Dan and Susan Steere - September 2018
Jones came up to speak with me this week and he was fairly buzzing with excitement. “We are so exited by what you are teaching! We are so glad you are here! The classes, but especially this one (African Church History) have been so helpful, and we have learned so much. I agree with you that we must send missionaries to the places where the gospel is not yet known.”
Sometimes God Grants a Glimpse of His Work
This has been a very encouraging trip for all of us. In particular, this past week in Sunyani was amazing. As I taught the history of Christianity in Africa, numerous times a student’s question would lead toward application of the material. It seemed as if the class had risen to another level - one in which they were not only understanding and applying the material, but also hearing God’s call to build Christ’s Church.
Jones made a point of thanking me for the teaching, as I mentioned above. He than went on to say: “I have, as of several weeks ago at our General Conference, been elected the Mission’s Chairman for my denomination. I plan to use that position to move our denomination in the direction of missions.” [That position makes Jones the #3 man in the Apostles Continuation Church. The ACC General Secretary, Peter (who is the #2 leader in the ACC) is also in that class.] Jones continued: “I want to teach our leaders to have a mission’s mentality. We are gaining control of our denomination and as we heard you speaking of these things, Peter said to me, ‘It is time.’ We want to turn our denomination back toward the gospel and begin to send out missionaries. Returning to the gospel is the only way to change our culture.”
He gets it!
Several of the other students also indicated their deep appreciation for the instruction they received during these past two weeks. They were stunned at the applicability of Ecclesiastes as John Southworth took them through the OT Wisdom Literature. Dan Gilchrist’s class on Galatians illuminated for them the vast difference between the true gospel of God’s grace and the “gospel” of good works typically taught in Ghana. And as Ray Warwick expounded that amazing doxology at the end of Ephesians 3 (“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...”) the whole class raised their hands glorifying God through Jesus Christ.
You can imagine how encouraging such comments are to us! God graciously pulled back the curtain and allowed us to catch a glimpse of what He is doing through ELI in Ghana. What a privilege to be used by God in this way!
If that were not enough encouragement, this week I spoke at length with Joseph, the MINTS coordinator for the Sunyani school, about beginning a new round of MINTS classes early next year. Joseph is not only willing, but excited about the idea. There are many other pastors and leaders around Sunyani who have expressed interest in the MINTS program - in part due to hearing Joseph’s expository preaching on the radio. Joseph and his fellow MA student will do most of the teaching for these new students and ELI will help as needed. Soon, we will have Ghanaians teaching their fellow-countrymen how to study, understand, and preach God’s Word. This is a big step toward our long-term goal of establishing indigenous, self-sustaining, seminary programs in Ghana. Praise God!
So, we finished up our teaching on Thursday and early yesterday morning Sam drove Ray and me to Kumasi where we met John and Dan. The five of us then shoehorned ourselves and our bags into Sam’s vehicle for a six hour trip to Accra.
After a late lunch/early dinner, Sam and I met with Yao Oppong, the regional director fo the Ghana Baptist Convention, to plan conferences for the upcoming ministry trip in January/February. The last week in January I will teach Marriage Conferences in Koforidua and Ho (towns in the Eastern Region) and then we will do another round of MINTS courses in Kumasi and Sunyani the first two weeks of February.
The opportunities for ministry continue to expand, and we are excited about what God is doing. Thank you for partnering with us in this work! I’m especially thankful for your prayers these past two weeks. Don’t quit yet! We will all be flying home this weekend and several of us will be flying near the remnants of Hurricane Florence. Ask God to give us safety as we travel and to bring us home in His time. Also, begin to pray for the planning, staffing, and support we will need for ministry in 2019.
For Christ’s Kingdom,
ELI West Africa