Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 First Quarter Update and Overview

Wow, April is upon us and all 9 Gospel Chariots are rolling and the Chariot teams are hard at work. There have been over 300 baptisms with a number of congregations planted. I cannot explain how amazing it is as one travels and works with the different chariots and regions and then one cannot even get to all countries and chariots due to the vastness of this outreach. God is working through the Chariot teams. It is amazing.

I have just returned home after 2 months of working the Southern part, mainly South Africa and Namibia. Bible Schools are in and Risograph Printers are starting to print.  Two new mini chariots are busy being built for the Western Cape and Namibia - both will be completed and up and running by mid year and, Lord willing, we will also have the new Zambian chariot built by year end. Then Lord Willing Kenya and Nigeria.

Brethren, have a look at some of the amazing work taking place on the African continent and it’s all your fault, ha ha, yes, we have to commend all the amazing leaders we are working with in Africa. Great leaders make great works, everything rises and falls on leadership and I believe we are choosing the right men to do the right thing, on the right continent for God. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all for working together. "teamwork is dreamwork"

GHANA

The Ghana team reports that the Chariot worked with the churches in the Central region for this first quarter of the year. They divided their time between almost twenty congregations and worked together with these congregations to evangelize their local areas. They have baptised 71 people and have enrolled 2,452 new students to World Bible School and have also distributed 30 boxes of tracts and a number of boxes of bibles. Below see them distributing some of the 30,000 bibles we shipped in for them to distribute. Amen.


They attribute some of their campaign success to the fact that they have been able to distribute these Bibles and tracts (as seen above) and that they can offer enrolment to the World Bible School lessons. Specifically, the Bibles and tracts are stamped with the Church address and telephone numbers (below, top left) and they have done this so that people are able to contact them directly if they have any questions. Evans has already had some contact him as a result of this. They also had gospel movies at night and went into the high schools. Wonderful as they reach so many.


On March 31 we received a message from Willie Gley in Ghana. He was excited to share the two photos below. They had printed their first tracts on their Risograph printer and had chosen to print "What must I do to be Saved" tracts in French. The Riso printing ministry is growing with us now having 8 machines in Africa where tracts will be printed in country for the different chariots. We are working hard on saving certain tracts here to our blog (see sidebar) so anyone one who wants a tract can download it and then print it. Otherwise we will be putting these machines in Africa, but what will we be printing? So, it's a mission, but we are getting there. We have 12 tracts saved already and will be adding WBS Intro lessons and so on, even French speaking tracts. This way we are preserving tracts and helping us African missionaries with some administration work.


Below shows the team in Ghana being joined by Ron Pottberg from World Bible School Austin while they were in Ajumako, in the central region (four photos below). They were kept very busy with night preaching and teaching, one on one Bible studies and World Bible School student recruitment in the day, the distribution of thousands of tracts, as well as Bibles and other materials. Ron said "The Mission Printing tracts and booklets are a great attention getter as very few ministries give out free materials. So everyone goes away with something to read and think about and a majority will enrol for the WBS lessons." The team were kept busy preaching to the people in their local language and also managed to show some videos, including "The Life of Christ" in their own language which is great for the people to be able to better understand what they are being taught.


TOGO

In February the Chariot team went to Yokele to help a newly planted church. The team, consisting of the chariot workers, 18 students, 14 preachers and 11 members from congregations in the Kpalime area hoped to help the church by introducing them to the community through open air preaching, door knocking, tract distribution and worship services. They were happy to report that this work resulted in one new baptism and also fifteen new prospects for the Yokele church of Christ.


Willie reports that they have had so many requests from people in smaller villages to help plant churches in their communities that the team now has "more than we can handle. However, we thank God for using us as tools".  What a great problem to have!


The Chariot will be working in the following areas over the next three months:

April 27 to May 3 Lama Kara

June 15 to 19 Tabligbo;  and then

June 22 to 28 Follow up in Lama Kara

BENIN

The Gospel Chariot in Benin undertook its first big trip in January and was on the road, visiting the Northern parts of the country, from January 16 to February 14.


