor of love in the highly populated area between Lagos and Ibadan Nigeria. Twenty-five full time students are diligently studying the Scriptures in the village of Butubutu. Each of these students is linked up with a tradesman for vocational training while preparing themselves to preach the gospel. The school places a lot of emphasis on World Bible School courses and seminars to assist them in the spread of God’s message. The construction of the school facilities is rapidly reaching their conclusion as they appeal for funds to finish the project. We thank God for the sacrifice of these brethren! The Southern Institute of Biblical Studies in southern Ghana moved into their second year with eleven students receiving training in the word of God. The school placed a special emphasis on evangelism with quarterly week-long campaigns, and weekly local evangelistic efforts. A dry well and an electrical infrastructure that cannot supply the needs of a developing population are two areas where the school faces challenges. They are digging the well deeper, and the use of a generator helps to provide lights for the students. We have come a long way in building our library, and computer room, and acquiring the necessary office equipment for the smooth running of the school. We are now looking at a permanent site where we can move from the rented premises upon the conclusion of our lease. An appeal for funds is being made for this purpose! The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies in Ghana also faces a water crisis, and is considering the possibility of digging a well on their property. I had the opportunity to spend a week with the students earlier this year teaching on the subject of Christian Evidences. This third class of ten students will graduate and move into the white fields of harvest later this year. The local congregation which meets on the school premises is continuing to grow, and is diligently working towards building their own church building. One of our instructors, Jaminga, is unable to walk and is in need of your prayers. He was told he will need an operation to put a metal plate in his leg to solve the problem. We pray that he will be healed soon! The Cameroon Bible Institute in Wututu began the year with 22 new students in their third (Gamma) class since their inception. The school theme for 2015 is “My Year of Growth” and they are working towards accomplishing this goal through extensive evangelism and edification. One congregation that had been dead for ten years was recently revived through the efforts of the school. The school is also attempting to help their graduates with vocational skills such as raising poultry to help them support their families while preaching the gospel. A new Bear Valley school commenced classes in the French speaking region of Cameroon, and more details will be available in the next report. Please keep our brethren in Cameroon in your prayers!
When the Gospel & Culture Clash
Should we allow culture to change us as Christians or should Christians attempt to change culture? It is often a difficult balance to interact within society while shining the Christian light as required by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is pressure in the church and the world today to allow cultural influences to change the doctrine we find in the word of God. In West Africa there is a deeply ingrained traditional belief in the spirit world that includes a Supreme Being, lesser deities, and ancestral spirits. There is interaction that takes place with the spiritual world on a regular basis, and participation is expected by all family members. Can we offer sacrifices to lesser gods? Can we pour drink offerings to our ancestral spirits? What are the implications of allowing these cultural practices to influence our Christianity in the naming of our children, the funerals of our relatives, or other major events in our lives? This is not merely a problem in West Africa. Culturally accepted practices related to homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, worship, etc. are becoming acceptable in the western Christian world even though they are contrary to the word of God. We must identify those areas of culture that are incompatible with our Christian faith and reject them. Satan is screaming that we can have heaven and live our lives in accordance with the desires of the world rather than the doctrine of God. Do not be deceived! We must allow God rather than culture to determine what is acceptable in our Christian lives! Let us be diligent to follow God’s word and not be deceived by Satan!
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
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:
USA Phone: 971-270-8535
Please email Steven if you would like to receive this newsletter by email.
Thanks So Much, With Christian Love
To see Steven’s report with pictures, please click here.