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A Word from Florence

 

THE WORD BECAME FLESH

The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. (Immanuel) God with us (St. John 1:14)

For God so love the world, that He made His dwelling among men. In Christ, Jesus was the totality of God (Col. 2:9.)

For the God of all creation so loved the world that He left His rainbow throne, His glorious kingdom, and the magnificent worship by His multitude angels, to stay with men on earth.

He brought peace on earth, and the government was on His shoulders! In Him was the light of life. Born of the virgin Mary, born in a manger, the Son of God, the Good Shepherd, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (St John 10:11, 14:6.)

Born to save us from our sin, for God was in Him reconciling the world to Himself. His name, Jesus, is the only name given to us for salvation. The name above all names.

His kingdom has no end. To Him alone be glory, honor, power, adoration forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus the son of God, we celebrate you. We believe in you as they son of God born of the virgin Mary to save us.

We celebrate GOD’S GREAT LOVE FOR US AT THIS SEASON. SHALOM.

Florence

DaraA Word from Florence
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Praise and Prayer November 12!

 

Nigeria:

Praise

  • Ron and Rick are having a great time in Gindiri! Good interaction with students.
  • We have 17 new MBBs who resulted from the Bali outreach!

Prayer

  • Pray for Maiduguri, several villages attacked after the government killed Boko Haram members. 
  • Comfort is running a training and planning on going out to evangelize and follow-up! Pray for protection for them and for the people they will minister to
  • Pray for vehicle for Nigeria office. 
  • 17 MBBs who are in discipleship classes from Bali outreach, 3 will need to move to safe locations as their lives are being threatened. Pray for wisdom and resources to support them!
  • We want to add more staff to the Nigeria team, especially someone to work with MBBs!
  • This is a week of general council for COCIN; a meeting with top administration and faculty members in Jos, trying to sit and pray and think and study and talk together about the direction of the seminary. Pray for wisdom for them!

USA:

Praise

  • Praise for a wonderful fundraiser! We had over 50 people volunteer to help out, and people were generous with their giving and prayers! We are excited for the ministry that God 

Prayer

  • Praying for volunteer coordinator for local office

Cameroon:

Praise

  • We praise God for the team of trainees in Mbingo led by brother Joshua. Last week they went out for evangelism and won 21 converts. Today Florence gave them 21 follow-up booklets.
  • God is working through the crisis to bring people to Himself!
  • We praise God for answered prayer by raising up young people that we will train who will take the gospel every Mondays to homes in and around Mbingo!

Prayer

  • Pray for process of arranging conference in northern Cameroon
  • Yisa was to finalize arrangements for training in a church in Bamenda but was unable to meet. Pray that the pastor and Yisa will be able to meet.
  • Pray for our Boyo land, movement is becoming more and more difficult. The road from Mbingo to Bamenda was cut near a bridge last week.
  • Two young people were shot at hilltop on Saturday evening, one is still fighting for his life in the ICU.  Shot by the army. 
  • Pray for God’s guidance concerning the conference and training in Maroua. Pray for God’s provisions for our trip to Maroua. It is this trip that will determine where we hold the conference and training. 

 

Ethiopia: 

Praise

  • Praise for new ministry opportunities, potentially near Sudan 

Prayer

  • Pray for potential ministry outreach to Eritrean refugees!
DaraPraise and Prayer November 12!
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Praise and Prayer October 29th!

 

Nigeria:

Praise

  • Peter’s house could have burned down. His daughter accidentally left something on the stove when they went out for the evening, but a neighbor saw the pot smoking and broke in through the window to put out the fire. Praise God that his family and home are all safe!
  • The 600 evangelists have started evangelizing! They are reaching out to 36 villages.
  • Peter, Sam and Ishaku trained 54 people to follow up with new believers

Prayer

  • Pray for evangelism outreaches! For safety and effectiveness
  • Pray for safety for everyone and Peter, Sam and Ishaku and their families
  • This evening, Sam is going out to see how the work is going, pray for him.
  • In Chibok, Comfort reported that 2 people have been killed prayer for their families.
  • Comfort’s daughter traveling back to Jos next week! Pray for her safety as she travels.
  • There are people coming back from outreach an outreach in Taraba on Saturday that Comfort would like to work with and train from Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) denomination. Pray for this collaboration!
  • Fighting broke out on the Abuja-Kaduna highway today! A Voice of the Martyrs staffer is pinned down in the crossfire. Pray for everyone in Kaduna for protection and healing.

USA:

Praise

  • For the upcoming fundraiser! We look forward to it as an event that will glorify God’s movement and work and build our FFICM team and community!

Prayer

  • Rick is leaving Wednesday morning for Nigeria! Prayer for him as he travels and ministers and for his work packing out of his real estate office before he leaves.
  • For wisdom for Rich, David, and Dara as they continue to plan the November 6 dinner event!

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • For possible open doors to minister in Eritrea!

Prayer

  • We are currently trying to get pastors and evangelists who can minister in severely restricted or unreached areas to come to our training. Pray that this training goes through! It will take a lot of careful planning.
DaraPraise and Prayer October 29th!
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Praise and Prayer Oct 23rd!

Nigeria:

Praise

  • For safe travel for the Nigeria team to Bali
  • There are two trainees in Bali who are interested in coming onto the team as trainers! It would be wonderful to have two trainers in that location.

Prayer

  • In a village in Kaduna yesterday, 55 people were killed, and the chief and his family kidnapped
  • Peter, Sam, Ishaku Pate are training 100 people ahead of the training in Bali. Please pray for safety and peace for their families who are still in Jos! 2 interested in becoming trainers. 
  • Comfort reported that 30 Christian farmers were just killed outside of Maiduguri in a village called Mulai.
  • Rich stuck outside Mangu, was stuck in 2nd gear. Part broke and they had to weld it together, find a welder. Rick has been stuck in front of mosques on Friday afternoon.

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • The political situation has calmed down!

Prayer

  • For open doors to work with Eritreans!
  • Eskinder’s son is placed in Jimma in university, great university, but 10 hours from Eskinder! Pray for his family.

Cameroon:

Praise

  • things calming down a bit there, some people are going back to their homes.

Prayer

  • President Biya confirmed winning the election, amidst
  • Pastor Yisa wants to relocate from his former station, because there aren’t enough people left, everyone has fled. Prayer for wisdom and protection for him and his family.
  • The team there is still working on a possible date for January, getting us into the north. Prayer for wisdom and grace for all of us as we consider this!
  • There were killings in Florence’s village. Freedom fighters killed a general, so the army went to village and shot young people and burned down houses.

USA:

Praise

Rick’s business deal went through, enabling his continued ministry~

Prayer

  • For the fundraiser on November 10th, that we would have the right people there!
  • Rick is leaving for Nigeria Oct. 31st!
DaraPraise and Prayer Oct 23rd!
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Praise and Prayer October 15th!

Nigeria:

Praise

  • That everyone is currently safe!

Prayer

  • There is still killing, Peter’s wife just called to warn him there’s trouble in Jos Jarawa again. On Bauchi road, a group of Muslims has taken over, is stopping cars, taking the Christians out and killing them, and Ishaku Pate has to travel on this road!
  • Ruth’s mother tried to go back to her house, but the military moved them out of the house, they suspect that a local person killed a general and have been arresting people. Pray for the innocent, and that the situation is resolved!
  • Pray for Bali area, as we prepare for the training there! There are pockets of attacks around the villages, pray that all the attendees, and our team would be safe.

USA:

Praise

  • Janice’s 60th birthday went well!

Prayer

  • Rick needs prayer that a real estate deal goes through, because without it he can’t go over 1st of November .
  • Dara’s babysitter is moving to Mexico, pray she can find a trustworthy, loving person to care for her kids as she works!

Cameroon

:

Praise

  • The violence around Mbingo has eased up! Some of the refugees have been able to return to Belo, and the hospital has been able to admit people again—during the worst of the crisis, they were only conducting a few outpatient appointments.
  • Our trainer, Hilda, who lost her father recently, is feeling thankful for the comfort that God has given, and that her father’s funeral went well.

Prayer

  • Pray that Florence’s visa is approved! She would love to go to her sister’s wedding, and we would all love to see her.
  • The pastor that hosted Peter in Anjadua, talked to him on the phone and told him that yesterday they killed about 21 youth—the military just goes to an area and attacks any man between the ages of 15-50.
  • Pray about possible January date for training!

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • For open borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea!
  • the last few weeks security was not good in the country, but it is now.

Prayer

  • Pray for communications issues with the Ethiopia team, that they’d be able to join us in prayer!
  • There is green light to train Ethiopians and Eritreans on Evangelism and follow up in Sudan. So please pray so that God would open doors to train!
DaraPraise and Prayer October 15th!
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September Ministry ~ Peter Wash

 

 

We had a trainers’ training from the 6th – 8th of September. We had people from Cameroon, and Comfort from Maiduguri, Jonah and Jacob from Jalingo, Mwanta from Nassarawa, Sunday and Benjamin from NLFA, and some pastors of COCIN then volunteers working with us. We specifically trained on how to teach people in knowledge, attitude, and practice and how to inspire them to want to follow God. There were 17 people, who all intend to train others when they return, some of them began immediately!

The following week was the International conference where pastors, evangelist and all church  workers are pulled together to a conference where they are encourage and mobilize on how to witness. People from Nigeria, Cameroun, and Niger Republic came. Our ministry is responsible for mobilizing the international guest speakers from abroad; we had 4 foreigners and the rest from within the country. They spoke of the cost of the gospel. They also had small groups where the participants could be taught on a more personal basis and also be trained on how to conduct follow-up with new believers. Our ministry was also involved in this aspect to train and provide the materials to those going to the outreach to enable them have what they will use during the outreach in Bali.  

The ministry went to the United Methodist Church of Nigeria, Jalingo and held a training which we had originally organized for three hundred pastors. We ended up giving materials to over 450 people, though some of them did not stay all through the training. This forced us to split the class into two (English and Hausa) to enable us have a proper communication and relationship in the presentation. This gave us better impact by having a smaller number of people in the class were listening to us.

The bishop came to the opening and declared the training open, and he left us to continue, and there were other leaders who continue to be with us throughout the period of the training. The bishop organized a dinner were he fed us and have time with us and so also the host Church where the training was taking place also prepare a meal for us in one of the nights.

The first two days which we are to go out for field practicals, there was rain on the first day, and on the second day more people went out and share with others. Some could even went and witness to Muslims which gave the joy and confidence in witnessing to others.

On the fifth day which we are to have the two last sessions and the review, there was another Episcopal conference where we had to stop by 9:30am to allow those that came for the meeting to continue. They met base on their conferences and came up with proposal on how they intent to go and implement what they have learn. Two conferences have already propose dates that they will want to continue the train their members and to begin to go out for outreaches.

