Last month we wrote about the vision trip a group took to South Africa and Zimbabwe with OC Africa, Southern Africa … Connecting with God’s Heart Up Close.
This month we want to share with you some of the highlights and surprises trip members experienced as well as how God used the adventure in their lives.
What was the highlight of your time in Africa?
- Hearing about Dinah Ratsimbajaona’s fruitful ministry in Madagascar and all the islands beyond. Read more here, Advancing the Gospel through Bible Translation in Madagascar
- Thomas Maphophe’s story of his journey from being the son of witchdoctors, to his salvation at university, to his taking on the task of evangelizing North Africa is truly miraculous. Read more of his story here, Walking Alongside Leaders in South Africa (Video).
- It is exciting to see the interconnectedness of the OC mission workers (globally). Also, I am very impressed by the high caliber of all the OC mission workers I have met.
- Meeting “Mama Florina” who cares for a dozen orphans in her home and feeds 70+ children in the neighborhood daily with the help of supplies from OC.
- The discipleship and community taking place at The Base in Zimbabwe. Hearing the student’s testimonies of the way this community with the teaching, fellowship, and discipleship opportunities has changed their lives blessed and inspired us.
What was a surprise?
- I was surprised by how struck I was regarding the importance of education and need for manufacturing opportunities to combat financial poverty. I know more education and manufacturing does not make a people more virtuous, but I see how they are necessary building blocks to be used by virtuous leaders to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of a people.
- Beautiful, warm, thankful people, in a beautiful land. I knew Africa would be beautiful, but with all the historical oppression of the peoples, there didn’t seem to be a “chip on a shoulder” mentality. Rather, people appeared to be extremely thankful with little rather than much and not angry at me or others like me based on skin color. This appeared to be across the board.
- Being present when OC worker, Sarah gave Proclaimers (digital audio Bibles from Faith Comes By Hearing) to leaders of two different ministries in rural Zimbabwe. Personally, hearing Sarah’s description of how she sees the value of this, and seeing both her and the national worker’s joy, was wonderful – particularly for me, as we have also supported FCBH for years.
What is one thing you learned about One Challenge?
- While I knew about the collaboration of OC and global/regional/local church/parachurch organizations, I did not know that OC was involved in doing research: (1) the new generation of fresh expressions church planting which Paul Siaki shared with us and (2) the leadership training needs research reported in the book by Karl Teichert, David Bulger and Willie Botha. Read more here, A Cry for Intimacy with God.
- I am impressed that OC Africa is making it a priority to research the needs of the mission-and-church workers as well as the cultures they serve.
- I learned that the Disciple Making Movement (DMM) model I saw in Indonesia and the Philippines is not the only model of evangelism and church planting being used by OC globally. The Church Unusual model that Paul Siaki talked about addresses the changing times and the need to “go to them” rather than expecting them to “come to us.”
- A more complete picture of what OC’s training and partnership with others looks like on the ground – and more ways that this strengthens ministry leaders so that disciples of Christ are raised up and equipped. Specifically, I appreciated seeing the mix of both prayerful, strategic thinking over what’s most needed coupled with launching out to simply support local leaders and trusting God to guide.
- The huge return on investment assured when a few resources are targeted to support the godly indigenous leaders already serving within a culture. It’s many times more impactful than trying to create a new mission project in an impoverished area and it empowers leaders who are mentoring others to multiply their results. We were mightily impressed by the humble service of the uber-capable OC team leaders and the sacrificial service of the indigenous leaders the OC team supports.
- That your core values of serving, equipping, coming alongside, and encouraging others for the goal of completing the Great Commission are not just stated values, but are active and put into practice every day. We heard so many express their appreciation for the encouragement and equipping that OC has done in the past and they are looking forward to more of it in the future. We also saw the teamwork and partnership we experienced in Indonesia and the Philippines being practiced in Africa. Again, it is a beautiful thing!
What did God do in your life through the vision trip?
- My eyes were opened as to the amazing thankfulness and joy that I saw in people that have come through amazing adversity historically and currently. It really has given me an opportunity to be thankful for how I was born into the family where I was and the opportunity and privilege that I’ve been given.
- The Holy Spirit is impressing on my heart that I need to pray more for Africa.
- I feel I have come back to my work at home with renewed passion and more relevant experiential understanding of the importance of manufacturing jobs (and having the ability to make one’s own and export products) to the health of a people. I have more passion for the community service I’ve been doing helping job seekers obtain the skills they need to meet the needs of job creators and connecting both groups.
- I came home convinced that God wants us to minister as part of a team. We’re actively praying and seeking that out.
- We are praying about getting involved with international student’s ministries at college campuses nearby.
- We’re going out into our neighborhood and have begun prayer walking, asking God to lead us in prayer and to tear down the strongholds that are holding people captive.
- God moved the vision for DMM’s that began in 2016 (through personal study and the OC vision trip to Indonesia and the Philippines) from my head to my heart. On this 2018 trip something “clicked.” Pieces fell into place, moving what felt like a roadblock within, giving me confidence that God has prepared and is leading us into the relationships and steps forward for greater disciple making here in Denver (which God-willing becomes a DMM).
God Paving the Way in Africa
It is remarkable how God uses international Christian community to accomplish his plans both abroad and here, inwardly and outwardly. This trip was a piece of that.
One participant summed it up like this:
“I was humbled to be in the presence of many great people who are dedicating their lives to God’s work in evangelizing Africa and helping locals (OC team and local African leaders). In addition, your team facilitated introductions to people who have traveled and lived in first world situations outside of Africa and have returned out of love for the African people. In hearing their stories, a common theme was obedience to God taking people out of their comfort zones and watching God pave the way through seemingly unbelievable circumstances.”