Monday, May 26, 2014

Church planting in Namibia

What if...

map showing location of Ondangwa Namibia...you started with an infinite, all-powerful God, added 7 servants ready and eager to do his work, and completed the mix with a community of receptive hearts, anxious to hear the Good News? Could the result be a new congregation of the Lord's Body, where none existed before? Not that God needs us to complete him, or to make him more of a God, but that's the way he's chosen to accomplish his work -- through fragile, imperfect jars of clay like you and me (2 Corinthians 4:7).

The task

The task was to plant a congregation in Ondangwa Namibia. The church is strong in Namibia, but not many congregations exist in the small towns and rural areas in Northern Namibia. Ondangwa was a good choice for many reasons, some of which are that it's a good-sized city of 23,000 people, and we had a connection through one of the Windhoek sisters to provide the location for the Gospel Chariot to park for the week.

The team

The 7 members of the team were from 4 different congregations in the U.S., 3 members being from Arkansas and 4 from Texas. In the photo below, you see (L-to-R, back row), Anthony Ngabwe, Mike & Diane Knappier, Bob Grinslade, Lyman Mpharo, Tommy LeFan, Joel Lewis, and Joseph Petrus. Front row, Robert Hara, Bob Mathews, and Charlie Worrell.

Mike & Diane are from the Northside congregation in Benton AR, Joel is from the Lawson Rd. congregation in Little Rock AR, Bob is from the Southern Hills congregation in Buda TX, and the other Americans are from the Fredericksburg TX congregation.



The work

Certainly the most immediate work was getting the word out -- letting people know we were there, inviting them to Bible study and evening worship, and letting them know where the congregation would be meeting after we left. We were encouraged by the receptive hearts and the willingness of the Ondangwa residents to hear the message.

Here you see Bernard  (L) and then him and Mike (R) greeting neighbors & inviting them to study. Tommy and Robert study with a local family, and Joel going door-to-door with Anthony and Bernard.
Clockwise, from top left, Tommy & Bob G. conduct a study; Robert & Bernard show the sign that we placed by the roadway so people would know who we were; Diane did a great work teaching the children every day; one of the families who heard the Word.
Charlie and Bob G. engaged in studies.
Charlie takes Liina's confession & baptizes her. Liina was the first convert of the week, and was present every day for study, and every night for worship.

New converts, clockwise from top left: Mike, Charlie, and Bob G. with Liina; Robert takes Ronny's confession, Tommy introduces some of the new converts to the congregation on Friday night; Tommy with Martinez.

Evening worship

We met for worship from 6 to 8 PM each night from Tuesday through Saturday. Preaching during the week were Anthony, Bob M., Joel, Mike, and Tommy.

Mike preached on Tuesday night. The crowd was light that night, but increased in number every day.
We met every night during the week for worship.
Mike teaching Bible class on Sunday morning.
Tommy gives some final encouragement to the new congregation on Sunday morning.

Off to a good start

We ended the week with 34 studies and 11 baptisms. After worship Sunday morning, Anthony held a business meeting with the congregation, and several stepped up to provide needed services -- taking care of the Sunday offering, building a meeting facility, and membership, to name a few.

Anthony (in the suit) and Peter (wearing a hat) meet with the congregation after worship on Sunday.
Baptismal garments & towels hanging out to dry. This is what it's all about!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

MARCH

 2014 is moving ahead. It is March already and before we know, it is mid-year and then year end. God continues to bless us as we strive to build more Gospel Chariots for evangelism. Lord willing, by next month we should have a total of 7 gospel chariots preaching the gospel and Lord willing, by year end 10 gospel chariots. PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE EVANGELISTIC CHARIOTS AND THE BRETHREN OVERSEEING THEM. God is working and we give Him the GLORY.

GOSPEL CHARIOTS

 Above shows the 2 new mini chariots we have just built for Zimbabwe and Malawi. These are much smaller, but are just as effective. They will travel around preaching and educating congregations on how to do World Bible School follow up. They will also preach in prisons and plant churches, as well as helping to mature those young congregations. We are hoping to have 20 of these in years to come. "Seeking and Saving the lost"
 
 Above shows the speaker horns we got put on for open air meetings and seminars. This way they can have a number of meetings in one day as they travel from village to village.
 


Above shows the mini gospel chariot that was built for Liberia, West Africa. Brother Isaac Daye is heading this evangelistic chariot up. Many souls have been baptized already due to their travels and meetings. This is a country rebuilding after years of conflict. Keep it up Isaac and let us all pray for this good leader. Talking about West Africa, we are now in the process of building a mini chariot for Togo, West Africa, and brother Willie Gley from Ghana will be overseeing that chariot as he heads up a Bible School in Togo.
 
