Letters From Paphos
A Missionary's blog focused on church planting and stories of faith from the field.
-- Mike Congrove
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
2007 Wrap Up
I've been wrestling with what exactly to say to all of you to wrap up 2007 for e3 in Sudan. You've probably picked up on my presupposition that we are all so overwhelmed with information, that for me to get you to read anything about Sudan, David Kaya, or e3, I have to be quick to the point. Photos seem to help too. So here's a super fast end of year note. Photos? Hmmm. Hang in there for a sec.
A huge Thank You from me, Ali and David and Gloria. Just this week, I asked the folks in my home church/fellowship/community group? (We have a bit of an identity crisis right now.) To pray for an issue I was having. Guess what? On Saturday morning the issue was resolved. As I was driving on Saturday thinking about how God was answering prayer, it hit me: Our entire ministry in Sudan is carried by your prayers. Ephesians 2:10 talks about the good works God prepared for us to walk in. I seriously think that between those good works God prepared and your prayers and support, David and I have the fun task of walking in obedience.
The scale and scope of what is happening in Sudan is so beyond the two of us, that to credit ourselves is laughable. In fact, we laugh all the time about how crazy all of this. But that’s the fun, cool part of being a Jesus follower. Remember in Luke 10 after the 70 came back from door to door evangelism? They were amazed at what the Lord did through them. I know exactly how they feel.
I laid all this out in my hard copy newsletter. If you didn’t get that in the mail, I’ve made links to them available here:
Photos via PDF
Word doc that explains the PDF
In a nutshell:
We have begun to address the issue of Christian leadership. The bible school in Kajo Keji is literally a dream come true for David, Edward Dima, and Kenneth Dila. David called me this morning and asked me about how to set limits on who can attend because the demand is rising dramatically. We can only house and feed so many right now. When David first told me his long-term dream was to create a seminary, I thought he was dreaming a bit too big. Now I share that dream.
That bible school is sort of like a tree farm. We won’t see too much immediate fruit, but I pray we’re growing oak and mahogany trees. Trees with deep roots, large canopies, and massive amounts of fruit. But those take time to grow because we’re trying to raise up a generation of leaders. How heavy is that? See how we need your prayers!
We raised up regional e3 leaders:
- Kato Duku in the east.
- Samuel Malish in the west.
- We identified and are sending out four indigenous missionaries. All are going to unreached areas to establish new churches.
- The Lord established 14 new churches. He also drew 3,115 new followers of His Son to Himself.
- The Lord removed a curse through the prayer of a campaigner.
- He used local pastors to cast out demons.
- He healed many from addictions.
- He sent our guys into Congo where revival broke out.
- He raised the resources to dig a well that saved a community.
And we’re just getting started. I can’t wait to keep walking in the good works He has prepared for us in 2008. I’m praying for more leaders for the harvest. (Matt. 9:38) I’m also praying for:
- A great medical strategy
- More biblical leadership training centers
- A partner for water wells
- Confirmation of a possible open door with the Southern Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA)
- More leaders!
- A women’s ministry to begin
- Direction on what to do with the primary school at David’s mother church
Great photos from a missionary friend working in Sudan.
Click here to see them all.
Monday, November 19, 2007
For True Sudan Geeks
A post from Wretchard caught my eye.
"Armies of God, by Dominic Green, is an history of the clash between Islam and Christianity, Empire and Ummah that begins and ends in the Sudan. "
You can read the whole thing here.
In other news. Salva Kiir was at the White House last Thursday.
I assured our friend that the United States is committed to helping the Sudanese people; we're committed to making sure that the peace agreement that we helped you negotiate is implemented. We're also committed to helping the people in Darfur.
I want to thank you for spending time with me to strategize about what we can do to save lives in Darfur. Our strategy that we want AU forces to be complemented and blue-helmeted -- in other words, the United Nations should be invited in. We talked about how best to get that done in order to save lives. Obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Watch the video here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Consult and Conference
I promised a read out on the Consultation we hosted here at e3 World HQ a week or so ago. The bottom line is it rocked. We had about 65 folks show up, but more importantly Jesus came and He brought the life of the party, the Holy Spirit.
On the right is John Rowell, auther of To Give or Not to Give
I walked away with four potential new partnerships. Training centers may potentially get built. More kids may receive inoculations, and I had my financial giving paradigm smashed, then kicked, then buried.
