“We made it back to the capital after a rigorous 5 hour trip. It has been a whirlwind this week of training, but God is so faithful.
One of our encounters on the way back was with a Muslim girl; a reminder to me of why we are here. She approached the car, among a lot of others, and was selling some bananas. I locked eyes with her for a while and thought about how she has probably never known of the Savior of the world, Jesus. This is the reality. Many beautiful people will go to hell because they have never had a chance to believe. I am praying for her that God will bring someone who can speak French or her tribal language before it's too late. (See Romans 10).
The thrust of our training in Fada, Burkina Faso is so these brothers and sisters will take the gospel to the unreached. We are thanking God for them and pray that they will entrust what they have learned, and will yet be learning, to faithful men and women who can then in turn do the same. (See 2 Timothy 2:2 - Multiplication).
Pleas pray for our covid tests tomorrow that we need to get to Nigeria on Tuesday.” (Jonathan).
Remember that Paul’s pre-conversion life was a long, long trial to Jesus. “Why are you persecuting Me?” Jesus asked him on the Damascus road (Acts 9:4). ‘Your life of unbelief and rebellion is a persecution of Me!’ And yet Paul tells us in Galatians 1:15 that he had been set apart by God for his apostleship “before I was born.” That’s amazing.
Could the Lord have stopped Paul long before the Damascus road to end his persecution of Jesus and the Church? Of course! Why would He wait? It is my personal opinion that God wanted Saul, who became Paul, to witness the powerful testimony and stoning of Stephen (Acts 7). Stephen’s handling of Scripture (the Old Testament) and his prophetic accuracy about the unbelieving Jews, would have made Saul reflect after his “Damascus road” experience on what God was doing in a man like Stephen.
Most of us have not had such a dramatic conversion like Saul’s, but we don’t need to. But each us have experienced the same moral transformation that Saul received; “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me’” (Acts 26:18).
More on this transformation tomorrow.
Behind the scenes, Randy has been developing a relationship with a dear Brother in Burkina Faso. After work through GPHD and GPHC via Zoom, the fire was lit and training planned. Jonathan is with Randy and this is his initial report.
“As we wind down tonight in Fada I wanted to share with you our day in ministry with the brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso. The joy of serving them and being with them as He works among us is simply awesome. We worked through an intro of GPHD and GPHC this morning and answered some very pointed questions this afternoon addressing self-sustaining and missionary support. Randy answered through guiding them in Acts 18:1-5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. It helped understand the importance of our own hands and being self-sufficient, yet also helped me to understand in Acts 18:5 how Paul was able to focus more on the Word and ministry when support came. But the model was work and be the example.
And just so there isn't any misunderstanding, they were not asking us for support, but they were more asking about other indigenous brothers and sisters who were not following Paul. Were they in it for the money as opposed to making the gospel central to their work?
Please keep these brothers and sisters in prayer for strength and focus as they have quite a bit of work tonight to finish before tomorrow morning. May the Holy Spirit give them understanding, conviction in the Word, and power to apply what they learn. Thank you for every prayer.
“What if all the doors of churches were closed and all the mission organizations shut down? What would happen and what would it look like?”
Before you criticize the question, know that there are places n the world right now where Christians cannot own or even meet in a building and they have no formal organization. Yet, the growth of Christians and the Church is higher than anywhere in the world,
We have become so dependent on buildings and organizations that the powerful work of the gospel and the Holy Spirit is missed. He does not need either to do His work, but He may be hindered by them. We are seeing a movement of God in a few places, and this makes us rejoice in His unstoppable plan.
P.S: For some who need more understanding about my perspective, I am not saying that either are wrong, but they may be a hindrance more than a help.
“”Formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. . . . I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:13–14, 16).
Paul’s conversion was for your sake. Did you hear that? Here it is again: “I received mercy for this reason, that Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” That’s us — you and me.” (John Piper - Solid Joy, April 26, 2021).
I hope you will hear this very personally. God had you in view when he chose Paul and saved him by sovereign grace. It was mainly through Paul that the gospel moved westward to Rome and beyond. How grateful we should be that God’s grace included Paul - and you and me!
We can’t imagine anyone more devoted to the gospel than Paul. This enemy of the church turned zealot was in a class by himself with no one like him. When he says, “I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:23), he meant every word of that statement. There was NO regret with Paul.
I wonder sometimes when we make commitments in front of others, or to ourselves, how many times we go back over what we have said and wish we had said it differently or with not so much passion. What drives these moments? For Paul, it was the person of Jesus and His gospel. He needed only to reflect on his own life and realize how much God had done for him.
If that moment were for you right now, would you make the same commitment Paul made? Paul knew his reward came from preaching the pure gospel of grace. In preaching the gospel free of charge to others, He did not use His right for a reward from people. For Him, there was no other option. He actually placed a curse on himself if he did not preach the gospel in this way.