Then there is the BIG GHANA CHARIOT that will be working the whole of Ghana and Lord willing, crossing over into Burkina Faso, Benin and also helping in Togo. This is the second year that they have their own gospel chariot. The elders from the Nsawam Road Church of Christ and the Heritage University oversee this chariot. Brother Evans Lartey is the coordinator of this mission.
 

Above shows chariot 2 that works countries north of South Africa. Every year it works the Eastern Cape and then go to Namibia and helps us plant congregations there. From there it goes on to Zambia and then on to Malawi. From Malawi it goes further north to Tanzania and returns to Malawi and finishes off in Mozambique. This year we will be going as far as Kenya where we will be joining a "God Bless East Africa Campaign". This Gospel Chariot is the most productive of all Gospel Chariots. Brother Moster Kanyinji with Layman and Robert,  who are all Malawians, help to work this Chariot. Brother Dimpo Motimele, my right hand man, plans all these trips, logistics and all. Team work is dream work. Thanks to all in all the countries that make this work so AMAZING.


 Then we have the big baby that we call Chariot 1. This chariot has been around for 14 years now and has planted many Churches and reached thousands of souls. Brother Lazarus Munetsi and Brother Bongani Mabena, under the leadership of Dimpo, look after this Gospel Chariot. These men run this chariot and rotate and at the same time run a short term Bible school in Pretoria. On top of that, they also preach for congregations. Busy, Busy and loving it. Amen

 
Above shows our first 2 Gospel Chariots. When their bodies got all old and dilapidated we broke them off and put brand new bodies on. Good for another 10 to 15 years. These Mercedes trucks will last a long time.
 
 
 Above shows how you can erect a tent and have a gospel meeting and church on Sundays. It can be used for gospel meetings, church plantings, leadership training, benevolence, medical missions, prison ministry and World Bible School seminars.
 
 Above shows an open air meeting in Malawi. This is a World Bible School meeting. Encouraging people in a village to study the word of God. As you can see, the chariot has a baptistery next to the chairs.

 ZIMBABWE

 
 Above shows Washington Mhlanga, one of the elders from the Avondale Church of Christ. There are 3 elders and I met with them due to us building a mini chariot for Zimbabwe. They will be the elders overseeing the mini chariot. Whilst there I did a leadership seminar on the Saturday. Great group of leaders. Keep it up brethren.
 
 
Above shows another elder and his name is Never Sibanda. He is the brother of Wilbert Sibanda one of my elders from the Malaga Church of Christ in Perth, Australia. What a small world and amazing connection.
 
Above shows the leaders that attended the leadership seminar on the Saturday. It was great and the whole idea is to motivate brethren to be intentional about being better leaders, because leadership is a process and not a position and when we grow as leaders, then the church will also grow. As they say " Grow the leader, grow the organisation.
 
Above shows worship on Sunday morning in Harare at the Avondale Church. I got to preach before heading out back to South Africa.
 
 Above show Alice Mhlanga who heads up the World Bible School office in Zimbabwe. She has done this for many years and is a powerhouse for the Kingdom. Alice will have the mini chariot to do seminars all around the country. What a pleasure this is going to be. This is going to make follow up much more effective.

WESTERN CAPE


Above shows Chariot 1 putting up the tent for a gospel meeting in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The truck has been repaired and it is all systems go for 2014.
Above shows Lazarus Munetsi helping cut flyers that will be distributed in the different countries as the chariots travel. Lazarus is now based in the Western Cape where he will be helping us build on a work we started some years back and things are looking good. We believe with him helping, things will only get better and we can see it already. Amen
 
Above shows me doing the printing. We are now designing our own tracts and will eventually print all literature ourself and not rely on other ministries to supply us, due to us getting and then not getting, and it does become a problem. We are hoping on getting Riso Graphs in other countries that will be able to print for us, then we will just collect as we cross borders.
 
Above shows 1 of 10 portable baptisteries that we got made for us, as we travel. The big chariots have baptisteries built in, but the smaller ones will have fold up portable ones. 
 
Above shows Lazarus helping get the daycare centre up and running in Thembuletu, George. It is a congregation we got going in the Western Cape. There are many towns around this area that have no Churches of Christ. Plenty of work still to do.
 


Above shows some of the little children that attend the daycare in George

 
 
Above shows a high school in Kwanokutula, Plettenberg Bay that the team is reaching out to. Our goal in the Church and community is to encourage young people to study and understand that there is power in education.
 
Above shows the Hillview Church of Christ in Plettenberg Bay that we started some 7 years ago. This is my home church when in South Africa. It is a place where everyone is someone special. Lazarus has moved down to help the congregation and region with Ria and I being based out of Perth, Australia. Gladman and Zonge assist in this effort with the whole church being encouraged to come on board.
 

