PDF Version: Anderson_Report_19_03_02.pdf
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Psalm 2:8
According to the most recent Joshua Project statistics, there are 109 people groups (“nations” as the Scripture often puts it, or tribes, or ethnic groups as others describe them) who live in Cote d’Ivoire. Of that number, 36 are considered unreached peoples. Most souls in those groups have never once heard the good news of salvation through Jesus because there are not enough believers with enough resources within their group to permeate their culture with the Gospel. In this small country about the size of New Mexico, we live among several unreached groups. You also may be neighbors with members of some of those unreached peoples. We encourage you to use the Joshua Project to learn of and pray for them.
It is our heavenly Father’s desire and plan to give this treasure—the peoples of the earth—to His Son Jesus as an inheritance, according to Psalm 2. We, the children in the Kingdom, have the joy of introducing them to our King who offers salvation, abundant life in the here and now, and future glory in His presence. Below is a summary of a few ways the Lord allows us in ministry partnership with you to touch these unreached peoples, while also training Ivorians to effectively reach them.
The Lord continues to expand the influence of the children’s Discovery Bible Study (DBS) in our neighborhood. Our Ivorian brother K. usually has 30 to 60 children who attend the meetings under an avocado tree every Saturday afternoon.
Following our suggestion, this group of 35 children did their first community service project in February. [This was the trainer’s practice to do Community Health Evangelism (CHE) Seed Projects]. After their Bible lesson, they picked up trash in one area of our neighborhood. When they finished, they were given a lesson on hand-washing and its importance, as they each were shown and practiced how to correctly wash hands. A passing stranger in the neighborhood saw them picking up trash. He was so impressed at their “humanitarian action” that he immediately went and bought a bag of chewing gum for them. Now the children come running to K. when they see another child not following good health practices, or when there are problems at home. “Teacher, she didn’t wash her hands before she ate. Teacher, he peed in a can in the yard. Teacher, my parents are having a big fight,” and so on. They are energized to put into practice what they learn, sharing much at home. Many parents have come to profusely thank K. for his impact in the lives of their children.
When this single group has produced two other functioning children’s groups that can multiply, we expect to share the approach among churches. For now, we tick off a checklist of national educational goals that this means addresses. We can then encourage the national Minister of Education to implement it. The goal is to eventually launch a nation-wide rollout from this example and the one in Abidjan.
Since we hosted the Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) training in December with trainer Jean-Marc Fritsch from France, numerous local leaders of churches have stepped up to train the members of their congregations to lead the adult Discovery Bible Studies (DBS). A few of the groups have grown to the point that they already need to divide into two, or more, since it is recommended that the Bible study groups not exceed 8 or 15 persons (This recommendation varies per the emphases of the studies.) We, as a couple, are half-way through a six-week period demonstrating how to lead the study with a local pastor and 8 people he has chosen to lead DBS groups. We regularly stay in contact with numerous other pastors who have joined the effort, encouraging them and giving advice when needed.
One local person that we have mentored to be a CHE-DMM trainer, M., has a heart for the many in Bondoukou of another faith and is finding open doors with DMM and the MegaVoice players. One illiterate man who lives in the village where the agricultural project relaunches has regularly heard testimony from M. This former adherent to another faith now prays to Jesus. He was ecstatic to receive a solar powered device and has been sharing the Bible stories with friends who listen with him.
Just this week, M. loaned a different MegaVoice player in the Jula language to a lady who runs a successful shop in Bondoukou. Although also a follower of another religion, she has read the Old Testament, though not the New Testament. She was thrilled to hear the New Testament being read in her heart language. M. prayed with her, and he has set up a weekly time to visit her and answer her questions about what she hears. He also encouraged her to invite others with whom to listen.
We were delighted by good news from the Southern Baptist pastor in Abidjan who partners with U.S. distributors of MegaVoice products. He helps Ivorians gain access to solar powered players. Recordings of the New Testament in Lobi will soon be available here!
Along with an Ivorian Community Health Evangelism (CHE) trainer, we completed a 5-day Trainer of Trainers1 (TOT1) in Abidjan with 17 participants February 11-15. Five of the participants were young Ivorian missionaries preparing to leave for three-month internships. This session was primarily offered, though, to assist the ministries of a Christian medical center. It was an effort to undergird the workers who step into ministries that our CHE trainer brother, Medard Gombleu, influenced before the Lord called him Home in September 2018.
Last week, Verlin followed up with a FWB pastor who uses CHE with much success in a rural setting. Believers continue to grow in neighboring villages. They have recently provided a less expensive means to dig ten wells in the region using the funds and help of local people. We now walk alongside the pastor to begin training a committee and respected locals to make home visits. We will both join them Sunday to help with that planning and provide information on sand dams.
As this is published online, Verlin is planning for a national pastors’ retreat in south-central Cote d’Ivoire. He has been asked to share about CHE at precise times on three consecutive days, as this evangelical denomination considers training all their pastors in CHE. In mid-March, Verlin will drive to Ghana to help provide training for a few days at the West African CHE Internship site.
Prayers Going up
We know that it will only be through prayer that the strongholds of the enemy will break in this nation. In our town of Bondoukou, it appears the majority of inhabitants are now adherents to a very aggressive and anti-Christian religion. The ground is very hardened to Gospel sowing among them. If you or your church would be willing to pray once a week for our town and the 25-30 churches and their faithful who are working and praying for spiritual breakthroughs, please let us know at [email protected]. We would love to encourage the believers here with news of your prayers!
It is a humbling and beautiful thing that the Lord allows us to see multiplying ministries take hold here thanks to your generous giving! As can be seen in our quarterly financial report, December was a phenomenal month of income. Thank you! That, along with strong one-time giving in January, has taken us out of a critical financial spot. We do not have to return to the U.S. immediately and begin fund-raising.
The need to increase our monthly giving by $2,000 is still essential, though. We are very grateful for four new one-time donors since January, and two faithful donors who have increased their regular giving! That takes the additionally needed monthly amount to around $1,800.00.
- Pray for the numerous DBS launching in Bondoukou. Ask the Lord to help the leaders of the groups to focus on teaching each member how to hear from the Lord personally, obey, and begin more groups meeting around town.
- Pray for the 17 trained in CHE in February and our follow-up. May they quickly find ways to apply the truths to their ministries with a view to community transformation one person at a time.
- Ask the Lord to touch the hearts of believers to start other children’s DBS in several+ neighborhoods of Bondoukou.
- Praise the Lord with us for the extraordinary giving in December and January to our mission account. Continue to ask Him to provide additional monthly donors to keep us on the field without financial crisis or need to cut back further on activities.
Your partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie
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