Over the past few weeks another opportunity has arisen in Africa. WOMF has an annual pastor’s conference where pastors come from seven African nations to meet just outside of Kampala at WOMF/UCOM’s main center. Over 2,000 pastors attend this conference plus several community members. This is a big event that serves as a launch pad for many church plants. . . After talking with Ron and Shirley DeVore we decided to bring two of our Congolese pastors to this conference. In Congo, it costs around $350 for one passport, considering most Congolese live on a $1/day, this makes it nearly impossible for Congolese to ever leave their country.
We found out that we can get a ‘laissez passez’ for our pastors for under $50 which will allow them to at least visit bordering African nations (which includes Uganda.) So, we paid for these pastors to travel to Uganda for the largest pastor’s conference they’ve ever attended in their entire lives…
I cannot tell you how big this is to them. Pastor Paul is almost 40 years old and has never been to Uganda. In fact yesterday, Andrew took both pastors to the very first shopping mall they’d ever seen in their entire lives. They saw the first supermarket in their entire lives. For the first time, they are seeing a nation that has experienced development. . . This is an extremely valuable learning experience, because when a person is brought up in such a hostile environment like the DR Congo, it’s difficult to believe that the world offers anything better then hostility. No matter how much someone knows the character of God, seeing worlds outside of their own is necessary for wisdom and perspective.
Furthermore, Andrew is having these pastors stay in the missionary guesthouse with him. This is where all the western missionaries stay and they’ve had the opportunity to meet these missionaries and interact with westerners in ways that they simply don’t get where they come from.
The pastor’s conference has started today. Speakers from all over the world have flown in to speak into this conference to speak into the lives of these pastors including Dean Niforatos, a worldwide known evangelist; many of you may have heard him too.
Our other strategic partnership is with a man we met in a café in Rwanda. Saw Shewmaker is an older white man who was raised in Africa and has ministered in many different countries. He and his wife have been training pastors for over 25 years. We told him about our work in the DRC and he expressed his passion for helping us in any way he and his wife could. Well, praise God because we can’t take all of our pastors and church leaders to attend this conference in Kampala, Uganda. We only took these two pastors because they are our two key contacts. Now we have provided the opportunity for the others in Congo to go to Gisenyi (this is the border town between Rwanda and Congo) where Sam Shewmaker and his team are doing pastoral trainings for them…
I praise God that he is opening all the right doors to provide good theological training for the pastors we are working with. We know that what we have gotten ourselves into (with taking on a frontier work in the DRC) was something much bigger then what we are capable of. But we simply said, “God you need to bring us the people that are going to help us. God, we will break our bones doing your work, but you need to do more, you need to get old wise people working with us…”
I find these prayers so funny, because God is truly answering our prayers. We were praying for the wisdom of the aged… And God is surrounding us with many, many older missionaries who are standing with us and offering us so much wisdom and most of all… Love.
Andrew is speaking at this pastor’s conference alongside ministers who have been ministering for 20+ years who are so filled with the knowledge of God’s word. He is speaking next to seasoned pastors, world known evangelists and age old missionaries. This is an incredibly humbling experience for him and glory only to Jesus for opening these doors. Now, we need to pray for him, “For the Lord to anoint his tongue and for wisdom beyond his years…”
Let’s all pray! AMEN!