Above shows the brethren breaking up into groups and discussing God's word.
 
Above shows a student education seminar hosted by the church in Plettenberg Bay. It is where we, as a church, are trying to get the young people to study after finishing high school. Above shows a Miss. Mkosi from the local high school speaking on education 
 
 Above shows my wife Ria, also teaching on the benefits of education. The 2 women did an amazing job encouraging the students. It was great!
 
I then got to speak to them and warn them on some issues in life and how life is connected and what you do today, you will experience tomorrow. Our biggest desire as a work, is not just bring people to Jesus, but find ways where we can sow seeds that benefit others. HOW CAN WE HELP PEOPLE ON THEIR WAY.
 

 
Above shows all the application forms for the different scholarships and universities. Well done Lazarus, Busi, Gladman and Zonge.

PRETORIA


Above shows the 2 big chariots in the workshop getting repairs done before the long year starts. Every year all trucks get road worthied and serviced as well as any major repairs done. This is so important due to us traveling into so many countries and into areas where one cannot get repairs done. We get ready and we then go into all the World.
 

 At the same time bible students start arriving at the short term bible school we have in Pretoria. Every year young men come study God's word with us. This helps us give new converts or interested people the opportunity to study His word. Above shows Bongani registering the students with Nations University.

 Above shows some of the students who were baptized after being taught more accurately.


To God be the Glory

GHANA

Above shows Willie Gley handing out World Bible School lessons to students in the Volta region. Willie helps and uses the Ghana Gospel Chariot in his efforts. There were a number of souls baptized during the visit to the Volta region.


Above shows the Ghana Gospel Chariot in action. When they get into an area they put up a World Bible School stand next to the Chariot and preach the Word. Other times they have open air meetings and also show gospel DVD's. This chariot is in for some repairs and will then be heading to the north of Ghana, where it will campaign and have gospel meetings. Brother Evans Lartey is currently in the north preparing the way. God Bless West Africa.

 
Above and below show some of the souls being baptized into Jesus....Amen
 


LIBERIA

Talking about West Africa. Above shows brothers in Liberia loading speaking equipment to preach the gospel and work on the Liberian mini gospel chariot

 Above shows Isaac Daye who heads up the work in Liberia with some students who he had just signed up to study through World Bible School. They managed to baptize 11 souls and sign up 180 students in a 4 day campaign in Monrovia using the mini gospel chariot. They also, on a different trip, baptized 21 souls. Isaac is a fireball and doing amazing things for the Lord in Liberia. Remember this country was torn apart with years of conflict. Well done, brother, we continue to pray for you as you rebuild the walls of God's Church.


 LEADERSHIP

 I have started a weekly email that I send out to any leader who wants to be added to it and in there I encourage brethren through scripture and leaders in the Bible on how we can be better leaders. Its so cool, because everything gets better when we, as a leaders, gets better. If you want me to add you to this weekly email. Please write me at chariot.leadership@gmail.com
If you can, try buy yourself a John Maxwell Study Bible like you see at the bottom. He will open up the word of God in more ways than one and help you see how leadership is a process and not a position and that leaders develop daily and not in a day. Everything rises and falls on leadership. When leaders grow, the church grows as well.
 
 

WHAT I DO IN MY SPARE TIME

 
We all got some hang up or hobby and mine is exercise. I love getting up early in the mornings and having my prayer time followed with some reflection and then I go out and exercise. It is my time and it helps me with many things like stress, visionaring and pondering about God and His amazing creation. With me getting out most mornings and being very consistent with that, I set myself a goal every year and try do some endurance race. Years back it use to be the Comrades marathon and most recently it is the Ironman Triathlon. It is crazy, it is where you swim 3.8km, then you cycle 180km and straight after that you run a full marathon of 42km and you have 17 hours to do it. On the 8th of December I managed to do one in Australia. I hope to do the same one this year in December, Lord Willing. How do I do it? One day at a time. Every day works, some day does not. Every day just try exercise a little bit and build it up as the day gets closer. Next year I will be 60 years old. I thank God for allowing me to excercise and give Him the Glory.

Swiming is not my strong point and it can be intimidating diving into the sea and swiming 3.8km. It took me 1hr20min. Ha Ha. What missionaries don't do for fun.
 


Then it was the cycling. That was easy and took me 5hr50min. I cycle most days of the week and as they say " you get out what you put in". I put in time and so that helps me. I can't say that for the next event, where you run 42km. The older you get the harder it is to run. I ran the marathon in 4hr 33min. Not bad for an old guy. 50min quicker than my April Ironman in South Africa.

 
11hr 56min. Amen. I still had 5 hours left before the cut off time. What a blessing. We are hoping on getting more Christians to start participating in these sporting events. It is a way of getting to know people in the community.