It seems it was quiet an eventful trip with the team (Honore top left and Michee top right) reporting that they were bumped by another vehicle, they were fined for having a burnt out headlight, they were not allowed to teach in some areas because the authorities wanted them to have "open air preaching permits" and some of the chiefs wanted them to have "preaching permits", one of the churches was not prepared for them, all four of the speakers took a turn to blow and then the clutch on the Chariot went! See it being repaired below...


Despite all of this happening Michee says: "It is important to underline that this is our first experience and we love it!"   Joy in trials!

Even though the team experienced all these trials, they still managed to visit with six congregations across the North and encouraged them and worked with them. They taught lessons on leadership and discipleship. They taught day and night. They taught in open areas and they taught in homes. They held a two hour prayer meeting. They did some door knocking. They had home Bible studies with three families (and the local preachers promised to go back and visit with those families).

And the team, themselves, also learnt some valuable lessons which will stand them in good stead when they plan their next trip.

Below shows the entire team in Benin led by George Akpabli (far left).

GOD BLESS BROTHER GEORGE AND THE TEAM IN BENIN. GOD IS WORKING.


LIBERIA

Isaac reports that the team has had 24 baptisms in January and February. It's so good to see children witnessing this baptism what an example!


Then in March they set out on a three week gospel campaign trip to North and Central Liberia where the team worked in four counties. They headed out to Ganta (baptism above), Gbanga, Totota and Weala. They were excited to report the planting of a new congregation in the Hope Community, Weala, Margibi County (pictured below). A total of 16 people were baptised as the first fruit of this congregation. Isaac reports that this three week campaign yielded a total of 46 baptisms.


There has been an increased demand for tracts and the preachers from various areas have been coming to collect them from Isaac to use at their local congregations. To date they have distributed 75,000 tracts in Liberia. Remember Liberia is recovering from the ebola epidemic. PLEASE PRAY FOR ISAAC AND THE TEAM THERE. GOD IS WORKING...


MALAWI

The mini chariot in Malawi has been working in Kadikechi, Nthungwa, Sonda Silos, Phwechi, Kajiti, Katoto, Chibwaka and Geisha. We don't have many photos due to Moster and the team having a computer problem. We are trying to get them sorted out so they can report better. Below shows 2 uncompleted buildings in and around Mzuzu that the team managed to help complete during their December holidays. Every year we, as a GCM team, try help build one church building in Malawi, which only costs $1,500.00, believe it or not.


Above shows the 3 Malawian leaders, Moster, Lyman and Robert. Very good men and part of our family. Malawi has received their Riso Printer and it will be stored and working out of the Mzuzu Bible School where they have given us an office to work out of. The team reported 11 baptisms, 6 restorations and 2,415 students have been enrolled to World Bible School. Robert tells us that they have also been helping with visiting schools, hospitals and prisons recruiting students and that they have even been called to speak at weddings and funerals. In January the chariot was called to help out at a funeral and after our team had helped with the funeral service one of the people who attended the service asked to be baptised.

Robert and Lyman are now working Chariot 2 that is working its way through Namibia and will soon be in Zambia.

ZIMBABWE

In February the team in Zimbabwe, with the help of a preacher from Mushaviri, have planted a new congregation in Gutu Township. The preacher from Mushaviri will be travelling to them (14kms) to help them out until they are stronger and able to stand on their own. On their way back home they stopped in Masvingo and had a Bible study with Abigirl (below) who they then baptised right outside in the water tank!


In March the team went back to Arcturus to visit with and encourage the new congregation they helped plant in January. Auswich reports that while they were there they also met and studied with and baptised four new souls!


They then also went on to plant a new congregation in Mayambara (on the outskirts of Harare) and are grateful for the fact that fourteen people decided to obey the gospel. For their first Sunday worship service they were visited and encouraged by some Christians from Zengeza and Manyame who will help support this new congregation.


