Showing posts from 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.

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!

 Christian School Christmas Catalog- 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…

I don’t normally freak out, but this time was different…

So I was down at our Bible Institute cleaning out a closet. I found some boxes of old curriculum, which contained some tell-tail signs of mice. I could see that some pages were scratched and shredded with a few droppings nearby. However, I could not see the bottom of the box, so I didn’t know if there we any mice ready to pop out at me. Admittedly, my nerves were a little keyed up and I had a little bit of adrenaline pumping. I kicked the boxes out of the closet and into the classroom – after that I was pretty satisfied that nothing would jump out at me. I was wrong. So very wrong.
Next thing on my to-do list was to shuffle some books around. I needed to move some books from the closet to the bookshelves in the classroom next door. But the books were very tall, so I took just one of them across the hall to see if it would fit on those bookshelves. The tall books only fit on top shelf of the bookcase, but that would be sufficient. So, without a care in the world, I casually made by wa…

Chosen to serve an idol? A life changed to serve the one and only God

I recently spoke with a Togolese pastor who teaches at our Bible Institute and has been accepted to an online M.Div program in the States. He shared his testimony with us and I’d like to pass it along:

How did Jesus save me? I grew up in a non-Christian family. There was a fetish in our house and it was our god. Among many other children, when I was about 10 years old, the fetish chose me one night during a ceremony to become its servant. I agreed happily and was consecrated. Since then, my role was special; I became the number two after my father and was expected to replace my father in leading the worship for the fetish in the future. It is in that darkness that some people started talking about Christians’ God, but I trivialized it. As some people were saying that God will burn unbelievers in the fire, I was afraid and started making my mind. One person who influenced me much was my senior brother who was not yet a believer but was repeating to me what he heard from Christians in…

Togo Bible Institute

We’ve written some prayer letters since the last time we posted on here, but I’d like to fill you in on a few details that didn’t make it into the 1-page letters.

In July, we said goodbye to our friends and coworkers, the Gerharts. Jim was both our team leader and the workhorse for a lot of the administrative details that are necessary for a team of missionaries to minister effectively. No one person was in a position to take over all of Jim’s responsibilities, so they were broken up and shared among several of us. As a result, I was put in charge of our Leadership Training Team and Bible Institute for at least the time being.

It was always my intention to become more involved at the Bible Institute over time, but I needed to devote our first year in Togo to the Christian school ministry. Now that our first year is complete, I was planning to spend more time teaching and working at the BI under Jim’s leadership. But as we all know, our plans are often not the Lord’s plans.

The month…

Pastors Conference

We recently held a one day conference for all the pastors whose churches have schools. We praise the Lord that they saw the importance of participating. Each school was represented by the pastor or committee member.  There were also several attendees who would like to start a school at their church.  We had great discussion and meals together and talked about our purpose and mission as Christian schools which is to give the gospel and make disciples. Several of the pastors gave encouraging testimonies of progress in their schools and salvation stories.
One pastor shared that a Muslim student accepted Christ and even though she still has to go to the Mosque, she will only pray to Jesus during her time there. Her mother tore up her bible that her teacher had given but that hasn’t deterred her from growing in Christ and leading devotions in class!
Please pray for the students to have open hearts as they are exposed to the Gospel.  Pray for wisdom for the pastors as they lead their church…

Meeting in Atakpamé

A few days ago I met the mayor of Atakpamé (one of the largest cities in Togo). He may give (or inexpensively sell) a city property to one of our schools. Please pray that it works out. The school we have down the road is already operating at max capacity in the church's Sunday school classrooms and has been looking for a way to expand for several years. And the city property already has large classrooms built! It would be a great new location.

I had a small speech prepared to give the mayor about our ministry and history of ABWE in Togo, but before I could start, he said that he used to live in Tsiko near our hospital so he was already familiar with our ministry. He wants us to start using the empty property before school starts in August! I think God has prepared this situation for us in advance.
Typically, things don’t move this quickly in Togo, but the pieces are coming together. I often feel overwhelmed by the land and building needs of our schools. We have over 3,000 students…

School Catalog - May 2015

You may recall (back in the deep recesses of last year’s memory) that we sent out a Christmas Catalog showing many different ways to support the Christian School ministry in Togo.  We praise the Lord that through the catalog the schools received over $3,000 to help meet the needs that we showed to you. We used those funds to purchase Bibles for the teachers, print curriculum, and train 2 teachers. 