I’m praying that Kaya and I will now:
· Learn how to set up children’s churches
· Train Southern Sudanese Army chaplains
· Set up vaccine programs
· More effectively train our leaders to plant more churches!
Something big to pray for:
Right now, David Kaya is leading a Pastor’s conference in Kajo Keji. We have 66 pastors who have come. It’s a time of refreshment, a time to seek the Lord, to learn, and to be challenged for greater work in 2008.
David called me this morning and told me that four of these men are called out now as indigenous missionaries to go plant churches in unreached areas.
As the Spirit continues to move amongst them, please take a moment to lift them up.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
In Their Words
Members of my last team gave me permission to publish their most memorable moments. Some didn't actually give me permission. Sorry. They're too good for me to hold onto.
Here we are, the whole team, jumping for joy, or something.
My most memorable moment occurred on the last day of our evangelism. It was after a long week where God had already been humbling me left and right. He also opened my eyes and changed the very perspective I see this world with.
So picture this: Sun beating down on your shoulders, sweat dripping down your back, and I am off to face the day. We start with words of encouragement and prayer with my Sudanese pastor Edward I had been working with for the past few days. That was a special day. We got to go around to three primary schools on a motorbike. So we hop on and I am literally in awe as we drive from one place to the next. The lush mountains scaling in the background underneath God’s beautiful blue sky. So we get to the second school of the day and the children swarm me with giant smiles and warm hearts as I approach. I get a little anxious because there was like 15 kids. I prayed for clear words and the Holy Spirit to be with me and in the hearts of the children as they introduce me. I gave my presentation and said things more from the heart and well I think God was really working. I know they listened at the very least and when I asked who wanted to accept Jesus into their hearts a few slowly raised their hands and then almost all of them did. In that moment it all came together for me. This trip, the point of missions, the power that God can do ANYTHING, even use us imperfect humans. It was a moment I hope to never forget. I think God for his beautiful earth, the amazing emotions and senses he as equipped us with, and that he has invited us to spend eternity with him. Praise God.
On the first day of sharing we visited a school of 500 children. Close to half accepted Christ that day. Two days later, as my translator and I were beginning our 30 minute walk to the village, 10 school children passed us on the road. After they greeted us and continued walking, one of the children turned around and yelled, “Hey, we want Jesus.” My translator told me what they said so we stopped. I shared the Evangecube with them a second time. At the end I asked who wanted to accept Jesus. Every one of them raised their hand. All prayed. Then two people sitting close by asked to hear about Jesus and accepted also. We continued on our walk to the village.
I felt the whole trip was such a clear picture of Christ and His disciples. The command was “Go.” As a group we each encountered a unique part of what that meant. Praying for the sick, preaching and teaching the Word, encouraging other believers and most of all sharing the Gospel! The “highlight” for me was simple. I connected with the women, especially the six who cooked for our church in Litoba. We spent a small amount of time together each day. The last day we were there, we cooked together and fetched water, talked, laughed…we had so much fun. We shared our testimonies and prayed for each other. Mike Congrove was right…women are the same no matter what country they come from.
Ministry was very challenging in Kajo Keji. Tuesday was our first full day of work. We went from hut to hut sharing our testimonies and the gospel. All of us felt a lot of resistance. We did not feel like our message was getting across. As we shared Tuesday evening, we were all feeling a bit discouraged. Wednesday morning as we arrived at our church site, we heard a very encouraging story. Tuesday evening after we had left, the pastor and some of the church members were walking home after the evening service. Along the way, a spirit possessed man came from the tall grass along the path and raised his hand to strike the pastor, Kenneth. Those with Kenneth surrounded the man and prevented the attack. The man kept screaming, "Why did you bring these people here? This is my territory. Go over the boarder to
Though the story left me a bit uneasy, it also left me very encouraged. After experiencing a day in which we felt like we were hitting barrier after barrier, God was still moving. He was moving so much, that Satan's strongholds were beginning to be dispelled.
We never truly know where God is working and moving in the lives of people. We are only called to be faithful in sharing the Gospel. This experience reminded me to not rely on my understanding, but to trust that God moves in our obedience.
Jonathan Owens (center)
It was the typical scene: A woman with several children, her husband had left her. An old woman (the tallest, thinnest, most elderly lady I’ve ever seen)was with us. She was the grandmother. There were several kids sitting around.
