West Africa Happenings: March-April

Greetings to all those throughout the world who love our God, and have a desire to see His will done here on earth. May His blessings be showered upon all those who turn towards Him. As 2016 moves forward, the work is continuing throughout West Africa. So far this year, I have visited five of our schools of preaching, participated in seminars, taught classes, and organized evangelistic campaigns. We completed survey trips for potential new schools in Ganta Liberia, and Freetown Sierra Leone, and are moving forward with those plans. Lord willing, I will return to these two countries in a few weeks. With all of that, I have even had some time to travel to my home in the USA and visit my wife for a few weeks here and there. With your help, many are hearing the words of truth, and coming to Christ for salvation. The gospel is reaching the far corners of West Africa, as we face the challenges of poverty, disease, political instability, ethnic conflicts, and religious radicalism. Regardless of the obstacles, the gospel is being preached. Please keep my travels in your prayers. 

Raging Storm Damages Tamale
A torrential storm with very strong winds damaged our property at the school in Tamale Ghana during the last week. A significant portion of the roof was torn off, the ceilings in the classroom were damaged, our large poly tanks used for water storage were thrown down and broken, and a portion of the wall surrounding the school was blown over. I have asked for estimates on the amounts needed to repair the damage, and hope to get something within the next week. I am guessing we are looking at damage in the $5,000 and up range. If you can help with the needed repairs, then please let me know. 

New School in Ganta, Liberia
Our recent survey trip to Ganta Liberia began with a flight from Accra Ghana to Roberts International Airport near Monrovia, which was originally a United States Air Force Base built during World War II. Our trip to Liberia ended at the ELWA Hospital where much of the fight against Ebola was waged. Liberia has been ravaged by two civil wars that raged for over twenty-years, and after peace was finally gained in 2003, the war torn nation was pillaged again by the Ebola virus. One of the hardest hit areas from both the war and the virus was Nimba County in northern Liberia near the Guinea border. The city of Ganta in Nimba County is the location of our newest school of preaching in West Africa. Dust, motorbikes, and children are the major sites in this town, but the difficulties of the past have resulted in a great dependence upon God, and a yearning for the hope of a heavenly home by much of the population. During the civil war many refugees made their way to Ghana where they learned the true gospel and became members of our Lord’s church. Some of these new Christians were taken to our Ghana Bible Colleges and trained to become preachers and teachers of God’s word. Three of these men now live in the area around Ganta. Brother Robert Dahn obtained a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies from Bear Valley Bible Institute in Takoradi Ghana, and will be the new director of the school. Brother Fester Lee who graduated with a Certificate of Biblical Studies from the West Coast School of Preaching (A Bear Valley School) will also be one of the local instructors. Over sixty men have already expressed an interest in studying at the school, and the premises have been rented. It is our prayer that this school will provide leaders for the church in this area for years to come. 

Surveying Freetown Sierra Leone
Not far from war torn Liberia is war torn Sierra Leone. Not to be outdone, the Ebola virus also raged through this country during the recent pandemic. The brethren here have expressed a great desire to train leaders, and have requested that Bear Valley help them in this task. We recently met with a group of preachers and church leaders in Freetown to discuss the potential opportunities, and have developed a plan on how to move forward. We are looking for a location, and surveying the churches to obtain an indication of the interest in the program. Please keep all of our Sierra Leonean brethren in your prayers as we move forward with this possibility. 

Key Happenings at the Schools
The Bear Valley Bible Institute in Kpalime Togo
continues to be very active in evangelism with a new congregation planted and many souls hearing the gospel in coordination with the Gospel Chariot. The school is continuing their farming efforts with the fencing of the vegetable garden that was started with the help of Healing Hands. There are presently eleven students at this French speaking school as the previous graduates struggle in our Lord’s vineyard. The Bear Valley School in Doboro Ghana began their second class at the beginning of the year and presently has thirteen full-time students ranging in age from twenty to sixty-four. We have also began a weekend program for those who cannot commit full-time, and have seventeen part-time students enrolled in this program. The Master’s program is also continuing at the school near Accra with twenty-one students taking advantage of this opportunity. The West Coast School of Preaching near Takoradi Ghana reported 60 baptisms by staff and students since their break at the end of last year. The laying hens are continuing to produce around 35 eggs a day, and we are actively recruiting for our next class later this year. Please continue to keep brother Daniel Ampadu Asiamah in your prayers. Even with all of the difficulties in Nigeria, the Bear Valley School near Ibadan is making a difference for Christ. The year began with World Bible School lectureships and campaigns with many hearing the gospel message. Brother Doug Wheeler made his final trip to Nigeria after working there for thirty-two years. Time will tell if he can stay away! Healing Hands made it to Nigeria during the period, and held an agriculture workshop for the school. The school also dug a bore hole for water, and continues their vocational training for the students. They are in great need of a van for evangelism. The Bear Valley School in Tamale Ghana is expanding their efforts to evangelize and edify the church in northern Ghana. Numerous trips have been made to follow up on graduates of the school, and to analyze how public preaching plans and equipment are moving forward. We are having seminars, and are hosting a women’s fellowship meeting in the coming months. Plans are in place to expand our training in the indigenous languages. The new Bear Valley School in Ganta Liberia is scheduled to begin around July 4th with and opening ceremony on June 18th. The final preparations are being made for the property and the enrollment of the students. Please keep this new school in your prayers. The two Bear Valley Schools in Cameroon continue their labor of love under the coordination of brother Dave Ballard. You can see the reports for the schools in Wotutu and Mbanga, and all of the schools in West Africa 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 pictures, please click here.

Posted on May 15, 2016 .