August 8, 2015

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?
A fetish in a field near Kpalimé, Togo
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 town where he was student. I promised to start going to church when I will be in town after primary school. After I finished with primary school, I left the village and went to the town for the secondary school. There people talked about church and invited me to join them but two things prevented me from doing so. First it was difficult for me to leave the fetish to which I was so attached and trusted for protection and success in everything.  Secondly I didn’t want to change my way of life nor abandon my worldly desires, so I was not willing to go to Church. These two raisons prevented me from keeping the promise I made to start going to church once I am in town for secondary school. I was in the village during holidays, when some members from Catholic Church went from house to house to register the names of those who accept to go their church. I gave my name and attend the church two Sundays but   nothing special happened and I dropped.  During the same holyday in August 1995, I went to the town and met a friend of my brother who was a member of Baptist Church. Again the discussion arose about going to church and he insisted that I must make a decision. He mentioned the coming judgment of God and this made me again terribly afraid. It was on that evening that I decided to go to church laying aside all my arguments.

The next day which was a Sunday I attended for the first time the Baptist Bible Church of Amou-Oblo  where it was made clear that Jesus Christ is the only  Savior who died for my sins and rose again on the third day  ( Acts 4. 12; I Cor. 15. 3-4). I believed in Jesus-Christ my Savior and Redeemer and got saved. My life turned upside down from this point in a way that my family and neighbors were astonished. I cut out sharply any connection with the fetish and other traditional ceremonies. I cease taking part to worldly parties. But no sooner did I start attending church than persecutions befall me from everywhere, but Jesus helped me resist and even I started leading others to him. Now, all my life is about Jesus and I try to please him and serve him with all my strength until he comes. This is how Jesus saved from darkness of sin and brought me to light and eternal life.

If you are interested in supporting the education of the local leaders in Togo please give to the Togo Leadership Education Fund (0763093) at

Thank you,

Andrew Paul Ward

August 6, 2015

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.

Gerhart Family with the BI students
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.

Jim Gerhart's graduation address
The month of July was quite busy as we started out by holding a team meeting to decide how to share the new leadership responsibilities. Then I spent the rest of the month by revising and submitting my doctoral dissertation proposal, recovering from a nasty illness (I’ll spare you those details), holding a 2-week teacher conference, and learning how to run the Bible Institute. It has been an exhausting, but very exciting time for us.

BI graduation 2014
The Bible Institute is a fantastic ministry that is sorely needed in Togo. Right now, the greatest obstacle to planting churches in Togo is a lack of trained leaders. We currently have 6 students entering the 2nd year of our 3-year training program, and we are recruiting more students for our campuses in Kpalimé and Kara. Meanwhile, we are adding a new BI training facility on our large piece of property in Lomé. The Bible faculty is composed of several Togolese pastors and a few missionaries.

Please pray for our students and professors, as well as for our needed facilities and French training materials.