Hardworking students from Kenya, Lesotho and Togo have celebrated their graduations in recent weeks. Together with their family and friends, 134 students rejoiced across the length of Africa as they successfully completed the three-year Harvesters Bible School!
Pastor Lerato from Lesotho is so grateful to be equipped for ministry. “According to the call of God upon my life, I felt that this is the right tools for my ministry. The training pushes us into doing the call of God, which is making disciples. So, I believe that, as the church, we are going to be stronger as we do discipleship rather than [making] converts.
The Harvesters programme provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers both practical skills and theological topics. Harvesters equips local believers who are passionate about the Great Commission to reach their neighbours.
Bittersweet Celebrations in Lesotho
The first ever group that began Harvesters training in Lesotho graduated in February! It was a moment of huge celebration with pastors, adorned with gowns and caps, grinning from ear to ear as they posed for photos. Together they have planted 134 churches through evangelism.
However, each of them remembered their mentor, trainer and friend, Francois Snyman, who had started this journey with them but was not there that day. Francois, Harvesters’ Country Leader for Lesotho, was tragically murdered in his home during a robbery late last year. Francois’ late wife, Mariette, was present to celebrate with the graduates.
Pastor Bob from Maseru, who has planted one church so far, spoke of the lasting impact Francois has had on him. “I can continue because he planted the seed of the Word of God for us to be resilient even in the difficult times. I believe that I will be able to continue with the work that he left in my hands.”
Pastor Lerato in Semonkong, expressed the same sentiment. “We are definitely continuing with the work because there is a baton that has to be passed on. Even though it was not a good thing to lose Pastor Francois, we are definitely going to continue with the work we have received from him as the servant of God. So, like Moses when he passed away and Joshua had to take the Israelites into the Promised Land, we believe that we are going to continue the work even in that hard situation. We are going to progress, and we are going to be strong.”
“This is the fruit of the work of Francois Snyman who passed away last year,” recognises Beyers Brink, Regional Director for Southern Africa. “He will surely receive an eternal reward for his work!”
Togo Graduates Receive Bibles for their Churches
In the small West African nation of Togo, 22 pastors completed their last Phase in the programme – Phase F, Introduction to Systematic Theology – in January. Furthermore, thanks to your gifts, they were given 75 French Bibles for their leaders!
They are now putting together strategies to reach communities further afield and they aim to plant 30 churches from March.
Pastor Charle Woglo joyously said, “I knew I was called to go! This helped me to understand why I must go. I now have a better understanding about how to be successful on a mission field. I am ready to go for Jesus!”
Students Overcame Difficulties in Kenya
Three Kenyan training groups joined to graduate together in December last year. The students testified how their personal lives, marriages, families, and the ability to lead their congregations were transformed because of the training.
One of these groups in particular had a difficult road to that celebration day. Pastors from Marakwet County encountered bandits armed with guns crossing the border to steal their cattle. “Some Pastors had to close their churches to relocate to some other areas within the county and continued to plant their churches there,” recounts Dylan Burgess, Harvesters’ Country Leader for Kenya. “Some lost their homes as they were torched by the bandits in 2018/2019.”
Furthermore, the Marakwet county is mountainous. “During the rainy season they experience landslides,” explains Dylan, “which posed a great challenge for even the trainers to reach them!”
Covid-19 caused even more problems! “However, that never made them give up on the training,” says Dylan. “Most of them took that time to reflect on what they had been taught and as soon as they could, they gathered to continue with the training.”
Their persistence was worth it as they graduated together late last year. These pastors have certainly shown commitment to the Great Commission!