TESTIMONIES

Isah said, I learned that I was called by God and my duty as a leader is to share whatever God has taught me. he added that he has been having problems on how to witness because he had only one idea of witnessing but this training has giving him another way of witnessing. I wish the days of the training could be more than the five days. He has set out two days in a week to witness and follow up with others.

Rev. Silas  said this training has helped me personally on how to put to death my sinful life and to live by faith. It has helped me on how to train others, build new believers in their faith. He intend to train members of his congregation on how to continue to build new believers. He also wish if we will organized this kind of training it should be in the dry season not the rainy season.

Daphee  said I learn that as a believer, challenges are there in my way to help me build up my faith in God and also strengthen me because the more I overcome them the more strength I got. The training has given me guidelines on how to teach my disciples the truth about their stand in the faith. He also learned how to teach the new believers on how to live for God. He then plans to be teaching his disciples more of this strategy on how to use the Gospel cards, to reach out to the Muslims.

Elizabeth  said that she has learned in her personal life how she can preach the word of God, this training has help her to approach people with the word of God.

Felix  also said he had learned how to reach the unbelievers with the gospel and how to be humble and sincere in loving others as Christ did. The training has awaking him on how to stand by the word of God. He also learns how to burst in the lord not with what he has or who he is. He plans to reach others with the gospel and continue to follow up the new believers and train them on how to reach out to others.

Ayuba learned that God love every one and cares for everyone  he is also merciful to everyone who believes in him, to him the training has encourage him to be faithful in his ministry as a pastor and obey what the word of God said to him , how he care for the church. He wish we could have been going out on the field practical’s where every one of them will be given the opportunity to witness. He intends to go and implement what he has learned.

John learned as a believer, he has passed from death to life and that has given him Joy to know that he has  great assurance that God who began this work of salvation will carry it to completion on the day of our lord Jesus Christ. This training has helped him to imitate Christ, and to be sincere and humble in living the Christian life, and not to grieve the Holy Spirit. He then advice us to have film show and play lets to draw the attention of people to what you intend to teach for the whole week. He has pan to train 250 youths in 1st – 3rd April 2019.

Godfree on his part said that he has learn how to approach the unbelievers and to talk to him or her about life, he also learn that God has chosen the unimportant people to use them as his instruments. He plans to start applying this training to his family members to some groups and he want to reach out to other people of different faith with the gospel. He wish we should keep organizing this program to strengthen their faith and then help them keep on with the work of evangelism.

Amos  learned the need to follow the new believer on how to care for the new believers not just to make decisions but to build them up to be matured in the faith. He as a leader needs to practice what he teaches, to share his experiences with others.

Gaius said, I receive a new knowledge and breakthrough on how to confront an unbeliever with the gospel and how to guide him to become matured in the faith. The training has helped me in a manner that I need to teach the members of my organization to be telling others the great news of Jesus Christ.

Danladi learned that following God is a great task that requires us to throw our bad past to be committed in following him. This training has helped me in my lifestyle as a Christian on how to deal with my old life by putting it to death.

Iliyasu   learn how to make disciples, how to preach to unbelievers to be build in the faith and follow Jesus. He then plans to go out to the unbelievers with the gospel.

Rev. Aminu said that he learned how to approach new converts; he had experience how to reach out with the gospel to the unbelievers. The training has improve his knowledge on how to love one another, he wish we had time to reach out with the gospel to different areas such as hospital, or prisons. He plans to organize this training within his local church.

Lydia learned how to show love and be compassionate to others and how to build new believers to grow in their faith. She plans to teach her children and neighbor.

Another said I learned a lot from the life of Jesus as he was humble, merciful, loving even to the 

Another one said that he has learn that the salvation that Jesus gave him to set him free from all bondage, he also learn how to preach to the unbelievers that Jesus is the only savior.

Most of them need more materials!

ECWA TARABA DCC

The next week we went for the training with The ECWA Taraba DCC where they have plan on having 130 people who had earlier signed for the training but because there were crisis in some of the villages which some of them could not leave their villages to come out so we ended up with about hundred participants.

We started on the first day with over eighty people which the DCC leaders were always present, the chairman, secretary, vice chairman and the assistant secretary. The local overseers, pastors and leaders from different groups were present.

Some of them who were able to go out for witnessing were so happy the way the training has help them to reach more than how they have been doing before because the pictures are simple to explain, the verses are there to guide one and the card also keep changing catch the attention of the person one is sharing with.

During the strategic planning, we ask them to sit based on their district to enable them come up with an action plan. Some have targeted places that they will be going out for outreaches in November, to April. So they will be organizing trainings, and outreaches to those places. They also request that they will need materials to start they training right away and if possible when they will be having a training, they will need one of our staff to be around to ensure quality control and to bring materials. They solicit that the ministry will pay his transport and for the materials they will need.

 

DaraSeptember Ministry ~ Peter Wash
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Prayer and Praise October 9th!

 

Nigeria:

Praise

  • baby Josiah (Sam and Jessica’s son) is doing better!
  • The MBB conference went very well and everyone got there safe!
  • The training in Abuja was a success, and the ECWA church was so grateful for it they donated 200,000 Niara to the ministry as a thank-you!
  • killings have abated somewhat in Maiduguri

Prayer

  • Killings continue around Jos. Ruth’s father’s village (Doi) is under a kind of siege. Pray for peace.
  • Pray for the upcoming training in Bali mid-October ahead of the NLFA outreach!
  • Pray for the MBBs as they return home!
  • Pray for cessation of the killings in Maiduguri

Cameroon:

Praise

  • Thank God there has been minimal violence surrounding the election, and all of our friends and coworkers are safe

Prayer

  • 90% of the English-speaking regions were unable to vote (were not provided with ballots). Pray for peace as the election results are announced in 2 weeks time after what was not a fair election process.
  • Pray for Florence, she is unable to go home from Yaounde, as there is no travel allowed to Bamenda yet. Her visa interview is also this Thursday in Yaounde. Pray she can travel home afterwards and that her interview goes well!

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • Eskendir’s son got a placement at a good university which is close to some family members!
  • Agazi ran a training this past week.

Prayer

  • for peace in Ethiopia, as there is unrest.
  • The unrest has displaced new believers that the students have been ministering to, pray that they stay with their faith and are able to find new connections where they are.

USA:

Praise

  • Rich is in the US en route to Portland!
  • Janice’s 60th birthday is this week.

Prayer

  • Rick travels to Nigeria in a couple weeks! Pray for his preparation and funding
  • David speaks at his church this Sunday about FFICM and his time in Nigeria!
  • Prayer for David and Dara as they plan the fundraiser in November.
DaraPrayer and Praise October 9th!
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Praise and Prayer Sept 24th

 

Nigeria

 
Praise
  • God heard our prayers for cooler weather! The team in Jalingo is experiencing relief from the heat
  • Comfort and Peter are going with teams of pastors to evangelize this evening!
  • Praise God that the UMCN has done an excellent job mobilizing their pastors for this training, and they are eager to work with us in the future!
Prayer
  • Samuel and Jessica’s newborn son is very sick and needs to go to the clinic! Please pray for his healing, and for strength and peace for Jessica as Sam is away.
  • ECWA (one of the denominations we are working with) has called denomination-wide time of prayer and fasting for Leah Sharibu, the 15-year-old Christian girl being held by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam. They have now sent a video where they executed a young woman from the Red Cross, and heave threatened to execute Leah next. Please pray that the Lord will rescue her!
  • for funds to come through for a safe care for the Nigeria team!
Ethiopia
Praise
  • Eyasu has trained 12 new MBBs using the FFICM materials. They have already been instrumental in bringing many to the Lord! Pray for them as they experience persecution where they live.
Prayer
  • Eyasu has had a very difficult week, he had to travel to the funerals of his nephew’s wife and his sister-in-law, please pray for him and for his family!
  • Pray for safety for Eyasu and Eskendir, and for Ethiopia as the country hopes for peace after renewed unrest around Addis!
Cameroon
 
Praise
  • Praise God for the safe return of Florence, Pastor Yisa, Linda, and all the head trainers!
Prayer
  • Pray for peaceful elections on October 7th! The freedom-fighters have warned that the elections will not happen.
  • Pray for Florence, as she is trying to get a visa to come to the US
USA
 
Praise
  • Praise God for David’s safe return!
  • Dara and her family are glad that her recent illness has resolved, and there is no cancer.
Prayer
  • for support raising wisdom and grace for the whole US team!
  • Dara’s daughter, Odette has started telling her parents about seeing people in her room that scare her and that Jesus sometimes has to come scare them away. Pray that the Lord protects Odette as she is almost 4 and reaching an age where her parents want to talk to her more about the gospel!
DaraPraise and Prayer Sept 24th
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What does it mean to Abide?

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4 (ESV)

Dear God,

What would You have me say?

Abide.

I think I used to be good at this. Sometimes it’s easier to abide when things are so out of your control, you can’t drive yourself crazy trying to fix or anticipate everything.

My dear family, my job, my dreams, I know I’m capable of turning anyone and everything into a burden or worry, though I know they are scintillating gifts straight from Your generous Spirit and loving Hand.

Abide.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6)

Faith is the beginning, the first theological virtue, Aquinas was right. In order to trust, my heart has to have that kernel, that knowledge of Your heart where I begin to lean on you, to feel safe enough to receive not just eternal life, but abundant life (and, when dark days cover me like a shroud, comfort and strength to keep on through the valley of the shadow.)

Love, Love is the core of who You are. To abide in You we must know your love in the way we say of those dearest to us, that being with them is being home.

Abide.

And as we learn to love You, to care enough what You think and feel to partner with You to amend our behavior to the law of Love, to what makes You happy, You are at Home in us too.

I hope I can be a Home to You, Jesus, You have made everywhere a home to me, traveling with me through the most dull and fantastical, dear and terrible, clear and clouded landscapes, setting up camp and beckoning me to Rest even as the battle rages unchecked around me.

Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.” Psalm 27:3 (NIV)

Dear friends, may we always be at Home in Jesus and Jesus at Home in us!

 

 

 

 

DaraWhat does it mean to Abide?
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Praise and Prayer August 27th!

Ethiopia

Praise

  • Pastor Jacob reported that the students led 2,299 people to the Lord, with an additional 2,258 who have promised they will come to church (and we today received a report that many are following through with that desire!)
  • Eyasu has sent 400-500 requested copies of follow-up materials for the training to Hawassa! Pray that these materials are used well.

Prayer

  • In 1 week Eyasu will go to Shire to go see the refugees (and visit Agazi) and also go and visit Adama, pray for the success of his trip and for his youngest daughter, who is alone while he is gone as Eyasu’s wife is the US and his other children are out of the house.
  • Pray for Eyasu’s daughter Nard (also Lydia) who is applying for a scholarship to pursue her course of study in university!
  • Pray that Eritrea will open up soon
  • Pray for successful trainings that Eyasu will hold for tent-maker evangelists.
  • Prayer for the Tigre translation (we are hoping to fix the type font problem this week!)