Things are happening in Zimbabwe. Some exciting news is that the Venda Gospel Chariot team and the Zimbabwean team are working together with the Vendan team crossing over from South Africa in the South and planting congregations South of Masvingo. Three congregations have been planted so far with more doors opening and more converts wanting to attend the short term bible school in Venda. I personally, Lord willing, will be campaigning in Venda in early June and be crossing over into Zimbabwe and working with the two teams. What is most exciting is that we Africans are becoming the missionaries now. Exiting, exciting developments and I am fully behind this concept.
PLEASE PRAY FOR ZIMBABWE.

VENDA

The team in Venda have been recruiting students to WBS in the big city of Thohoyandou and they also held some tent meetings in this first quarter. The short term Bible School is in process and will continue for 6 months. There are 0ver 60 congregations in Venda and it's these brethren that are helping us cross over into neighbouring countries and do mission work. They also oversee the Bible School and Chariot. They are great partners in the gospel. God Bless Venda.


One of the tent meetings they hosted was at Tshibvumo. They held classes for the community from Thursday through Sunday and they also hosted an area wide congregational meeting on the Saturday and Sunday. They report that 350 people from congregations spread around Venda all gathered together to study and pray and plan together and to encourage one another.  

I will be in Venda early June and then onto Zimbabwe with the mini chariot. I have also just returned from Namibia with brother Malindi from Venda. He good friend and accompanied me as I encouraged the young congregations that we have planted in Namibia over the years. I am trying to link key South African leaders up to the young congregations in Namibia. Brother Malindi is a wonderful leader and has helped sort out many church problems over the years and has now invited many of the Namibian leaders to visit Venda and South Africa. This way helping Namibia be more connected to the South African churches.

SOUTH AFRICA

WESTERN CAPE - Plettenberg Bay

Below shows the congregation in Plettenberg Bay having some fun and fellowship during my visit home there for 2 months. We had a leadership seminar, but at the same time started building the new mini chariots. We also had brother Tebogo Ramatsui visit with us who is an elder in the Church of Christ in Atteridgeville, Pretoria. He is also a good friend and great leader in South Africa. It was wonderful and our main goal is to link new congregations up to the main stream Churches of Christ that are mature. It was wonderful having him and other leaders visit with us as we discussed missions in the area. Some good news was that two influential men in the community where baptised. Both had been attending other denominations and are excited about the truth and about serving God in the Lords Church.


Below shows the new mini chariot busy being built for the Western Cape. This chariot will work between Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and the Garden Route, where it will be based. There are many, many towns where there are no Churches of Christ. We are also in the process of purchasing and building the same style mini chariot for Namibia, that should be ready by midyear. Please pray for these two new Gospel Chariots that will be working non-evangelised regions.


January saw us repairing and polishing all the South African Gospel Chariots before they left on their travels and believe me, there are repairs that need to be done every year. We really and truly work hard on making sure we fix things before the vehicles leave, otherwise you're going to have problems where you don't want to have problems.


Below shows Willie Gley getting some training on the Riso Printers for Togo and Benin. You can also see Bongani doing some printing and me, with a young man called Zonge, who we are training up to help with heading up the Riso ministry regarding the compiling and collection of tracts. As we mentioned, we now have 8 printing machines in Africa. God is working through the written word. AMEN.


Below shows our leadership seminar in Plettenberg Bay. We had brethren from Port Elizabeth, Knysna and George. Ria also got to teach the ladies and brother Tebogo was amazing. Things are starting to happen in the Western Cape where there are hardly any Churches of Christ from PE to Cape Town.


Below shows the newly planted Knysna Church of Christ that we planted late last year. Brother Lazarus Munetsi, our GCM right hand man, has done an amazing job taking over from me in the region. He and his wife, Busi, are amazing, Godly people.


Below shows a few of the baptisms from the first quarter. First is Bongani baptizing a young lady while the chariot was in Port Elizabeth (top left), second is a baptism at the church in Plettenberg Bay (top right) and the two photos at the bottom show Lazarus (bottom left) and Tebogo (bottom right) baptising two souls during the leadership week in Plettenberg Bay.