A while back we visited the Kara school and I sat in to observe one of our teachers (John). The first thing he does every morning is to passionately teach a Bible lesson to the kids in his class. His kids listen intently as he is very animated and expressive in the way he teaches. Later that day he told me that his kids would like to “show” us the Bible lessons that they have learned. So the kids put on skits of multiple Bible stories for us. My favorite was Lazarus and the Rich Man, because the kid who played the rich man was very dramatic. For many of the kids who attend the Christian sch…

Resurrection day in Kpalimé, Togo

We had a busy week preparing for Resurrection day here in Kpalimé. The week before, we bought a sheep to use for 2 Christian Passover dinners we were having at our home. On Wednesday Mr. Wakou slaughtered it for us while I was at a meeting in Lomé. As soon as I got back from Lomé that afternoon, I realized I was sick, starting with a massive head ache and nausea. Thursday, we had planned to host a large Christian Passover celebration with 3 Togolese families, but I was far too sick to handle it. So Mary hosted a smaller dinner with Afi and her children.
By Saturday, I was well enough to lead a meal where we invited our Togolese partner Roger, his family, many missionaries, and MKs. The kids told parts of the exodus story of how God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. Then I talked about the lamb, unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs showing their relation to Christ; all the while asking the kids questions. Finally, I read I Cor. 5:7-8 and talked about how we ought to live and r…

There is a saying in Kabiye...

There is a saying in Kabiye that roughly translated means, “if you have an abscess in an embarrassing place and are too ashamed to show the nurse then you will not be healed, you will die.”
Our Christian school teachers in Kara hold a special place in our hearts because they are 7 hours away from where we live while all the other teachers are 3 hours away or less; and some teachers are just 5 minutes down the road from our house. Additionally, the teachers in Kara live far away from the southern hospital and are little closer to the brand new hospital in the north. It is pretty difficult for them to get good medical care when they need it.
They were hesitant to ask for money to go to the hospital, but the school director told me the Kabiye saying and said that 2 of the teachers have medical problems that haven’t been taken care of for many months because of a lack of funds. We were able to give them $100 for transportation and medical bills. When we gave it to them, they were overflowi…

A week in Lomé

Christmas break – remember that? It seems so long ago. Well it was just 6 weeks ago we held a 3-day seminar for new teachers in Lome. We talked a lot about reading, math, helping struggling students, and what it means to be a Christian teacher.

Last week we went back and visited each of the Lome-area schools and observed each of the new teachers who we trained back during Christmas break. Then we invited each of them and their school directors to attend a follow-up conference on Saturday. It was overall encouraging: some of the teachers are taking off like rockets while others are slowly inflating a hot air balloon. Either way, we are seeing progress.

I’ve found I Corinthians 15:58 to be very helpful to me over the last year. It was one of our memory verses during language school, and it was written on every Bible we just gave out to the teachers. “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is no…

Jr. High Christmas Teacher Conference

Right after the Jr. High teachers broke for Christmas we hosted a 1-day training conference for them at our home. I started the day with a devotional in Philippians 1 were Paul talks about how he prays for them, then we all took turns praying for the Jr. High students following Paul’s example.

Next, Roger taught a lesson using Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, which is available here in French thanks to Judy Bowen’s resource ministry. Then I followed-up with a lesson on the goal of discipline in a Christian school, which is a tough subject for us here in Togo. Then Christy Sopcisak tackled some practical teaching situations giving examples of how to introduce new material and how to respond when a student gives a wrong answer in class.

But Mary takes the cake, literally, because she made sure everything was ready for a meeting of 11 in our home including tables, chairs, snacks, drinks, lunch, and a fantastic cake for dessert.
A great time was had by all and we were able to provide …