Nigeria

Praise

  • The training of former drug addicts is going well!,Benjamin told Sam last week that they are all meeting from time to time to encourage one another. We are also going to be trying to meet with them soon.
  • One of the converts from the NLFA office training, David Ado is enrolled in a baptism class, and will be baptized at the end of the year.
  • The planning for the conferences is going pretty well!
  • Jos has been relatively peaceful, the killings have subsided.

Prayer

  • Continued prayer for wisdom for locations for the conferences that are planned, that we would choose a space that will be safe for all that are coming!
  • Some of the Berom youths are retaliating for the recent violence by stealing cows, pray that this theft would stop and would not inspire any reprisal violence.
  • Maiduguri is still suffering intensely from kidnappings, violence, and the cholera epidemic in the refugee camps. Pray for protection and the end of the epidemic!

Cameroon

Praise

  • For Florence’s recovered health!

Prayer

  • Because of the attacks by the Cameroonian army on civilians, the freedom fighters are planning on blocking the roads. Florence and the Cameroonian team are going to have to try to leave early for Nigeria. Please pray for their safety!

USA

Praise

  • More people from the East Coast (many from Grace Community Church) have decided to support FFICM’s ministry! Praise for these new partners in prayer and finances.

Prayer

  • We are planning a fundraiser/community-building dinner in November. We would love to be able to purchase a safe vehicle for the Nigeria team as well as expand our office in Ethiopia! Prayer that God will provide the finances.
  • Rick, David, and Dara are all in need of additional support, pray that it comes through!
DaraPraise and Prayer August 27th!
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A Better Word ~ facing the horror of evil with the heart of God

” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” ~ Heb. 12:23-24

Part of my job is listening to people, hearing what is happening to them and their families and their communities. It is an incredible honor to hear the hearts of God’s people in West Africa, East Africa, Eastern Europe, and the US. It is also one of the most painful parts of my life.

This past year I have watched in breathless horror as families and communities I care about, work with, and pray for have been ravaged by unspeakable evil. Only this week, a youtube video from English-speaking Cameroon, went viral– Cameroonian soldiers marched two women, an infant, and a small girl off the road, and mocked their fear before executing them by informal firing squad, wrapping the small girl’s shirt roughly around her face.

I used to call the feeling of grief I got from seeing and hearing evil like this the “Iron Fist”, because it felt like an iron fist closed around my heart and I couldn’t cry, or scream, or even properly feel anything. But I couldn’t bring myself to stop looking, stop reading, stop hearing. Having suffered even a little myself, I knew that this was possibly the worst thing that I could do.

People that are suffering need someone to care enough to hear what is happening to them. The Destroyer’s first and most terrible lie is that his victim’s lives do not have value, that their screams will echo silently in the vastness of space because no one will listen, no one cares, no one will act, nothing will be put to right; the weight of their lives doesn’t register on the scale of the World. I hate the thought of those children dying with that lie reverberating around them with every fiber of my being.

This lie was birthed in our world with the death of Abel. Abel was killed by his brother. His brother Cain valued the short violent expression of his anger, pain, and injured pride more than his brother’s whole life, and countless others have followed in Cain’s bloody footsteps.

Jesus came to die with the meek, with the nameless billions who have been counted worthless. His death, his blood, speaks the Truth that the powerless, the victims, the small are worth so much that God Himself would choose to die with them. He chose to orchestrate His plan to save us around blood, not because He is morbid, but because of them. Abel’s blood called from the ground and shook the beautiful heart of God. Mocked, stripped, tortured, murdered; these are no longer words of shame, but words of glory, for all these words belong to God’s beloved Son, and are the centerpiece of His plan for saving us all from death.

These questions torment our hearts in the wake of each innocents’ death: will God have mercy on them in the life to come? Will He make it right? These questions are “too great, too awesome for me to grasp” Psalm 131:1 (NLT). But I do know God. He is trustworthy, and if He would die to give everyone, even the wicked, a chance at eternal life. If his heart is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). If his eye is on every sparrow, and follows the fall of each of the hairs on our head (Matt. 10:29-31). If He is Love, and I know that He is….then I can trust Him with these precious children, counted worthless in the eyes of the evil one, loved completely, passionately, inexpressibly by our all-powerful death-conquering God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

DaraA Better Word ~ facing the horror of evil with the heart of God
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Praise and Prayer August 20th!

Nigeria

Praise

  • We might have found a venue for the conference, the national youth center is willing to host us. However, they need to find another venue for their youth (who were planning on using the center at that time) so pray they will find one!
  • Comfort has trained her friend Esther who is interested in training others! She is stopping by the office for materials today.
  • Benjamin, the convert from the jungle outside Jos, is continuing to do very well in his correspondence course and is witnessing to his friends. 
  • That Samuel’s wife Jessica and their new son are continuing to do well!

Prayer

  • There will be a meeting about the MBB conference Wednesday, prayer for wisdom in preparations!
  • We have upcoming programs (one 300 person training and one 130 person training with ECWA) in Jalingo and Abuja, pray that preparations for those go well!
  • A COCIN pastor’s son from Chibok was kidnapped in Maiduguri, prayer for him in the trials he is experiencing and for his safe return. 
  • There was an attack by Islamist militants in Mulari (founded by missionaries in the fifties) they found about 60 bodies and 13 people were kidnapped, pray for their safe return and for them as they suffer in captivity. 
  • Salah (Muslim holiday) is tomorrow, pray for peace especially in Jos and Maiduguri. In Jos, there is an area where Muslims go to pray that may incite fear and possible violent response by Christian youth, pray that everyone will remain calm!

Ethiopia

Praise

  • For continued peace in the country.
  • The church where we held the trainings is now asking for 100 copies of the materials to use!

Prayer

  • The persecution in Shire by the Coptic Christians is intensifying, they tried to kill the pastor and burned his house down. Pray for peace and for the government intervention to work. 
  • Eritrea not yet open, pray that the country become safe quickly, the evangelical denominations want to get in first, before the prosperity gospel.
  • Tomorrow Eyasu and Eskinder will receive the report from the last group of university students, prayer for them as they continue to minister!

Cameroon

Praise

  • Mbingo is calm! The PAC doctors and all expat doctors are back, which should mean that the army is less likely to attack and kill civilians.
  • It is now the harvest period, people in hiding have been able to come from bushes to sneak to their farms to harvest cocoyams and yams, praise that they have been able to find food, and prayer for their safety as they do this!
  • The army came and tried to force their way inside an operating room to take a suspected militant, but the doctors were able to prevent them from doing this. They likely would have killed the person.

Prayer

  • for Cameroonian trainers planning to travel to Nigeria in the beginning of September.
  • There was a clash between the military and the freedom-fighters close to Fundung, one fighter and one military person was killed.
  • The government planning is planning on an election in October, but we’re not sure that the English speaking regions will be able to vote because of unrest, which could lead to further discrimination.
  • there have been a lot of killings in villages around Bamenda, freedom fighters burned something, Florence’s home village, killing. 
  • In Mbingo there are a lot of displaced people, local churches have been sharing resources. 
  • It is not safe to go back to Belo, it has been completely abandoned. The military

USA

Praise

  • Rick had coffee with his daughters this week, prayer for God to work healing in his family.
  • Rich is enjoying his trip to the East Coast! He has connected well with a church that is interested in further supporting the ministry.

Prayer

  • David’s wife was in terrible pain from an infection in her teeth, needs prayer for healing 
  • Prayer for the cessation of the terrible wildfires raging all across the West Coast, which is bringing the air quality down in several areas, impacting people with asthma, and lung conditions, as well as the elderly and kids. 
  • Nicole went to a wedding this weekend, prayer she is rested after a much needed vacation!
DaraPraise and Prayer August 20th!
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Praise and Prayer End of July!

 

 

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • There are 102 students at the current training, the team reports that they are some of the sharpest and most joyful trainees we’ve ever had! Their worship time together is incredible.
  • There were over 21 universities represented between the last two weeks of training!

Prayer

  • The high altitude of this location has been giving Rich a headache, prayer for his health and for the continued health of the rest of the team. 
  • Prayer for last week’s students, they are out right now sharing the gospel and following up with new believers in unreached places!

Nigeria: 

Praise

  • Nigeria team reported that so far we have about 800 attendees confirmed for the MBB conference! 
  • Praise for the former sheik’s safe travel. 
  • It has been calm in Jos so far. This Friday Peter and the team took still more food to people in refugee camps!

Prayer

  • Comfort shared that killings and kidnappings of Christian farmers and travelers are still going on in vulnerable villages outside Maiduguri, and that no news of the murder of these innocents is reaching the media. Pray that God will protect them and that the evil people responsible would not be able to keep these terrible deeds a secret. 
  • The Nigeria team is working to figure out how best to keep the MBBs traveling to the conference safe, prayer for wisdom! We’ve also committed to paying for their transportation, which will be expensive, pray that the additional resources come through!
  • Tomorrow Peter and Rev. Afan will be traveling to Jalingo. 
  • For Samuel’s wife, Jessica, who needs prayer for the end of the pregnancy and safety in childbirth! My apologies to Eskinder, whose wife is not pregnant (I incorrectly heard last week that she was!)

In Jos it is calm. On Friday we took materials, met people in refugee camp, still hoping to be able to return to their farmland. Some have been trying to go to their farms and return to the camps during the night

tomorrow traveling to jailing, spend 3 days there, meet with umcn ecwa, Reverend Afan, Ishaku. 

trying to figure out how to keep MBBs safe during the conference. Meeting with the heads of the Fulani Christians etc. about 800 confirmed attendees. 

Need to pay for their transport, which will be expensive. 

USA

Praise

David’s kids have gone to summer camp for the first time, hoping it’s a great week of them!

David has 2 new monthly financial supporters! 

Dara’s father-in-law’s heart surgery went well. There was a tricky moment where they had to restart his heart, but he seems to be recovering very well.

Prayer

For increased financial support for Rick, David, Dara, and the whole organization as we need more funding to expand!

Cameroon 

Praise

  • for safe travel for Florence, Pastor Yisa, and Linda to Yaounde 
  • They were able to hold a market in Mbingo this past week and people hiding in the bush could come and get food supplies for their families.
  • for the safety of all of their families

Prayer

  • for the people of Belo; the city itself has been deserted and the people still are living in the bushes. Please pray from their protection from wild animals, and that God would provide for all of their needs.
  • both the government and the freedom fighters have set up check points, the freedom-fighters sometimes ask for money and the government asks for passports; the civilians are beginning to feel like they are living under two oppressive governments. Pray for peace!
  • Florence, Pastor Yisa, and Linda are all in Yaounde to try to get their passports put in order so that they can make it to Nigeria for the training for head trainers on Sept. 4th. Pray that all goes smoothly and that they are given favor with the government.
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer End of July!
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Wretchedness and Joy

“Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair. Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because he shows us both God and our own wretchedness. Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.”

