Dear Parner for the Glory of Jesus in Sharing the Good News around the World,
Blessings in the wonderful name of Jesus! My heart is filled with joy and excitement as I reflect on the recent Mission Encounter to Africa. The USA team served in partnership with our trusted and precious African brothers/sisters and it was a joyous and beautiful sight to see the unity amidst diversity; the beautiful blend of passions & spiritual gifting; hear the testimonies of God’s grace overcoming prejudice & shame, breaking strongholds and the curses imposed by ancestral worship; behold the power of Jesus to deliver two from Buddhism as well as receive the healing grace of Jesus to deal with persecution & family abandonment because of faith in Christ; watch fear depart being replaced by boldness in bearing witness about Jesus; cultural & racial differences become so miniscule as to disappear; members blended into such oneness that the only visible part that matters is the Head…the Lord Jesus! And…this is the work of GRACE that God did among the mission team!! The joy of partnership in the gospel, like the oil running down the beard of Aaron in Psalm 133, reflecting unity in the Body of Christ working for the honor and glory of our great and awesome God.
Here is a summary of the three-week mission to Africa: 4 countries…Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa; 11 USA team members & 33 African team members uniting in partnership… Encouraged, Equipped, Enlarged the vision of 100+ African pastors/leaders; demonstrated the love & compassion of Jesus through 2 medical clinics serving 337 people who had NO previous access to simple health care, not even a Tylenol!; Witnessed 9 baptisms in a new church plant we have supported for 3 years in an area of over 100 villages with no gospel witness “BUT GOD” opened the door for us to meet (and share the gospel) with the area chief who extended the invitation for a medical clinic in new, unreached areas and his blessings to start a church in an area where there is no evangelical presence! Hallelujah!! PRAY! We can plant a new church, but it takes leaders to make the work grow and GO (Matthew 28:18-20). Pray for leaders to arise who will catch the vision and pioneer a new church start!! We shared the gospel in the medical clinics, pulpits, one-on-one witnessing in the marketplace and during travel; the puppets sang about the JoJ (Joy of Jesus) to dirty, precious, smiling faces of those whom Jesus loves (red, yellow, black, white…brown and YES, dirty too), personal evangelism and testimonies resulting in 190 people embracing the gospel!
We returned to the A4J (www.africa4jesus.com) school of discipleship to impact 50+ young adults whose life journey is filled with pain, abuse, neglect, beyond what any person should experience over an entire lifetime! But, the Good News…NO scars, addictions, bondage or Satan’s power to blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-5) is a match for the indescribable gift of GRACE available through Jesus Christ! There were 10 major mission points: Ngozi Mine (church at the garbage dump), Chadobe mission house, Bulawayo nightly revival services, 2 pastor/ leadership meetings, Botswana at 2 churches, a prison and Christian coffee house; A4J and Brizana Baptist Church on the eastern cape of South Africa (a lot of travel by air, bus, auto & even a helicopter! I slept in 11 beds and was thankful for each one!)
Thank You for your prayers, financial $upport, those who watch after Debby during my long absence (I just read another biography about David Livingstone in which he wrote to his wife back in England, “I miss you so much but prayerfully I hope to see you in two years.” That makes three weeks look meager!) And, Thank You for your PARTNERSHIP…in Grace (Philippians 1:7), in the Gospel (1:5) and in Going (1:12). This was a blessed and fruitful mission and remember, partnership means you share in the joy of the fruitfulness. Your investment in that which is eternal pays dividends NOW but more importantly, it pays for eternity!
As I rest and recover (as Paul & Silas did in Antioch), please join me in prayer as I seek the Lord in developing new material and curriculum for teaching pastors in Haiti (July 22-26); 1 pastors conference in Zambia, and 1 in Zimbabwe, then pastors vision conferences in two NEW countries, Malawi & Mozambique (August 22-September 15); return for a major pastor’s conference in South Africa sponsored by the A4J ministry (November). Pastors will be there from all over the southern tip of Africa. This is a HUGE opportunity!! Also, pray about being a partner in providing financial support. Your gifts enable me to pay for travel so there is NO EXPENSE to the struggling churches in Africa. Also, your gifts support the work of evangelism as well as the conferences so that the meals and essentials can be provided for those leaders in attendance. This is so important and a ministry that the Lord chooses to bless.
I realize that the 2018 schedule is aggressive and ambitious, especially when I have promised to slow down. Logic (and old age!) dictate that I will not be able to keep this pace in the future. Therefore, while I can…I must GO. There is an urgency because I am a debtor….”so, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel…”(Romans 1:14). I cant imagine standing before the Lord with gas in the tank!
Blessings! Debby and I appreciate your partnership as we enjoy the Journey together!
Larry & Debby