This lady was sick though. The translators said it was malaria. After the EvangeCube presentation she talked about how when her husband had left it was hard and she turned to alcohol. She said that several times she had thought about suicide. Dying would be easier than taking care of her children on her own. She said this with tears streaming down her face. And it was then that she told us she had just accepted Christ into her life. We gave her a New Testament. That encounter impacted me.
I am departing Sudan with many precious memories. I have experienced the full range of emotions while on this trip. There have been tears shed from witnessing the extreme poverty and the inability to help due to my luggage being lost. There was trepidation entering into villages of unknown people groups with unknown expectations. There were feelings of incompetency in sharing the gospel. Mostly there were many memories of laughter and joy especially as many beautiful African faces greeted us with smiles and waves. That is one of my favorite memories I will carry with me from Sudan. The Sudanese people would stop anything to warmly greet the white Americans.
My other memorable moment was during the last cell group meeting. More than 25 men and two women gathered on wooden branches to listen to three white American women teach them about prayer, giving, and discipleship. They listened intently for three hours as we shared what the Bible says on these topics and how to practically apply the info. We witnessed the Holy Spirit dispelling cultural myths and deception taught in some local churches. God’s word was used to break strongholds from false religious teachings formerly taught. Lives were changed as the people sought the Bible to address many issues relevant to their lives and culture. In our weakness God used our willingness to “go” and “share” His good news and I was blessed by seeing God’s strength and power he gave to complete His work throughout the week.
Experience this yourself by clicking here.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Kari embracing the culture.
Last night, Michelle and Kate go for braids.
Our church buildings: Design patented by God.
Kari really loved on these ladies.
Egg, egg, chicken. Duck, duck, goose doesn't work. There are no geese.
A few of the bible school students. The man on the right, Michael, is pastoring the church plant.
The mother church has primary school. I had no idea.
Moi. Saved in April of 2007. Now he's attending our bible school and was out with us evangelizing. Transformed by Christ!
Eddie Duku. He'll run our agriculture program that will feed our students at our school, and probably those primary school kids too.
Two ladies in the U.S. donated wedding dresses. Here's one of the stores of the donaters in Dallas.
In one village, Mike Scharfe, a U.S. campaigner on our trip from Norflolk/Virginia Beach, came across a young boy. He was maybe four or five years old. Each day when Mike would see him, the young boy would run away from him. Mike also noticed that the boys peers and even the adults around him wouldn’t interact with him. They didn’t quite shun him, but they didn’t engage him either.
Guess which one Mike is.
On the third day of working in the villages, Mike came across the boy again. Mike, and the nationals with him, were at a home. Many at the home needed prayer for various sicknesses. That’s when Mike learned part of the boy’s story. He had a mark on his arm. A witch doctor had put the mark there and cursed the boy to die. Hence the failure to engage him. Why engage the dead?
Mike’s translator asked him to pray for all the illnesses. Mike prayed and during his prayer, he lifted the boy with death mark up to our Father.
The mark vanished. I believe the Lord broke the curse. Then as Mike walked to the next home, the boy ran up and grasped Mike’s hand. They walked hand in hand for awhile down the road. Christ’s love manifested.
When the apostle John wrote his Gospel account he said, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” 21:25 I know how he feels. I can’t write all that the Lord did, and you don’t have time to read it, but this is a taste. I’ll write you another taste or two this week. We’ll dribble them out so as not to overwhelm.
· 587 Sudanese put their faith in Christ Jesus.
· 1 new church was established.
· 2 churches were strengthened, including one planted by the e3 team in April of this year. Ah, discipleship.
Thanks for praying. The four who fell behind caught up, Mike Scharfe was one of them. I supposed the story above is one reason the Lord worked things out.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Water Crossings in Sudan
Tis the rainy season. Here is David's email and a few shots he took driving from Kapoeta to Kajo Keji.
Men of God,
Thank you so much for praying with us during the difficult time of our return from Kapoeta. We almost lost the LandCruiser by overhead flood from the Mountains of Imatong. Look at the picture and then give thanks to God for his Protection.
Am very happy for all the works of the Holy Spirit in the ministry, Thank you for your prayers and I want to repeat thank you!!!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Deviate from Sudan
For, who else? Bono
Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.
Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?
Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched . . .