In 24 hours you can be just about anywhere in the world (with good connections!). That was one of the realities of life that we experienced firsthand in January. We were invited to Ghana to speak at the Annual Leaders’ Conference of the Bible Church of Africa. The topic was the book of Nehemiah and, as usual, I’m certain the Lord used it more in my life than in the lives of those who heard. As I challenged the leaders of the church to take God’s Word and apply it with faith to their circumstances as Nehemiah did, I was challenged to do the same…you see, I was the man God gave the resources to come around the world in 24 hours to reach and to encourage God’s people to do His work. Just as Nehemiah examined the condition of the wall when he arrived in Jerusalem, I was the man that our Missions Committee had asked to examine the conditions and the opportunities for our church to engage to better support God’s work of reaching the lost in Northern Ghana. Clearly, there is an open door for the gospel there and God has gifted native men and women ready and able to do His work.
We could share funny and interesting stories about the physical conditions we experienced (including answered prayer for no malaria or parasites…thanks for praying!). But we want to share with you about the ministry of the Bible Church of Africa (BCA), the BCA missionaries that we support, and particularly our missionary, Rev. Stephen Aputara. The gospel is being boldly preached in Northern Ghana where there is a window of opportunity in time and space between a very dominant Muslim influence just to the south and just to the north. Stephen is organizing crusades and various other outreaches and many are coming to Christ. Small churches are being started and are flourishing in the midst of joyous poverty. God’s people are being discipled and leaders are being systematically developed. At the Leadership Conference, we participated in the ordination of 23 new pastors.
Yet there is much to be done and many opportunities for our church to engage to help. Linda and I are more excited than we can express about the opportunities there for our church to have an impact across a substantial region of the world, supporting God’s people who are very much on the front lines, as we all see the tide of Islam move down West Africa from Algeria to Mali…and into Burkina Faso and Ghana.
We witnessed firsthand the work of God, including the work He did through the people of our church as we gave to provide the funds for a truck for Stephen’s ministry and for the Christian schools in that region. We want to tell you that the truck never went anywhere without a load of people needing to get places; to or from church; or just to be helpful in building a bridge for the gospel with the lost. One Sunday we counted 31 people in the Nissan Frontier (mid-sized, 4-door pickup). You should be greatly encouraged that your gift is facilitating God’s work around the world. Think about all the empty pickup trucks in Loudoun County, and every time you see another empty one, pray for the people in the totally full one in Ghana that God led YOU to help provide!
More great news…We witnessed the beginning of the expansion of the Burden Bearers Academy that our church funded. This Christian school is thriving in the Mirigu region of Northern Ghana, with many families trying to get their children in the school. Yet we can’t even begin to describe the meager conditions of this school that so many want to attend. Right now, overcrowding has caused three of the age groups to learn outside under a makeshift shelter. As we talked to Stephen in the midst of the construction crew which is building the school expansion, he told us he was only partnered with God…and Blue Ridge Bible Church to make this Christian school a reality. By April that expansion will be complete and many more children will be evangelized and discipled because of God’s work in the hearts of God’s people at Blue Ridge Bible Church.
But there is much more that can be done and really should be done as God has given us this opening and this opportunity to serve. Churches are overcrowded and new churches are being planted as the gospel is embraced across that region. Native missionaries and new pastors can be supported, churches can be completed, leadership training funded, and many other projects can be done as we apply ourselves to be obedient to the Word of God, just as Nehemiah did. Just as Nehemiah was given opportunity, resource and an open door…He has amazingly given all that to Blue Ridge Bible Church. Pray with us as we seek to respond to His leading in this important area of ministry of our church.