~ Blaise Pascal

In this swirling world of standards we may or may not measure up to, the temptation either to think of ourselves “more highly than we ought” (Rom. 12:3, NIV) or to give in to “worldly sorrow [over our sin] that brings death” (2 Cor. 7:10, NIV) stalks us relentlessly.

Knowing the heart of Jesus is our only escape. If you deny the brokenness or evil at work in your own heart, you will become a slave to it. Pride always enslaves us to those impulses we need to overlook in order to maintain our high opinion of ourselves. If your reaction to the sight of the evil in yourself is to tear at your own heart and punish yourself, you will only participate in the destruction of your soul.

People do these things; ignore sin and worship themselves, or see it and hate themselves, because they think they need to be whole to be loved. They think that Love must be either all-excusing, or blind. Love is so much more powerful than this.

“Love’s as hard as nails,/Love is nails:/Blunt, thick, hammered through/The medial nerves of One/Who, having made us, knew/The thing he had done:/Seeing (with all that is)/Our cross, and his.”  (C.S. Lewis)

Jesus is the only one on earth who sees exactly how bad and how beautiful your soul is. Jesus will never mock you. Jesus will love you relentlessly, until this gorgeous and gut-wrenching age passes away like a watch in the night, and all your brokenness and sin is nothing more than a bad dream, and you stand clean and filled with Joy in His sight for all of eternity. Jesus will give you courage to face yourself, power to forgive others and yourself, and strength to continue that journey until the Day comes.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXKG-ooExGs

DaraWretchedness and Joy
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Praise and Prayer July 23rd!

 

Nigeria

Praise

  • This week, Samuel met with 7 of the new believers from the jungle, and it was a really a good time for them! They are continuing tomorrow with the teaching. 
  • Benjamin is really progressing in his training, and is taking Bible classes by correspondence. He is the one who witnessed to the 7 people who are now attending the training. 
  • On Saturday Peter went to the refugee camp with food bought with donations from our supporters. More and more people are responding to refugee camp needs, and they are not as dire as they were last week!
  • Comfort was sick last week but has been recovering well this week, praise God!

Prayer

  • There are more than 20 areas that refugees are staying, the camps in Kurru and Bukuru are the largest, one with over 3,000, and the other with over 2,000. They still are in need of a place to stay and continued support.
  • Comfort’s training had to be postponed because of attacks on farmers and people in transit outside Maiduguri. The government is not adequately responding to the threat, and the militants are dressing as soldiers so people don’t know where to run.
  • Comfort is the only one of her family in Maiduguri, prayer for her encouragement and strength.
  • One more week of classes for Peter. 
  • Peter travels next Monday to Jalingo to find out about the conferences that we are going to have with UMC and ECWA
  • Sheik coming from Sokoto today, prayer for safe travel, and thanksgiving for success stories about people giving their lives to Christ, and people willing to come for the MBB conference in October. 

USA

Praise

  • David’s trip to WA went well! 
  • Praise for the supporters who donated to help with the refugee situation!

Prayer

  • Rick has a trip to Bellingham next weekend to speak about FFICM at a church!
  • Dara was able to talk with several Christians during the opera she performed in this weekend and is hoping God will give her a chance to minister more to singers this fall (she has an audition with Portland opera chorus in two weeks.) 
  • Dara’s father-in-law is having heart surgery this week, prayer for his protection and his family as they are very concerned. 

Ethiopia

Praise

  • Rich and the team are teaching university students this week! They have 103 students from all over Ethiopia, from many different universities. The students have a lot of energy and passion for the Lord, and are so enthusiastic one of them was even sharing the gospel at break times!
  • Weather is great, which is a mercy!

Prayer

  • Students are embarrassed about their English, so people aren’t volunteering as easily for individual questions, so tomorrow the team is making a rule that they speak only in Amharic so that they won’t feel pressure.
  • For safety for Eskendir’s pregnant wife and his baby.

Cameroon

Praise

  • Florence arrived in Mbingo safely!

Prayer

  • Rich heard from pastor Yisa that it is still too dangerous to check on our trainees from last year, please pray for their protection! 
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer July 23rd!
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Ethiopia: 

Praise

  • The training going well! 
  • the temperature is unexpectedly cool.
  • Eskinder, Eyasu, Rich, Terese all made it to the training and are enjoying working together!
  • The prime minister of Eritrea and the President of Ethiopia met in Awasa, and are signing peace documents. We might be able to hold a training up in Eritrea early next year! They use the Tigre language, and we already have the material translated, thanks to our work in the refugee camps. 

Prayer

  • About fifteen of the trainees haven’t been able to show up, prayer for their travel.
  • challenges with materials! The printer printed gospel cards wrong.Thankfully it was just one card front and back, hoping to get it by tomorrow night.

Nigeria: 

Praise

  • Thank God, the former sheik who went down to Kano, Katsina, had successful trip, and was able to meet with different families who are MBBs. Peter met his wife and children, all doing fine and really happy to be in this ministry. 
  • Thank God for the former drug addicts from the jungle outside of Jos, they are doing fine also! There are new believers coming to do follow-up in the office, Samuel is going to be teaching them. 

Prayer

  • There were more people that killed in Barkin Ladi Thursday night, and over the weekend. The governor went to visit the IDP camp after not having sent any aid to the camp for 2 weeks, and a crowd attacked his convoy with rocks.
  • MBB discipleship center was attacked in Jalingo, they killed one person. Continue to pray for them! 
  • Comfort couldn’t have training because there were attacks. Yesterday Muslim militants attacked Christian villagers while they were watching world cup finals. They have rescheduled the training for 2 weeks from now. In Chibok, Boko Haram also killed farmers. Please pray for farmers especially, as they are vulnerable, and need to attend to their farms during rainy season.
  • We are in need of a safe bus for our Nigeria group!

Cameroon: 

Praise

  • Florence had a safe trip to KA, and enjoyed her time there!

Prayer

  • Crisis still going on in Belo. More attacks on the people by the military. Some of the doctors have moved out of Mbingo, and we are afraid the government will intensify their attacks.
  • most of the people we trained are scattered, it’s hard to keep track of what has happened, they have all run away to the bush.

USA: 

Praise

  • David shared yesterday in main service at a church about FFICM, people had a lot of questions.
  • The church wants the life group he shared with to adopt FFICM as missionary focus, will be continuing to pray for us regularly. 
  • Some supporters volunteered money for us to use to take to the IDP camps for food and mattresses for the needy families. May God bless them richly!

Prayer

  • David is meeting with a pastor tomorrow and next Sunday will share with another church in central WA
  • support is needed for David, Rick, Dara!
  • for Nicole adjusting working full time and still doing social media for us! For the blessing of strength and encouragement for her!
Richard Gardner
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Praise and Prayer July 9th

Nigeria

Praise

  • Comfort is running training in Maiduguri this week with Good News Church and is expecting 30-40 participants!
  • Seven teenagers in Maiduguri that Comfort has trained in use of the gospel card have agreed to speak to their friends about the gospel this week and will talk to Comfort on Sunday to share with her how it has gone and learn from her how to follow up with any new believers!
  • Kidnappings in Maiduguri have reduced to some extent. 
  • One of the former drug addicts from the jungle outside of Jos, Benjamin, has been actively reaching out to his friends, and will be bringing 7 of his new-believer friends for Samuel to begin teaching tomorrow! 
  • The church in Rashalang, that the Nigeria team planted last year has 28 members and is doing well! They have moved on from learning from the follow-up materials to also using other church materials. 
  • Jos has been calm for a week. 
  • The former Muslim sheik is traveling in Katsina and Kaduna safely! Pray for him and for the Muslim background believers he is working with. 

Prayer

  • For the trainings and outreaches mentioned above, and for Comfort, Samuel, Benjamin, Osang, and Peter, and Solomon particularly as they work with these people. 
  • For Peter’s mother-in-law, she was admitted to the hospital and had to receive a drip. She is diabetic and is ill! Prayer for her healing. 
  • for continued peace in Jos. 
  • One of our trainees from Gindiri Theological Seminary, Solomon, has come to Jos to get materials to use in his field practicals, pray for him as he reaches out!

Ethiopia

Praise 

  • for continuing peace!
  • for the declaration of the end of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia!
  • for the blessing of the Christian Prime Minister who is leading the country wisely. 

Prayer

  • Rich is leaving for Ethiopia on Wednesday for 3.5 weeks! There, he, Eyasu, and a team of strategically selected trainers will train 200 university students in two sites, and 60 career evangelists in evangelism and follow-up. Prayer that God will protect them and prepare the hearts of the trainees. 

Cameroon

Praise 

  • The military was going through and burning houses on the hilltop (the killings have been ongoing) and a doctor in the hospital called the army commander on Bamenda and told him what the military was doing and he called them and told them to stop. 
  • Florence and her husband were in a vulnerable area and prayed that God would stop the military before they came to their house, and He did!

Prayer

  • The expatriate doctors have decided to relocate, most of them will be gone in the next two weeks, and the last remaining one may return to the US for a few weeks. Pray that even without the pressure of the presence of international people, the government will respect the lives of the refugees in 
  • Some of the committed evangelists and trainers we’d like to bring from Cameroon into Nigeria for extra training are having trouble getting passports (including Linda, who trained the new believers this month, and Pastor Yisa). FFICM is going to help them with their expenses, we need prayer for continued resources for us as we meet these needs and that the government will approve the visas in time!
  • Florence is traveling to Kent Academy for a retreat, she is in southern Nigeria right now having just crossed the border. Pray for her safety!
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer July 9th
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July prayers for mercy and thanks for God’s faithfulness

Nigeria

Praise

  • for the safety of Gindiri Theological Seminary, and most of Jos and the surrounding area over the weekend. 
  • for peace in Maiduguri (our trainer, Comfort’s area!) this week
  • for God’s continued work! Comfort is doing a training this week in Good News Church in her local area with 30-40 members. 
  • the former drug addicts from the “Walls of Satan” jungle around Jos are continuing to stand strong by testimony of their local brothers and sisters

Prayer

  • for safety, particularly for the women and children in vulnerable villages, these terrible, genocidal attacks by radicalized Fulani mostly claim the lives of women, children, and the elderly. 
  • Peter is still in classes to get his masters, prayer he will be able to focus.
  • There were two attacks Sunday on villages in Mangu and Barkin Ladi and 10 died. Prayer for safety of the whole Jos area and for comfort for the families of the victims. 
  • Osang travels from Gindiri to Jos June 3rd, prayer for his safety, and the safety of his family
  • Osang and Samuel will be teaching the former drug addicts this week. Prayer for wisdom as they follow up with them, and that the new believers will stand strong!
  • the former sheik will travel tomorrow for Kaduna and Katsina, prayer for protection for him and his family. 