The question for us remains, where and how do we line up with this commitment?
As Randy and Jonathan finish in Burkina Faso, they will move on to Nigeria. Both places require our earnest prayer for safety in travel, but of greater importance is the training sessions. As we have discovered in other places, where there is poverty and persecution, the hunger for God’s Word is greater. Pray for power and freedom of the Holy Spirit in teaching and receiving God’s Truth.
May 4 Fly from Burkina Faso to Abuja, Nigeria (6 hours of travel)
May 6-8 Jos – Introduction GPHD & GPHC to 160 pastors, planters & leaders
May 9 Ministry in churches
May 10-12 Bauchi - Introduction GPHD & GPHC to 65 pastors, planters & leaders
May 13 Jonathan flies back to USA
May 13-15 Gombe - Introduction GPHD & GPHC to 160 pastors, planters & leaders
May 17-19 Kaltungo – Graduation GPHC for 60 pastors, planters & leaders
May 20-22 Jalingo - Graduation GPHC for 80 pastors, planters & leaders
May 24-26 Malumfashi - Graduation GPHC for 41 pastors, planters & leaders
May 27-29 Zuru - Graduation GPHC for 50 pastors, planters & leaders
May 30 – June 1 Suleja - Graduation GPHC for 80 pastors, planters & leaders
In early March, 165 missionaries were commissioned to go and bring the gospel to northern Nigeria where Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram kill and persecute Christians. For three days they met and worked through the introduction to God’s Plan for His Disciples, and several remarked how they sensed a renewed desire to follow the way of Paul in multiplying churches.
Wherever the Apostle Paul entered new places in his ever-expanding work, he looked for key leaders who would spread the gospel throughout their own countries and beyond. In his very last letter, he passed on this unstoppable method of kingdom expansion: "what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).
Let us praise God that this plan is at work in Nigeria. Key indigenous, servant-leaders are taking GPHD and GPHC throughout their country, training EMS (Evangelical Missionary Society) leaders, pastors and church planters. This kind of leadership development takes time and individual care, so we can rejoice that in each place they go, there is a network for following up leaders, helping them remain faithful to their study of God's Word and aiding them in applying what they learn in their own settings.
Please pray for the following trainings and those who will be leading . We have committed to equip over 1,600 EMS missionaries throughout Africa. This huge task needs your intercession. Each of these are key leaders engaged in an expanding work that will impact the 10/40 Window in northern Africa. Pray for Joshua and Rev. James, the leader of EMS, as they develop leaders in key cities and centers in Northwest, Mideast & Southeast Nigeria:
March 18-20 - Around 54 leaders graduating GPHC in Lafia (Mid-East)
March 18-20 Around 30 leaders will begin GPHD & GPHC in Benin city (Central)
March 22-23 - Around 82 leaders graduating GPHC in Keffi (Mid-East)
March 25-26 - Around 53 leaders graduating GPHC in Kwoi (Southeast)
(From Jonathan) This trip is particularly special for me because I get to travel with one of my fathers in the faith, Randy. There is a special bond between brothers that God gives as we travel together and venture into places that can only be described by experience. Randy is one of those brothers who is always willing to spur you on and provide encouragement, a real Barnabas.
This opportunity is a true Romans 15:20 chance, where we can influence those who have no foundation of Jesus Christ. Please pray for the people who are perishing in these areas without ever hearing the name of Jesus. Pray that God will be patient and send out laborers into His white harvest field.
April 25-26 Jonathan & Randy fly USA to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso
April 27 Travel from Ouagadougou to Fada (5 hour trip)
April 28- May 1 Introduce GPHD & GPHC with 50 pastors, planters & leaders
May 2 Preaching in churches and meeting with leaders
May 3 Travel from Fada to Ouagadougou
Please read and rejoice with me! An amazing "God at Work" opportunity took place this morning from Bangladesh. First of all, let me explain why Bangladesh is so important. It is a Muslim country which means it is one of the last frontiers to be reached. Previous visits found Muslims receptive to the gospel unlike many fundamental Islamic countries. This is where most of the displaced Rohingyas are located making up one of the largest refugee camps in the world with over 1 million people. In Bangladesh, 299 of the 331 people groups are unreached and 162 million of the 164 million population are among the unreached people groups. Christians make up 0.3% of the population but many of those are Roman Catholics.
The GOOD NEWS is that we already have GPHD translated into Bengali and ready to print. That is one reason why Tim has attempted go there for the past several months. All of this started after the Lord placed the Rohingyas on Jonathan's heart. Since then, God sovereignly led us to a businessman, Joel. One minute the door was open for travel to Bangladesh and the next minute it closed. With the current lock down, all international flights are canceled. BUT the door has opened for online training and we can be involved from here. He then told him about God’s Plan for Young Disciples, and he was very excited about training orphans and young people, since Muslims train so many young people now. He said, "We need to translate ASAP." Please pray for this.
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