April 22, 2016

Library books find a home in Africa

I remember once when my mother gave me a book for my birthday. I cried. I thought that a book must have been the worst birthday gift a parent could possibly give to a child. What was she thinking?!

The book she gave me was “The Jolly Postman” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. And I loved it. Today, I love books and I love reading more than almost anything else. I can think of no better gift than a good book. I have hundreds of books on my shelves, and my kids already have mountains of books even though they themselves are just beginning to learn how to read. They ask me to read to them every single day.

 My kids probably own more books today than most Togolese kids will read in their lifetime. Very few books are available to Togolese kids, and most of the good books are closely guarded and locked away because they are so valuable. It is very difficult for the teacher to help their students become proficient readers when there are so few French books available to them. Today we made a big step in changing the situation.

This morning (April 22, 2016) a container filled with thousands of French books arrived for 14 elementary schools and 2 Jr. High schools. This is the first major step in a greater Library & Literacy Project for our Christian schools. The container of books arriving in Adeta, Togo is just Phase I of the plan. In Phase II this July, a team of librarians from Iowa are coming to train a designated librarian/teacher and the school principal from each of the Christians schools so that they will be able to properly care for the library and help the other teachers and students to use it. Then we will host a literacy seminar for all the teachers in the schools in order for them to know how to best use the new library and to better help the kids who struggle with reading.

Phase III involves solving some of the logistical issues of setting up small libraries in 14 different locations around the country of Togo. The Iowa libraries will be leading the organizing and cataloging of each school’s library. We are also buying and constructing bookshelves made to fit each individual school. After the training seminars we will be delivering the books and shelves North and South across the country.

 In Phase IV we will be converting the 20’ shipping container into a shared library for an elementary and Jr. High school. We will also be evaluating the other school library facilities to see how they can be expanded.

Our goal is to help kids to become proficient readers, critical thinkers, and students of the most important book: the Bible.

 I can’t take credit for this because it certainly wasn’t my idea. And many people have contributed their time and money toward this massive project. We are still looking for help to provide literacy training for the teachers and librarians as well as in converting the shipping container into a library and other construction projects.

If you are interested in assisting or contributing to the Library & Literacy Project among the Christian schools in Togo, please contact me at andrewandmary@abwe.cc

January 16, 2016

December 24, 2015

Christmas gifts to orphans at two churches

This is the second year where we've had the opportunity to give Christmas gifts to local orphans. This year we expanded upon what we did last year and included the kids at another church on the other side of town.

Manny and Cyrus came with me to give the gifts along with some members and deacons at the Kpalime church. We were also joined by two orphanage volunteers from Germany.

As we gave the gifts I explained that we are reminded to give to one another at this time of year because we remember greatest gift to us from God, His Son, Jesus.

December 22, 2015

2015 Christmas Catalog!

The Christmas Catalog for the Christian School ministry is now available!  Please check out how YOU can be a blessing to the schools this year!


December 9, 2015

Training Pastors in Lome

Last week I had the pleasure of organizing a pastoral training seminar for Dr. John Balmer of TPI (Training Pastors International). John taught Expository Preaching for the bulk of the seminar and also gave courses on Leadership and Walk Thru the OT.

I had the honor of sharing my Discipleship Guide with the pastors, which is designed as a tool to help them create disciple-makers within their churches. 

99 church leaders were able to attend at least portions of the seminar while 92 of them were able to complete the training.

Please pray that God would use seminars like this one to equip pastors and church planters throughout Togo.

Here are a few of the testimonies from the pastors:

I am a young pastor in northern Togo. I am 28 years old. First of all, I thank God for our lives. Your trip to Togo is a great blessing for me. Secondly, I promise you that I will start putting the appropriate time in studying the word of God. I am committing to not take verses out of their context. I will no longer preach by adding more than what is in the text. Now, I will no longer simply ask the Holy Spirit for my sermons. May the Lord bless you for your explanation of expository preaching. What you did with Ephesians 2:1-10 will help me to approach other texts. Please pray for me that God would open the door to continue my studies for a bachelor’s in theology. Thank you – Pastor from the Kara region

I feel the necessity to train my co-laborers, but I lack the resources like these courses. The full explanations that John provided and the course on discipleship has helped me to have a foundation. I decided to stop hesitating, doubting, and neglecting the work of training other leaders. Pray for me because I have 5 churches that need pastors and other well-trained leaders. – Pastor from the Plateaux region

I thank God for the life of this teacher [Pastor John]. I will continue to pray for his life, that he will come back and edify us if the Lord permits it. Not only for this teacher but also Andrew Paul and the great effort he did for the food and all the other details. I was edified by the teaching of the courses this week. Through this teaching I realized my great errors in my teaching and preaching and also in my study of the Bible. I also took the challenge to change, to do well the ministry to which the Lord has called me. - Pastor from the Plateaux region

I thank God to have participated at the seminar organized by the missionaries John M. Balmer and Andrew Paul Ward this 29 Nov. Р3 Dec. 2015 at ESBTAO, Lom̩, Togo. Unfortunately, during my 20 years in the ministry I did not know the importance and the value of expository preaching, but during this course in the seminar I was challenged by the Lord to be more faithful in setting aside time to study the word of God. If I had known the things in the seminar on leadership, I would have done things differently in my ministry in the past. I am at the beginning of planting a new church, so thank you for the teaching on discipleship. Pray for me to have the wisdom in the ministry. May you be richly blessed in the name of Jesus Christ. See you soon. Amen. РPastor from the Plateaux region