C.T. Studd, one of the early missionaries to the Congo, wrote, "If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." Much is said about the need, challenges, and hindrances to mission work in Africa, but the greatest necessity is simply more committed servants of God who are dedicated to spreading the Gospel no matter what obstacles come their way. Never have there been so many incredible opportunities available for missionary work worldwide!
The Lord has blessed us with quality missionaries. They are willing to go into unreached areas and some to even pioneer new regions of the African continent.
To know that BIMI has missionaries in over 20 countries in Africa, one might be pleased; but to realize that there are 54 countries and eight territories—giving us 62 places to put missionaries—then one may consider the real need. To God's glory, we have been able to open two new fields, Mozambique and Botswana!
The challenge for our national pastors and missionaries has never been greater as persecution has arisen in numerous places around the continent. With Moslem radicals extending their reign of terror in the moderate Islamic regions and then pushing south into Sub-Saharan Africa, areas once known as peaceful have turned into battle zones. All too often, our national brethren are vulnerable to this onslought. I was blessed to hold a national pastors' conference in Malawi for many of our leaders in the area. Praise the Lord for these faithful men who continue on for the Lord! These are the kind of men who will reach Africa for Christ—by going in areas where there are no missionaries! May the Lord help us to train more men such as these to reach the African continent for Him.
Regions of Africa
Ancient mosques have been in existence in this region for well over a thousand years, and it is going to take generations to turn this area towards Christ. We are no longer able to publish much that happens in this region, but the laborers who serve in this area are encouraged more than ever in the number of people who are curious about the Bible and the Gospel! We use a multi-pronged approach of Bible translation, radio, and education as well as direct evangelism to spread the good news of the Gospel. God is doing something special in this region, and we anticipate even greater results in the years to come!
BIMI missionaries have labored in this region since the early days of our mission board and the countless national churches that exist today speak for themselves. Bob Mach continues to solidify many of those national churches in the Ivory Coast. He recently had a national pastors' conference with over 65 pastors attending. Seth Acree and his family finished deputation and arrived on the field of Ghana to assist in the team of missionaries living there. They are currently located in the second largest city of Kumasi, and they are continuing with their language study. The Benson family has also completed raising their support and have arrived in their country of Cameroon. The Benbrooks in Togo have an exciting new church plant. Located near a university, they are reaching out to the students, several of whom have accepted Christ and are now active in the church. Also, the Jenkins family is on deputation going to the new field of The Gambia.
The Claypools, located in the islands of São Tomé and Principe, have just completed the incredible task of obtaining BIMI registration in their country! They have also purchased property for their infant church and are progressing well. The new field of the Republic of Congo has been added and we look forward to Caleb Caviness heading to this country soon!
East Africa Uganda, the "Pearl of Africa," is also the pearl of mission work in this region with well over 100 churches planted in this country. The large and diverse team of over 20 missionary families and single ladies are simply amazing as they are constantly searching for new areas that are in need of the Gospel. Their ministry influences are now stretching into Southern Sudan, the Congo, as well as Rwanda. Matt Stensaas has finally finished translating a Bible concordance in the Runyankore language—a project that took over 500 man-hours! Elsewhere in East Africa, the well-established ministries in both Kenya and Tanzania are continuing to grow under both their missionary and national leadership. Continue to be in prayer for the Open Door Project country of Rwanda.
Recently, several new missionaries entered this region. In God's perfect timing, He answered long-standing prayers for laborers for the countries of Mozambique and Botswana. Two survey trips to this region took much time and planning but netted great results as I re-connected with our national ministries in Malawi where we have not had a misssionary for over 15 years. It was then their turn to help me to survey their neighboring country of Mozambique where they had already establisted several churches. Although Mozambique is mostly Portuguese-speaking, the African dialects are similar in Malawi and for the national, ministry across this border was no hindrance at all. We are excited about the Norris family starting deputation to this new country of Mozambique!
The other new field of Botswana will be opened up by Mike and Cindy Haley who are veterans in ministry for many years. We look forward to hearing great things from them in the future.
The Branch family has arrived on the field of South Africa, and there are yet more missionary families still on deputation for this country.
Single Missionary Ladies
With nine single ladies serving on the African continent and two more on deputation, I want to express my gratitude to the efforts of these faithful servants. These ladies work on a team with approved church planters and labor tirelessly, giving 100% of their time and energies to the ministry. Without a single exception, their church planting missionaries have expressed the absolute necessity of the participation of these ladies in ministry and some have even remarked that they would not know how to continue without them! They serve as teachers and nurses laboring for their family—the African people. I salute each one and thank God for their tireless labor of love.
We rejoice in the fact that the Lord has allowed His work to advance in each region on the continent. Although we are met with great challenges in security, sickness, personnel, and local government corruption, we also see some incredible breakthroughs and obvious signs of His watchcare over His servants. We anticipate an even greater future!