Cameroon

Praise

  • thank God for follow-up classes going on! Every Sunday at 3 pm, the 8 new believers from the last week’s outreach to the refugees have been meeting to go through the follow up program! They are  now in lesson four of follow-up.
  • the French translation of the follow-up materials is finished!

Prayer

  • there are some new believers in a village behind the hospital that Florence cannot safely access, pray that we can find someone in their village to follow up with them. 
  • there are still many killings. The army has abducted a pregnant woman from a local village and they don’t know where she is. Locals fear that this will escalate, or has already escalated into ethnic cleansing of the English-speaking Cameroonian population, as the army continues to target civilians. 
  • the expat doctors at Mbingo hospital are considering leaving as the student doctors are having a hard time focusing with all the shootings around the hospital. The residents of Mbingo fear that once they leave the army will begin killing the locals; they feel certain that the army hasn’t attacked because they are afraid of killing people from other countries and starting an international incident.
  • Florence prays for wisdom as she would like to travel to attend a retreat in Jos, but Jos is now unsafe. 

Ethiopia

Praise 

  • All is going well in Ethiopia as we plan for the trainings of 200 students and 60 evangelists!
  • Eyasu gives thanks to God for the president who is actively preaching peace and forgiveness all across the country! 

Prayer

  • Rich leaves in 9 days for Ethiopia! Pray for Eyasu, Eskendir, and Pastor Jacob as they continue to prepare for the three trainings. 
  • Pray for peace in Hawassa, particularly.

USA 

Praise 

  • Rich and David had the opportunity to speak at David’s home church!

Prayer

  • Dara’s husband is traveling back from Iowa from his grandfather’s funeral. Prayer for safe travel and for comfort for his grandmother, and strength for Dara. 
  • Rick had heart pain after learning of the danger to Gindiri Theological Seminary last week, where he has several close friends. Prayer for his health!
  • Nicole is having a hard time recovering from a sickness, and is needing to host friends this week, so prayer for strength for her! She is also working very hard adjusting to learning her new full time job while also continuing to work with us. Prayer for grace!
Richard GardnerJuly prayers for mercy and thanks for God’s faithfulness
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End of May: Praise and Prayer

We praise God together for all He has accomplished and the blessing of working and walking alongside Him in the Spirit!

Scripture shared by the team:

Numbers 23:8 “How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced”

2nd Tim. 1:7 “God does not give us a spirit that makes us afraid, but a spirit of power and of love and of self control” 

Nigeria: 

Praise

  • For safety on the road for the Nigeria team that traveled to Niger state! They are training 42 local church leaders from several different denominations.
  • Yesterday at least 7 trainees shared the gospel. One woman shared the gospel with a young Muslim man, Eliyu, who is addicted to drugs. He received Christ and came and attended the training! Osang ministered to him also. He asked for prayer at the end of the class because he wants to remain in the faith and live the Christian life. Now, the rest of the trainees are very motivated to go out and share the gospel and bring more new believers to the training as well!
  • for Comfort Mark’s training–she organized a training south of Maiduguri where she expected 30 people and there were 100, who stayed the whole week, including some children
Prayer
  • Peter has a fever and is in the middle of training 42 people in Niger!
  • We still need a reliable vehicle for the Nigeria team. Prayer that God would provide.
  • Thank God for peace in Peter’s home village of Fan.
  • the trainees from Niger state are going to shared the gospel again today!

Cameroon: 

Praise

  • Praise God for continuing to protect all of our friends and partners in Mbingo!
 
Prayer
  • On Thursday, 15 houses were burned near Belo, and in Bamenda, 50 people were massacred. Right now we don’t know what exactly is happening but it is very difficult to leave Mbingo. Public transportation has effectively been shut down. If you want to leave you have to walk, so it is very difficult to visit other quarters and villages.
  •  There is now no food market in Mbingo, inside the hospital compound people are able to sell some. This is intensifying the food crisis. Prayer for provision, especially for the families hosting refugees.
  • Prayer that the government and the freedom fighters will negotiate peace.

USA:

Praise

  • Our graphic artist is almost done formatting the materials! As soon as they are completed we will translate them into five languages. 
  • We have made several contacts in the US that will be able to help us to modify the materials so that they are even more effective for MBBs. 
  • for healing for Dara’s daughter Odette, who had four days of high fever and had to be taken to the ER and is now suddenly well! 
Prayer
  • prayer for wisdom and grace as we continue to develop and format the follow-up materials and the training manual
  • prayer for funds to meet the needs of the US based staff.
  • prayer for Nicole’s job interview, that God will provide for her.
 
Ethiopia: 
 
Praise
  • for continuing peace in the country
  • for Eyasu’s outreach to the refugee camp!
Prayer
 
  • For the upcoming training of 200 university students in July! 
Richard GardnerEnd of May: Praise and Prayer
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Displaced and Dismayed: The Untold Refugee Story in Cameroon

Tension. Protests. Violence. Food shortage. Cameroon has been in a critical condition for the past few years. A country with two official languages, the English and French speaking populations have been at odds since 2016. It began when the English-speaking populous spoke out about their sense of oppression by the French-speaking populous. With only one of their 36 government ministers being Anglophone, many felt unrepresented within the government and began to peacefully protest. However, the attempts to begin a conversation for change were unfruitful and answered with more repression.

Peaceful protests were met with violence, arrests, and alleged sexual abuse by armed forces. Basic government practices continued to put the Anglophone population of Cameroon at a gross disadvantage. French-speaking teachers were sent to teach in English-speaking regions, so students struggled to learn. French magistrates who know nothing about the local laws practiced by English speakers were sent into Anglophone regions to act as judges. Internet was disconnected in English speaking areas to control civilians and cut communication between rebellious groups. All of these unjust actions by the government led a group to begin a separatist movement, advocating for the creation of a new country called Ambazonia—a section of Southern Cameroon that could be designated for the English-speaking Cameroonians. However, these advocacy efforts from the succession group fell on deaf ears. The government still refused to engage in conversation and continued their attempts to subdue this “rebel” faction.

Since then, the government and separatist group have clashed against one another, creating wreckage in their wake. Over the past several months, the civil unrest and tension has grown exponentially, putting innocent Cameroonians in dire circumstances. The people are fearful of both the armed forces and insurgents. This humanitarian crisis rages on in Cameroon; however, with very limited news coverage and reports coming out of the country, many stories remain untold.

Hilltop above Mbingo

The violence between the freedom fighters and the government has driven masses from their homes, their cities, their normal daily lives. Hundreds have been displaced, at least five villages have been abandoned, many lives have been lost on both sides of the fighting, and now civilians have become refugees in their own country.

Three areas involved with this refugee situation include Anyadua, Belo, and Mbingo. FFICM has connections to each of these locations through past trainings, current ministry partners and team members living nearby.

We held a training for a large group of youths in Anyadua a few months ago (pictured below)—the city is now a ghost town; everyone went into hiding in the bushes or fled to nearby towns and despite our best efforts, we are still uncertain of the whereabouts and safety of our young trainees. We continue to pray for their safety wherever they may be.

Youth trainees from Anyadua

Many people fled to Belo initially, until military forces came in with the intentions to target and kill all young people for their possible links to the separatists. The Mbingo area is now where refugees have turned to—the Mbingo hospital compound remains a semi-neutral zone, though the area around has still experienced violence and destruction.

May 20th marked Independence Day, also known as National Day, a time to celebrate the unity of the country—despite how ironic that might sound. The government threatened some civilians and university students to attend celebrations and imposed curfews in English-speaking regions of the country, while the freedom fighters gave ominous warnings to citizens to stay indoors on the day because of their plans retaliate against the celebrations.

The hillside above the Mbingo hospital became a significant location to refugees and hospital workers on National Day. The government had burnt the homes of many hospital workers prior to the day (without any casualities), causing them great distress and leaving some with nothing but the clothes on their back. Insurgent forces alerted those living nearby to leave the hilltop before May 20th because they planned to wage war in the area.

The warning was cryptic and disheartening to hear because many of those in the village were there as refugees and did not necessarily have a safe place to take shelter indoors. Despite this menacing message, we praise God for the safety of the people in Mbingo—all the civilians were able to clear the area and were not caught up in the violence. The day resulted in an armed conflict between the separatists and the military on the hilltop, which concluded with at least one death on each side.

Young adults practicing their training materials in Mbingo

In the midst of all of this, we thank God for the small group of individuals who are doing all they can to help the refugees while experiencing a food shortage. One of our contacts in particular, Florence, and her family, has witnessed firsthand the multitudes in need of assistance, shelter, and food. In her area alone there are at least 50 families—over 500 individuals—who have been displaced. The Mbingo hospital is now filled to capacity with refugees, and the hospital workers can only provide so much aid for fear of government involvement.

As the FFICM team prays over all these circumstances in Cameroon, we work to find our role in all of it. Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters from Anyadua, those who have become refugees all over the country, and those who have lost loved ones because of the brutality. We want to determine the best way to offer support and encouragement to the refugees and our ministry partners in Cameroon, but we are still uncertain about what that looks like.

Rich and Rick with Cameroon trainers

We know that God still reigns in this darkness—he is protector, provider, and peacemaker. We have seen how He has protected civilians time and time again. We have faith that He is working and will reveal His will to us.

Having prayed for other countries in turmoil, like Ethiopia, and seeing those prayers for peace answered, we know that God can open the same opportunities for peace and conversation in Cameroon. In Jesus’ name we pray!

Please be praying for our organization as we search for our role in the refugee crisis. We ask the Lord for direction, guidance, and discernment. Also be praying for Cameroon. We pray for provisions, safety, and comfort for the refugees, and protection for other civilians. And of course, be praying for peace between the opposing forces. Our God is bigger than this battle. May his peace reign!

Nicole MillerDisplaced and Dismayed: The Untold Refugee Story in Cameroon
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Fiery Trials and Protective Miracles: Muslim background believers

These are a few of the incredible testimonies of former Muslims turned evangelist we have had the privilege of training! For safety reasons we cannot use pictures or disclose the countries that they are in, but these powerful stories deserve to be told. Glory be to God for His work in their lives!

Evangelist 1: “While I was studying the Quran there was a church next to the mosque, and I was zealous for Islam so I was angry and destroyed it. My father wanted to send me to different areas in the country and out of the country to learn more about Islam but I didn’t want to. I traveled to a different place and dropped my faith in Islam. One day a man in a long white robe came to my room in a dream and said, “I am the prophet Isa [Jesus] I am not creature. I am the creator. I am the way, the truth and the life. Believe in me.” The room was full of light and immediately, without meaning to, I said “Halellujah!” and jumped up. In the dream he showed me a church, so the next day I went there and became a Christian. Again in a dream he told me to go back to my home area so I went there. I prayed silently to Jesus while other Muslims were sleeping but finally they found me that I had become a Christian. About 30 people came to kill me. One of them was my father holding a javelin. I said “In Jesus’ name all fall down,” and they did, so I could escape. As I was escaping, 25 more were coming to kill me, but God covered their eyes so they couldn’t see me and I escaped again.  Now I am preaching the gospel to Muslims and about 30 have come to know Christ.”