CHARIOT ONE

In this first quarter Chariot One visited Port Elizabeth, Bothsabelo, ThabNchu, Mafikeng and Zeerust. The team reports 79 baptisms. They were able to work with and encourage two newly planted churches. They also visited an Aged Care Facility and studied with and baptised two men, aged 70 and 82, (below, top right) as well as four members of staff (below, top left). They prayed with the elderly and even got to visit with and pray for a lovely lady who was 105 years old! They shared the Word with learners at a Special Educational Needs school and prayed with the teachers and principal (below, bottom left).


Chariot one also worked at Thaba Nchu and Bongani was excited to report that graduates from the short term school in Pretoria who live in the area joined up with him to help him preach and teach and baptise. (Pictured below)


DURBAN

The Durban office received their Riso printer and they are so grateful to be able to be printing their own lessons again. They also hosted an all night prayer meeting which was attended by members from six congregations. They met to pray together and plan together and to encourage each other.


REIGER PARK

In March I taught at a Leadership Seminar hosted by the Reiger Park church (pictured below). They are currently worshipping in a tent, but they are in the process of erecting a building. Top right is Phillip Hermanus, the preacher and evangelist in Reiger Park. Reiger Park is in the suburb of Boksburg and that is where I was baptised in 1984. It was wonderful to return and encourage our brethren.


PRETORIA

The team working out of our office in Pretoria reports three baptisms this week! They are two students from our Short Term Bible School and a World Bible School student who came to the office for a personal Bible study and decided he needed to be baptised.


LECTURESHIP - MIDDELBURG

The chariot was also recently used at the Lectureship in Middelburg. Dimpo reports that the lectureship was well attended by about 2,000 people. Gospel Chariot Missions was represented by Dimpo, Lazarus and Bongani who were all involved in preaching and teaching at the lectureship. The Chariot was used for a variety of classes and meetings and was also the serving point for supper every night. Dimpo shared about the work Gospel Chariot Missions does and he reports that he had a lot of people coming to the chariot afterwards to find out more about it and to ask questions.


NAMIBIA

As I mentioned in our last report, I just got back from Namibia and am so excited about the future. It has been years of pioneering and we are now starting to see the light. Congregations are growing and we are in the process of building a mini chariot for this amazing country. Chariot 2, which I was working on earlier this month in Namibia, is now in Rundu and the team reports they are having meetings at night which are being well attended by approximately 200 people.


WOW! AS YOU CAN SEE BRETHREN.......GOD IS WORKING
AND IT'S ONLY GETTING BETTER.
THANK YOU FATHER GOD 
AND THANK YOU TO ALL WHO WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN

NAMIBIA 2015

Hi everyone, whilst we wait for our first quarter update, I thought I would give you an update on my mission trip to Namibia because I have so much to say about it. First let's have a look at the new mini chariot being built for the Western Cape. As you can see, it's a much better design and is going to be a winner as it preaches the Gospel in many, many towns where there are no Churches of Christ. We have just ordered a new truck, this time for Namibia, that should be finished mid year. Let me tell you about Namibia because I am very excited after many years of pioneering work in that country.


WINDHOEK - NAMIBIA

It was in the year 2000, after much prayer, that we decided to plant the first Church of Christ in Windhoek the capital city of Namibia.  I flew in and rented a store on the main street called Independence Avenue. I will never forget staying in a hotel that overlooked the city and how I prayed that God would help us and wondered what God had in mind for the city and country.  I could not visit with any brethren because there were no brethren in the capital city. A number of missionaries have tried to plant churches in Windhoek over the years, but nothing lasted as they returned home due to sickness or lost support. I was aware that it was going to be tough, but had faith and had some congregations willing to campaign with me on a yearly basis, mainly Fredericksburg and also Northside in Benton. 

My first stop was to rent a store on the main street and put a big Church of Christ sign up, then rotate some of our young evangelists. It took one month and we had a congregation going. It was too good to be true and then the problems started with the anti Church of Christ following us and teaching issue oriented gospel and it just tore the Church apart. We continued and eventually managed to purchase a house and convert it into a Church building in one of the suburbs called Katatura. Problems still seemed to plague the leadership, but we still did not give up. We then decided to send a young man, by the
name of Anton Ngabwe, to University for 5 years and whilst studying we worked with him as he worked with the Church.

