At the time of the promotion ceremony that took place recently, the numbers for Lomé, Togo, tell a story for which we do not have words.
94 student pastors
127 new churches planted
A program, interrupted by Ebola, completed.
The Work in Togo is not Done
While I was visiting Togo Timothy took me on a road trip through the rural areas around Lomé. Timothy explained as we were driving,“Down there we have planted a church. Here we still have to plant one.” The vacant places outnumber those where followers of Christ meet. There is so much to do. And the rest of Togo is waiting…
We drove by the biggest and most modern structure for miles. A walled in mosque, boarding school, and orphanage. Parents from all over bring their children for free education. They only see them during certain school holidays. I visualize the young adults (only young men?) released into society from behind these walls a decade from now. A cold shiver goes down my spine. Timothy shares my sentiment, though from another, more basic and human perspective. “The things we Africans do to our children,” says Timothy. And I remember how he lovingly picked up a toddler in the street the day before. Getting the boy to smile at this unknown adult, little arms around the assured neck; photo bombing my photo of the promotion-banner they put up at the church; looking around for the mother to lovingly encourage her for the important work she is doing.
It is a clash of approaches. A culture enforced but lured into with candy opposed to a new life where a reborn spirit sprouts from living Word-seed. In a moment of faltering faith, I am scared the candy might be too sweet to resist. Until the Spirit whispers in my heart, “You know better than to underestimate Me.”
“What next?” Timothy asked when he came to drop me off at the airport. I was caught in my own thoughts before answering him, “I think you have to naturalize this church planting strategy into your church culture. It should no longer be the one that we bring from South Africa, but the one you teach us about next time we visit.”
And so, I willingly climb in the belly of the travel-world where there is no personal space, little meaningful conversation, long overlay enforced me-time on airports.
As I boarded I prayed, “Lord, You changed me again these past few days. You reminded me of how You first called me to the ministry. And I understand deeper than ever before. The harvest is plenty, the workers few…”
Your Generosity made a Difference
Thank you to each and every one of our partners who faithfully support us. You made it possible for us to give each student pastor and each Hub-leader a Bible to bless someone with.