Evangelist 2: “My uncles’ son was struggled with serious mental health problems, but when he received Jesus Christ he was healed. Then he preached the gospel to me. I was a sheik, and I wanted to kill him because of his faith, but I couldn’t deny the truth of what he was saying, so I also became a Christian. Persecution quickly followed. Many times they beat me. Sometimes they hung me on a tree and beat me. They excommunicated me from the community so that no one would talk or associate with me. One day my 9 month old boy died and I wanted to bury him but they wouldn’t let me and began to beat me while I mourned my boy. Finally they buried him in their own way. Other time my brother brought a big knife and asked me if I could deny this Jesus but when I refused he pierced my head with the knife, but God healed me. After this I flew away from the area until the situation calmed down. Now I am preaching the gospel. About 120 fellow Muslims have come to know Christ. Praise God.”

Evangelist 3: “When I was studying the Quran I asked a question of my teacher, ‘In the Quran there is a phrase that means ‘Alif lam mim’  and it means Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Quran says it doesn’t have interpretation. My question is, “why there is no interpretation?”’ The sheik beat me and I ran away. Away from my home, I became a thief and drank and did drugs. One day I was drunk and burned my own house down. Once while I was stealing someone’s crop with my friends, 8 people including the village chairperson came to arrest us, but I beat two of them and escaped. I went to stay with my uncles. Because they were Christian, they were praying for me and God answered their prayer and I became a Christian. Then I came back home and reconciled with my family. As a result of my changed life, 7 Muslims became Christians.

However, one day while I was ploughing my plot of land, my brother came and stabbed me sen times, so I felt down on the ground. He thought I was dead, so he covered me by dust as we normally do for dead people. I laid on the ground for five hours as dogs licked up my blood. At 1pm people saw me, called an ambulance and took me to the clinic. God had already told me before this situation that I would not die, so I knew that I wouldn’t. All the physicians and my family believed that I would die. My family didn’t want me to die as a Christian, they wanted to kill me and claim I was a Muslim. They prepared poisonous food, and consulted a witch doctor. But I found out about their plan and didn’t go to my home, but went to the church. Though church people are very few and poor, they sacrificially helped me and I was healed. After I went back home they believed I was raised from the dead. I forgave my brother and all my persecutors and as a result my mother and three of my uncles’ sons became Christians. My brother is also interested in Christianity now, so I am praying and preaching the gospel to him. I believe one day he will know Christ.”

Please pray for these dear fellow believers, that God protects them and their families and grants them the joy for which they faithfully labor–seeing many more turn to Christ!

Richard GardnerFiery Trials and Protective Miracles: Muslim background believers
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Praise and Prayer ~ Strong Together in Spirit

Nigeria

Praise

  • Peter’s training with the recovering substance abusers from the forests outside Jos is going well! Many of them are praying actively for jobs, as they are turning to substance abuse out of hopelessness. Pray with them, and pray that they may find more brothers and sisters in their local churches to help support their faith in this crucial time!

Prayer

  • Peter and the Nigeria team are planning a trip to Niger state; they will be traveling this Sunday, and starting training Monday! Prayer for their safety and for their families as they are away, especially little Jerebest Wash who misses his dad and is often sick while Peter is away. 
  • prayer for Samuel’s wife, Jessica, who has issues with pregnancy.
  • prayer for Osang as he is planning a wedding for November!
  • Prayer for Comfort and the training she is running south of Maiduguri (the Boko Haram’s starting place)

Cameroon

Praise

  • Florence thanks God for his protection, and that they have been provided for in such a way that they can help others

Prayer

  • the government burned many of the hospital staff’s homes, praise God there were no casualties as they did this.
  • On May 20th, the opposition forces warned the population to leave the hilltop above Mbingo, telling them that they were going to wage war in that area. There was an armed conflict between them and the military in which at least one died on each side. The hospital compound is now crowded with refugees.
  • FFICM is still hoping to return to Cameroon next January to continue the work, but pray that the country stabilizes enough that we can return to minister with our sisters and brothers!

Ethiopia

Praise

  • Eskendir has experienced full healing in his back and praises God
  • Eskendir has his tickets for Ethiopia in July thanks to gifts from FFICM’s supporters!
  • Eyasu’s daughter is graduating with a BA in Psychology prayer for her finishing her thesis!

Prayer

  • Eyasu has another daughter getting ready to graduate 8th grade and is preparing for national exams.
  • Prayer for the preparation and provision for the training in July—it will cost $80 per trainee and we are hoping for 200!
  • Prayer for timing of plans for future trainings; southeastern Ethiopia wants us to come, but it is a dangerous area.
  • Eyasu is leaving next week for northern Ethiopia to train Eritrean refugees and connect with people we have trained before as they reach out to more! Prayer that he will learn how best to support them. We praise God that we now have the materials translated into the language (Tigre) which will be best for them.

USA

Praise

  • Dara’s family is all well finally, after 2 weeks of illness!

Prayer

  • Rick needs to raise more support!
  • prayer for wisdom and energy as Rich, Susanna, and Dara do crucial work on the training manual and materials!
  • prayer for provision for finances as our staff’s needs and our staffing needs are increasing.
  • Nicole has 2 interviews for jobs this week! Prayer for wisdom and the right fit for her.
  • David is now sick, prayer for healing!
  • Rich has a board meeting tomorrow, prayer for wisdom for all in leading for the ministry.
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer ~ Strong Together in Spirit
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Diaspora ~ Pastor Yisa and the prayer that saved a life

Rich and Pastor Yisa pictured above

Cameroon is experiencing a lot of internal unrest and terrible violence these past few months. The city where we held the large conference and training, Belo, has been at the epicenter of the worst recent confrontations between the military and rebels and is now a ghost town and Anyadua, the site of the training that Peter held, with all of these wonderful trainees pictured below, is also deserted after an attack by the army. We have no idea what happened to them, we hope they are in hiding in the bush along with many of the other inhabitants of Anyadua.

Pastor Yisa is the pastor of the local area surrounding Anyadua, he was trained by FFICM last year, and has been actively training ever since! The last group he trained was so committed and excited about the materials they begged him to ask us to write more materials for them! We spoke with Pastor Yisa just last week, and he told us an incredible story of God’s protection.

While he was out recently, a group of armed and masked men approached him, bringing a man with them. “You’re a pastor, right?” They asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “Good, so can you pray for this man? We are about to kill him,” they told him. Pastor Yisa said he cannot remember a word of what he prayed, but that while he was praying he was begging God to take control. As he finished his prayer the leader told him the prayer had moved him so much that he was no longer going to kill the man!

While the situation in Cameroon is dire and we are afraid for our brothers and sisters in Anyadua, we remember God who listens to our prayers and cares for every single person more than we can possibly imagine. Please join us in lifting up pastor Yisa and the people of Anyadua in your prayers! God hears. 

Richard GardnerDiaspora ~ Pastor Yisa and the prayer that saved a life
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Peter’s report– Jalingo and Plateau trainings, and many more opportunities!

The ministry staff went to see the Bishop of the Lutheran Church (his deputy was among those we trained at the RCCN Jalingo) and he highly recommended our training materials and strategy for his denomination. The bishop was impressed and said he wanted us to train all the pastors, evangelists, and leaders in his diocese.

After hearing thus response, the president of FFICM (Rich) flew from the USA to attend the training in which we had over 60 people. We also brought four other trainers from Jos because they originally told us that they were expecting 250-300 people.

After the welcome and introduction by Bishop James J. Jen, we distributed the materials and began the training. As usual, we started with the gospel card and asked them to go and share the gospel with someone in the evening, but the following day only 3 people indicated they did that! So the next day we divided them into five groups and assigned leaders to each group who led them to where they were expected to witness. They were able to overcome their fears in the context of the group, and were surprised to discover that people were really interested in listening to them.

In the group that Peter went with, his team shared their faith with 7 people. Peter himself shared with six people, and three of those prayed to receive Christ. The next day, Peter went to follow up with them. Two of those that had prayed to received Christ came and sat with him as well as two other women. As they started up, two more elderly women came, so by the end there were 8 people in the follow-up class! After the teaching they started asking questions that had to do with assurance of salvation. We then prayed for a son of one of the women that was having fever.

In another group, they went to a house to witness and the man welcomed them and came out and sat with them, but the woman was not open. When they finished speaking they challenged him to join them for follow up the next day, but when they came the next day the woman was there, but not the man. So they use the follow-up 1 materials to teach her. She started saying that she too was an evangelist and they should go to the mountains to preach to those who have not heard the gospel instead of her. But after saying all this she confessed her sins and asked them to pray for her husband who is a drunkard.

In another group when they went out and a man prayed with them, and they set an appointment to meet the next day. But when they came they next day, the man told them, “You were lucky that I listened to you yesterday, but today I will not, because in the whole of our family there is no Christian, and I will not want to be the one to break that record.” So he refused, and so they had to move to another place where they met a lady who did listen to them.

The bishop set a good example to all the pastors by sitting in the class from the first day until the last day and participating in all the class practicals. As the training was going on, the bishop reported it to the secretary to the Arch Bishop. He asked for the phone number of the National Director so that they can plan how to apply this in the whole LCCN. The bishop said in his closing remarks that this training had been an eye-opener as to how much they need to apply what they have learned, and that if the FFICM team comes back in the next year or two, he is confident we will see the results of the training in additional converts. He even expects that by then, churches will be planted as a result of how they put into practice what they have learned.

There was a Muslim convert there who stayed throughout the training, he listened with keen interest and joy to know what we were teaching. Comfort, one our trainers from Maiduguri, went through the gospel card with him one on one to be sure he understood his faith. After that she shared the follow-up materials with him. Immediately after the training his relatives notice the changes in his character and they were threatened to kill him, so he ran to the church, and he has been taken to a discipleship center there in Jalingo.

After that week, we traveled back to Jos, but we could not fit the five people all in the office small car with all our bags, so we sent two people on public transport and three traveled in the car. So we did the three hour drive and rested at Wukari, then continued the following day for the next six hours, crossing the ferry part way through the trip.

The next training, which was organized for Plateau state by New Life for All was not properly mobilized, even though they charged the people a registration fee to cover their feeding, accommodation and traveling expenses to where they will be taken to for field service which they will stay there for another one week. There were 8 people who registered, but there were three additional leaders who stayed through the training as well. They were just encouraged to share their faith in the evenings, because they were going to be sent to the field for the work the following week anyways. After the training, they were sent to Shendam local area where they were to stay for one week evangelizing and conducting follow-up training.