TODAY there is a stable Wanaheda Church of Christ. Whilst working with the Windhoek Church we started spreading our wings and planted a congregation in Rundu, 8 hours to the North East of Windhoek, and today there are 4 congregations. We then planted a congregation in Walvis Bay, 4 hours to the West of Windhoek, and last year we planted a congregation in Ondangwa that is 7 hours to the North of Windhoek. God has blessed our efforts in Namibia and we give Him the glory and the GCM team the appreciation for hanging in there.

Five years back we started a mini Leadership Lectureship where we get all the leaders together and motivate them to be better leaders and unite with each other. It has really helped the brethren to get to know each other and in turn helped all congregations in Namibia take responsibility of their own country. This year I took some key leaders from South Africa to assist with the leadership seminar and my goal is to link all Namibian congregations up to the South African leaders. This way Africans get to know who their brethren are and protect and help each other stay faithful. This is my fifteenth year working in Namibia and I so want to see it continue after my death. It was a fantastic trip, but even better, we are about to build a mini chariot for Namibia. Have a look at some of the recent activities that have taken place in a country that has been neglected when it comes to mission work. Please pray for Namibia and thank you to all for helping us help them.


Above (top left) shows Malindi, myself, Tebogo and Dimpo outside the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek on our arrival there. You can also see the congregational leadership meeting we had with them. On the left bottom is Anton Ngabwe with his wife Florence and baby Jack. Anton is the young man we sent to University and empowered to assist with missions in Namibia. To the right of them you see myself with Funkie and Laurence from Walvis Bay who will be trained up to work the new Gospel Chariot in the country. 


The 4 photos on the above are of our fellowship meeting, eating, greeting and just hanging out. The ladies in the church cooked up a storm for us once again. AMEN


Above shows Tebogo having a study with some of the brethren and answering a million questions from the bible. One of the visitors was not a Christian and decided to put Christ on in Baptism. All they then did was walk outside to the Gospel Chariot and baptise the brother. It was fantastic! I campaign every year in Namibia and this is the first time I have seen the brethren ask so many questions. It was really good having black elders campaigning with me. I think the Africans felt more comfortable asking Africans questions and, of course, there are the cultural issues that only they can answer and we whites don't really understand.

TSUMEB - NAMIBIA


We then headed North 4 hours, to Tsumeb, to visit with the only missionary in Namibia, brother John Dalton who directs the Tsumeb Bible Academy. This meeting has been in the making for the last year, where we were going to meet with him and his US sponsoring congregation regarding John slowing down and relocating, and our work Gospel Chariot Missions and his sponsoring congregation working together on choosing a new director and team to run the school. Our proposed plans are to take young Anton Ngabwe who has just finished University and empower him to direct the school.


Above shows John Dalton, on the left, and brother Henry Huffard, in the middle, with African mission coordinator Tim West on the right. These are good men who love the Lord and have served God for many years. Our goal is to empower Namibian brethren to take control of the school and take control in Namibia when it comes to missions. We are now in the process of working out the finer details of a working document that will work for all parties involved. Please pray for this effort.


Above shows the building and sign and to the right you can see Henry, Tim, Anton, Tebogo, Malindi and Dimpo. It was wonderful having some of the black South African elders in the meeting with me these men are my inner circle who have helped me over the years work well with Africans. Remember, I am African, but I am a white African, and you can say what you want to, we are different and need black Africans to help us think African. The culture is different and they so appreciate it when you consult them and don't do your own thing. You can also see Anton and his wife and on the right the two chariot men who will be trained up. WOW...Things are looking so good for Namibia. Thank you Lord.

ONDANGWA - NAMIBIA

We then headed another 2 and half hours North, to Ondangwa, where we planted a congregation last year. It’s been tough, ha ha, not again! But God is great and we will not give up! 

We have a young man by the name of Bernard who is helping preach and work with the church. Let me tell you and show you some of the exciting news about not only Ondangwa, but also about Oshikati just 30km away. Yes and also about Oshikango on the Angolan border...EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS UP NORTH where most of the population live, but first things first and that is putting up the tent. As you can see we all had a go at hitting tent pegs into the ground. Not a good idea. I almost took my ankle out. Ha ha. There is a lot that goes into erecting a Gospel Chariot tent. We are blessed with a wonderful team who do this every week as they travel from country to country.