We had time also to meet with other leaders and plan on our next ministry engagements. We met with the general secretary of COCIN (one of the largest evangelical churches in Nigeria) and they agreed that we should write a proposal so the leaders can decide if we can start training all the over 84 RCCs of COCIN!

We then also planned a conference where we want to bring together 1000 Muslim Background Believers, so that they could be trained on how to witness and to be encouraged. We also met with one former sheik who is now a Christian; he will be teaching the new converts and will also work with us on how to develop the follow up materials for MBBs!

Richard GardnerPeter’s report– Jalingo and Plateau trainings, and many more opportunities!
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Praise and Prayer May 14th–a warning for Cameroon, thousands more clamoring to be trained in Nigeria

Praise and Prayer May 14th

Nigeria:

Praise

  • United Methodist Church of Nigeria would like us to train all 2,000 of their pastors, and the Evangelical Church Winning All wants us to train 250 pastors from Taraba state, and we have two more major denominations who are in conversation with us!
  • Samuel Pom finished his seminary degree this week!

Prayer

  • For the next two weeks, Peter and the Nigeria team will be following up with 54 new believers from an evangelistic outreach in a dangerous forest area surrounding Jos. These new believers come from bands of thieves and drug addicts. The evangelists had to receive special permission from the leaders of the bands to enter their territory and share the gospel! Pray for wisdom for Peter and his team, and for special mercy for the new believers to turn from their old lifestyle!
  • At the end of May, Peter and the Nigeria team will be traveling north to Niger state to train 50 local believers and pastors. Pray for safe travel for them on the roads, that the arrangements for the training would go smoothly with all able to attend, and for their time with our brothers and sisters.
  • Prayer for Peter’s wife’s health as they try to confirm her diagnosis and obtain treatment.

Cameroon:

Praise

  • the people are thanking God for the recovery of the local church commissioner shot by the army.

Prayer

  • the insurgents/freedom-fighters have warned civilians to stay inside on May 20th. Everyone is afraid that this means that they are expecting more bloodshed. Pray for peace!
  • no word yet on the safety of our trainees in Anyadua, everyone is still in hiding in the bush. Pray for them!
  • The refugee situation in Mbingo is dire. Florence’s recent count is that there are at least 350 more people than the 201 she was aware of, with many more in other areas most probably. Pray for provision for them! We are currently trying to figure out how we can best help.

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • for the MBBs that Eyasu is working with, for their steadfastness and faith.
  • Eskinder is experiencing some relief from his back pain! Continue to pray for complete healing.
  • The new church that was planted most recently is doing very well! Belay is serving as their pastor, please pray for him!
  • The Oromo translation is finally finished!

Prayer

  • Eyasu would like to hold a training in Hawassa area for 60 evangelists, but we need to come up with $3,000 for the expenses!
  • For Eskinder’s son, who is graduating high school in 20 days.
  • For Eskinder’s church, a new church plant in the last 3 years, they have recently lost their building and need to find another place to meet.

USA

Praise

  • We have a new office at the Luis Palau Association! It has been a wonderful blessing already to our US based staff.
  • for Susanna Ballard, who is working as an intern this summer and will be helping Rich to write the training manual.
  • Dara’s family has recovered their health and their son Carsten is now sleeping through the night fairly regularly!

Prayer

  • For continued needs for funding for staff positions.
  • For Nicole as she continues to look for more work.
  • For Rich as he works on new materials for Muslim Background Believers and meets with the Muslim Connection group at Village Baptist to ask for further insight and wisdom.
  • For David’s family as he continues to raise support
  • For Rick Cordell, his support is currently only at 30% of what he needs!
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer May 14th–a warning for Cameroon, thousands more clamoring to be trained in Nigeria
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May 7th, Praise and Prayer!

Praise and Prayer ~ May 7, 2018

Nigeria:

Praise

  • for the success of the trainings we planned in April!
  • for the safety of the trainees and trainers as they traveled northern Nigeria and Lagos. 
  • Peter and Rich met with and designated people to begin organizing a conference for 1000 Muslim background believers
  • Rick and Osang had a great experience ministering at the medium security prison and the womens’ prison in Lagos.
  • there was a training cancelled last year in Niger, that is now rescheduled with 60 people registered to attend! There are a lot of new believers in the area because of an outreach NLFA did, and they want to know how to follow up with them! Peter, Samuel, Osang, and Mwanta will all be traveling up to do the training on the 27th of May (the training runs through the 2nd of June).

Prayer

  • for the NLFA training, 10 evangelists will now go to evangelize and follow up in Shendam.
  • for protection for those attending the Muslim background believer conference; they face dangers from people in their own community, as well as non-Muslim communities along the way, who may suspect them of being attackers. We are going to notify villages and communities along the way of their coming and work with local defense organizations so they know they are not a danger.
  • We are trusting God to raise money to support them, we will need $10,000 to pay for their travel, lodging, and food.
  • For rest for the Nigeria team and their families after all of the trainings this last month
  • for safety for Peter, Samuel, Osang, and Mwanta the end of May as they travel up to Niger to do the training!
  • For Peter’s wife for her ongoing health issues, Peter is taking her to the doctor this week to verify the diagnosis she’s been given of hepatitis so they can start treatment.

Cameroon:

Praise

  • For a safe refuge for the refugees in Mbingo.

Prayer

  • still no news of our trainees in Anyajua since the military surrounded the community and began killing people (they suspected that there were local militia organizing).
  • Florence says that almost every family in Mbingo is hosting refugees from Belo and Anyajua after the govt. attacks, and they are on the verge of a food crisis. In her area, and in the area surrounding the hospital she knows of 32 families supporting 201 refugees. Prayer for support for them, mercy for them from God, and peace for the country so that they can return to their homes.

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • all is quiet, the country is experiencing peace!
  • the Oromo translation of the materials is complete! Eskinder will be sending it up by Wednesday
  • all is falling into place for the July trainings!

Prayer

  • Eskinder is suffering from terrible pain in his back—prayer for healing!
  • Prayer for health of Eskinder’s family
  • Prayer for 10 persecuted MBBs that Eyasu is counseling

USA

Praise

  • for the new office at the Palau organization’s site! Our orientation is tomorrow. We’re looking forward to making connections and working alongside so many dedicated fellow believers
  • David’s family received a donation of a second car that will make things easier for their family
  • 2 couples have decided to support David’s family!
  • David will speak Wednesday about the ministry of FFICM at Portland Christian School.

Prayer

  • Dara and Ian’s kids (Odette and Carsten) are sick with high fevers. Prayer for healing for the kids and rest for the parents!
  • David and Denise’s son Asher is sick and has to miss school, and their son Ben is beginning counseling tomorrow for dealing with anger in the face of all the change in his life (he also struggles with eyesight issues and ADHD, which make schooling difficult!) Prayer for their family and healing both physical and emotional for their sons.
  • Nicole is still looking for full-time work! Prayer for provision for her and the exact right job opportunity.
Richard GardnerMay 7th, Praise and Prayer!
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Light in the Darkness: Evangelism, Follow-up, and prayer in Lagos prisons

Rick and Osang finished the training for the prison fellowship members in Lagos today! There were over 40 chaplains and volunteers representing four different prisons. There were a wide range of denominations represented—Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, all eager to learn to evangelize and follow-up with new believers. Because of the terrible traffic in Lagos, their time was cut short to 6 hours per day instead of the usual 8, but even so, they were able to press through all of the materials because of how quickly the trainees caught on, and how motivated they were!

Each volunteer wrote out a plan to use the gospel card and schedule follow-ups in the areas surrounding their homes and work places. Please pray for them as they so quickly put their training into practice! 

Tomorrow, Rick and Osang will visit three of the prisons represented in the training and preach to the inmates that are Christians. Life in these prisons is extremely challenging—it is hot and crowded, and there are open sewers. Many of the prisoners have been waiting for years for their trials. The Christian prisoners among them want to continue to be useful and connected with the church outside and have asked to be a prayer support to FFICM in Nigeria. Please pray for these dear brothers and sisters as even in the most difficult and hopeless of situations, their desire is to grow, to reach out, and to bless others. 

Richard GardnerLight in the Darkness: Evangelism, Follow-up, and prayer in Lagos prisons
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Praise and Prayer ~ April 30

Nigeria:

Praise

  • Deeply impressed with reports from the COCIN (Church of Christ in Nigeria) young adult leaders on the FFICM training, the general secretary wants Peter and Rich to present to the leadership for the whole church, so that they can mobilize all the leadership in COCIN to be trained in evangelism and follow-up. We will continue training their young adults as requested while they work this out!
  • Rich met with the former Muslim sheik and the head of NLFA (New Life for All) and they have a vision and are developing a plan to have a conference for Muslim background believers (also known as MBBs) for their encouragement and to also train them how to safely evangelize and follow up. The plan is to have 1,000 attendees, all by personal invitation.
  • We’re so thankful for all the team’s safe traveling!
  • Rick and Osang are in Lagos training 42 members of prison fellowship who work in the local prisons. They are expecting more, and are excited about the group as they are highly responsive, quick learners, and really appreciative.
  • Rich and Peter are training missionaries from NLFA this week, who will go immediately afterwards to rural posts near Maijuju for a week to evangelize and follow-up with new believers!
  • The Jalingo training went really well! A number of people came to know the Lord during the training as a result of the outreaches. The bishop of the denomination stayed through the whole training and is encouraging other pastors to come to our trainings.
  • The Methodist training in Jalingo that had been cancelled is now rescheduled for October!
  • Jerebest, Peter’s three-year-old boy, was healthy this whole trip that Peter was gone!

 

 

Prayer

  • Rich and Peter are teaching this week and are suffering from a severe stomach bug. Prayer for healing!
  • Rick and Osang have run into technical issues, the gospel cards were not folded right, and 20-30 percent of them are unusable! Prayer that all of the other details go smoothly.
  • prayer as we begin planning the conference for MBBs, as we will be helping out a lot with finances, and Rich is hoping to bring two expat speakers as well (hopefully someone from Voice of the Martyrs).
  • Comfort made it safely home, but her hometown in Maiduguri is being battered by the Boko Haram. Recently, over a hundred girls were abducted from a local school nearby. Five girls died, all except one were returned to their families. The one Christian girl who refused to convert to Islam, they have kept her. Please pray for mercy and strength for her, and that she will be able to return home, and for safety for the villagers as they continue to suffer attacks by this evil group of people.

Cameroon

Praise

  • The hospital staff continue to minister the gospel to their patients.

Prayer

  • The general secretary reported that no one has been able to return to Belo. Some are in Bamenda, and some are hiding in the bushes. The military came to the village of Anyadra, (where Peter taught the locals to evangelize and follow-up his second week in Cameroon this past trip) because they had heard that some of the young men were developing a militia to protect themselves, and they killed every young person they could find. The general secretary has not been able to get a hold of the people in the village to find out what happened to our trainees—please pray for their safety.