Above on the left is Mousa being baptised. Mousa is the manager of the Bed and Breakfast we stay at when in Ondangwa. Our US campaigners invited her to our gospel meetings last year and this year she decided to give her life to Jesus. What a classic example of one sows and another waters and God gives the increase. On the right is Lyman baptising another soul. You can also see Lyman making some Mealie Meal that is the African staple food that they eat with most meals with some gravy and meat or chicken. Very nice and filling.


Above shows a lovely family that we are hoping and praying to convert and God is helping us love them. They have promised to have a bible study with me when I'm there again. They are Lamec and Christophine with their children and mother Hellena. The grandmother, Hellena, has been baptised and Hellena's sister is sister Hellenie from the Windhoek Congregation. Now it is this family that's allowing us to put a small shack type church building on their piece of land on the main road in Ondangwa. They love the Lord and are thinking about giving their life to the Lord, as I said they have committed themselves to a bible study the next time we're there. They are also related to the preacher Bernard and as you know it’s tough at times teaching your family members. Please pray for this influential family.


Above shows me at my best, having fun with the kids of the township, but let me tell you about this converted family. Last year during our campaign whilst planting this congregation we went into the neighbourhood and knocked doors and asked for a bible study and invited people to the tent meeting at night. Well, Joel Lewis, from Arkansas who campaigns with us most years, visited with this family. His name is Seun and his wife's name is Marta. They are self supported and let me tell you how. Look at the photos above of the little daycare centre. They have 20 little preschool children coming every day for teaching. They are so precious I could not believe my eyes when I first met them. They also have their own vegetable garden that they eat from and also sell part of. Seun is starting to preach and has grown so much in one year. What a winner. God changes people’s lives. Below shows his garden that works off a drip system. God Bless this family that does not wait for help, but helps themselves.


OSHIKATI - NAMIBIA

Oshikati is just 30km from Ondangwa and has no Church of Christ, but is one of the most vibrant towns in the country. However, there is an elderly Christian man who was taught in the South in a town called Luderitz whist working down there. He has since retired and returned home to the North. Then last year I followed him back home to his village 16km from Oshikati. This trip, when I returned, he had 3 other Christian men and an outbuilding that he had erected for a church building, still needing bricks. We visited with him and encouraged some of the young met to attend the Tsumeb Bible School when it gets going again.


Above shows us visiting with him and his wife with the new converts. One of the men were baptised by us during our Ondangwa campaign last year. He even has a small Church of Christ sign that he carries out to the incomplete church building every Sunday. There are so many villages and so many homesteads that one could plant hundreds of churches on the different homesteads that are spread apart through the different villages.


Above shows some photos of our Gospel Chariot 2 preaching at the village where the old man lives. After our campaign in Ondangwa with the Chariot I instructed them to go work a week with Petrus the 82 year Christian man. Brethren, every year we are moving ahead one step at a time as God helps us penetrate, plant and mature churches in Namibia.

OSHIKANGO - NAMIBIA

Whilst in Ondangwa, on the Saturday, we travelled 60km to the Namibia/Angola border to pray and have a look at the border town called Oshikango. We were blown away and prayed and have planned a campaign there next year and Lord willing be able to plant a congregation there as well, right on the border. This is really exciting because if we can get a congregation going there, we will have Portuguese speaking converts in the church because most of the town speak both languages. Personally, I never thought we would get to Angola as soon as this, but God works in mysterious ways.


Above shows the border town of Oshikango and the Angolan border post with Malindi, Dimpo and me whilst visiting.  We prayed that God help us that we might return and reach out to this unevangelised town. Please pray for this vital border town and the impact it could have on Angolan missions from the South. We even had a soft drink at a lodge while scouting out accommodation for next year. Brethren, Namibia is on the up and we want to thank all of you for helping us reach Africa and especially countries where the gospel has not been preached. I am so encouraged when I see things happening like this.

Please pray for the new Namibian Chariot.