Ethiopia

Praise

  • Everything is going well with the arrangements for the trainings for university students during the summer!
  • Eyasu has an open door for ministry that God has opened! He has received invitations to train evangelists and teach follow-up in seminaries. He will soon train 12 evangelists.

Prayer

  • Continued prayer for Eyasu and Eskendir’s support!
  • Eyasu’s daughter is defending her thesis in psychology for her bachelor’s degree in a couple of weeks. Prayer for her preparation, peace for her heart, and success in her academics!
  • Continued prayer needed for Eskendir’s project setting up trainings for rural churches!

USA

Praise

  • A supporter donated a car to David’s family!
  • Praise God for new financial partners for David’s ministry as he continues to switch over to FFICM.
  • Praise God for the dedication of Dara and Ian’s son, Carsten

Prayer

  • Dara’s father-in-law, a long-time congregational care pastor, is suffering damage from a heart attack he had a while ago and is going in this week to see if there are options to help him with his heart that don’t involve open-heart surgery. Prayer for her husband Ian as well.
  • Prayer for Nicole, as she needs more employment than her work for FFICM, and is going on an important interview this week!
  • Prayer for a friend of Davids in southern Oregon, who has walked away from the Lord and has denied ever having known him.
  • Prayer for more financial partners for David, who is currently at 70% of his target support level.
Richard GardnerPraise and Prayer ~ April 30
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Prayer and Praise April 23 ~ Jalingo training

USA—

Praise

  • David Moore is back safely from his trip to Indonesia!
  • Susanna Ballard will be able to join us for an internship this summer. Thank God for the work he will do through her.
  • Dara and Ian’s son Carsten will be dedicated this coming Sunday!

Prayer

  • for resources for more support staff and trainers
  • for wisdom as we look to God to guide us as to how best to expand
  • for finances for Dara and Ian as they pay off school loans and support their family.
  • for continued smooth transition for David Moore’s supporters
  • for wisdom as we continue to work with a graphic artist and illustration artist to reformat our materials!
  • for wisdom as Dara, Nicole, and David attend seminars this month as to learn how best to improve our communications and finances.

Nigeria—

Praise

  • All of the trainers, including the first trainees have arrived safely!
  • The trainees went out for their first outreach using the materials this evening.
  • Rich and Peter met with trainees from the last training in the area, and it seems that they have done a lot, organized a lot of trainings since we were here last year! We will receive more details later on.
  • Peter just received word that a training one of our trainees had organized in Bali that had had to be cancelled months ago was rescheduled and was successful, praise God! We will hear more later.
  • Peter’s son Jerebest is doing well so far, pray for his family’s continued health!
  • FFICM will do a training in October in Abuja with the help of our board member and friend, Daniel Bako.

Prayer

  • It is 102 degrees and humid in Jalingo! Pray for cooler weather as it is tiring the trainers to teach in the weather.
  • Pray for the remaining trainees as they travel to join us in Jailing for safety on the road.
  • Comfort reported that the local Muslims and the Boko Haram have been committing terrible atrocities in her area (Borno state) against Christians, particularly Christian women. They have been kidnapping young girls and forcing their fathers to come and witness the “marriages” to the kidnappers, and the girls that are ransomed, they pour acid on them before sending them home. There are girls that are in the hospital. Please pray for them and for protection for our dear sisters and brothers in Borno state.
  • One of our trainees from last year said her father is in the hospital, and asks for prayer that God will heal him.
  • One of our trainees, a pastor from Bali, asks for prayer for his wife, who is on bedrest because of pregnancy complications. She has been sent to Jos for better medical care.
  • Joy, a woman who was impacted by our ministry in the area, and is following the Lord, has AIDS and is trying to go to school to become a teacher but faces many health and personal challenges. Please pray for her! If you would like to encourage her, you can e-mail your prayer of encouragement to dara@test.fficm.org.
  • Samuel’s wife Jessica is struggling while Samuel is gone to take care of herself while pregnant, please pray for protection and health for her and the baby.
  • Osang’s wife has a fever, pray for her healing!

Ethiopia—

Praise

  • Eskendir and Eyasu’s families are doing well!
  • the country is still at peace

Prayer

  • please continue to pray for preparation for July training for university students
  • Eskendir has been working hard to set up trainings in rural churches, which should be coming up soon! Pray that the set-up goes well and for wisdom for where to hold them.
  • There is 1 month and 15 days till Eskendir’s oldest son’s grade 12 exam! Pray for him to do well.
  • Eskendir is struggling with his personal finances, prayer that God will provide!
Richard GardnerPrayer and Praise April 23 ~ Jalingo training
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COCIN youth training–Peter Wash’s report!

About a year ago the vice president of COCIN, Rev. Obed Dashan, met with Rick Cordell, one of our staff, and they talked about how we could use FFICM’s materials and training to benefit their churches. He referred Rick immediately to the national coordinator of COCIN youth ministries, who was instantly excited about working with us to train hundreds (or thousands) of their youth workers all over Nigeria.

Since then, we have had a series of meetings with Alex (the national Youth Coordinator) about which of the regions to start with. Just a few weeks ago the regional church council in Turu, about 20 minutes from Jos, asked us to come right away. The training began Wednesday 11th April and went through Saturday 14th April at the RCC headquarters, Turu. We had about 50 participants on the first day, and we ended with 65.

The participants said this training was unlike any other conference they had been to, they were trained to share their faith and how to teach the new believers the essentials of the Christian faith.

“In the past I could not stand and witness to somebody, but as a result of what I learned today I was able to witness and the person even prayed to receive Christ,” said Christiana John.  Luck Ezekiel Mwanvwang and Tengwong Ishaya said that the devotions on leadership qualities [given by Peter each day] really opened their eyes to the challenges in life and how to overcome them in order to become a true leader. 

As they went out to share their faith during the practicals, some parents at one of the houses were so impressed that as young as they were they were going out to preach to their peers and others. They encouraged them strongly to continue with this outreach, to rescue local youths that were into drugs and wasting their lives. 

  Some women were so impressed with the group, they volunteered to cook them all breakfast on Saturday to encourage them. Of course not all the responses were positive. One of the groups met a man on a bicycle—they stopped him and preached to him, but after a while he said, “Please allow me to go before I will say something that will make God angry.”

The group leaders went to the regional church council chairman to report to him what the training was all about; he then said that he wants to partner with us to train every leader and pastor in the RCC (regional church council) so they can reach all the areas around their churches in the district.

The leader told us that they went out to a village last year where they preached with only their ideas and their Bibles, without any materials or knowledge of how to preach, and had limited results. But now they want to go back there to follow up, and with this training they believe that the fruits of their labor will last. They then came up with their plan for using the training as follows:

  1. Those trained are to continue to evangelize using the materials they got from their immediate church congregations and local areas.
  2. They are to be organizing the training from one local area to another, to enable them to saturate the whole RCC (regional church council) with this training, with this material to enable them to get more people trained that can join them whenever they want to go out for witnessing.
  3. They will set target areas to reach out to every month and conduct follow-up with youths from those areas.
  4. They want to screen those that can handle the materials well, and use them to conduct trainings in other local areas (and even other RCCs). They are willing to send reports of what they are doing from the church council. Whenever there is a need of volunteers, they are willing to assist us with trainings in other COCIN churches in nearby regions.

Alex, the National Coordinator from COCIN headquarters in Jos, came to see what we were doing on Friday, and encouraged the youth for taking the bold step to implement this in their RCC. He then prayed for them and advised them to put this training to practice so that they will be a model for other RCCs to follow. The Chairman of the RCC also came to greet them on Saturday and he encouraged the youths to take this training seriously and use it.

Many of the youth personally testified how the training had impacted them. Davou M. Mang said, “This training really empowered me, and I am touched to know many things about my responsibilities as a teacher.  I learned (1) not to just lead people, but to evangelize and follow them up; (2) to be courageous in my leadership, and not just follow the crowd; (3) to know the training techniques on evangelism and follow-up.  I have picked up the challenge to be sure that I evangelize as part of my leadership.  Thanks to God for the opportunity to be trained by FFICM!”

Chomo Tengwong Mwanti said, “I would like to commend this ministry for their initiative in this training.  Though I had expected it to be a typical church program, I discovered it was unique, and different from what I had thought.  Truly this training has changed and affected my life positively.  It has spiritually equipped me, especially in the area of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  I have learned an easy approach to presenting the gospel and to nurture anyone who accepts the message, pointing them towards maturity.”

Daniel David Dalyop said, “It was honestly an exciting moment, as I was trained to reach out to non-Christians, and also equipped with the knowledge on how to nurture and care for a baby Christian.  It was indeed wonderful and joyous to imagine myself reaching out to non-believers and winning numerous souls for Christ!…I extend my profound gratitude to FFICM and to anybody who put in efforts toward the success of this training program, which has deeply inspired me.”

Praise God for his work through the training! And praise God for the dedicated youth that he will continue to move through to draw many to Himself in lasting relationship.

Richard GardnerCOCIN youth training–Peter Wash’s report!
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April 17 Prayer and Praise from the team!

Nigeria:

Praise

  • Thank God for the training in Vom! The youth leadership is extremely committed. Continue to pray for them as they train others who could not make it to the training ground.
  • We had a good week with our prospective new head trainers, Mwanta and Samuel!
  • A twelve year old boy went along with the youth to evangelize and learn about follow-up. Praise God for him and pray for the calling on his life!
  • The Hausa translation was just completed!

Prayer

  • The 25 year old daughter of one of our new converts in Rahai is suffering terribly from demon possession. Whenever a fit overtakes her, and she is not herself or is unable to speak they rush her to receive prayer, and she immediately becomes normal again, but the family, especially her father, desperately desires her complete freedom from this oppression. Her name is Jennifer.
  • Pray for the upcoming trip to Jalingo! There have been attacks surrounding Jalingo and the roads are not always safe. Pray also for the 250 LCCN pastors who are the trainees!
  • Margaret Icheoma, wife of the registrar at Gindiri, who Rick has worked with, is undergoing major surgery this week.

Cameroon:

Praise

  • The hospital workers in Mbengo have led 37 to the Lord!

Prayer

  • We heard from Florence that the situation in Cameroon is seriously deteriorating. Belo, where we held our conference just last month, is a ghost town. Everyone has fled, because after the separatists killed a couple of officers, the military came back and by reports on the ground, started indiscriminately killing all of the young people. The same is true of the village where Peter taught the second week in Cameroon. Mbengo is still safe, but it is not safe in the surrounding villages.
  • The churches in Cameroon have called 21 days of prayer starting yesterday! Please join them in prayer as you feel led.

USA

Praise

  • Susanna Ballard will most likely be interning with us this summer! We’re excited to see how the Lord will use her.
  • Rich has been meeting with Muslim ministry groups in the US to talk about outreach to new converts, and we will be doing a forum with Muslim converts to better understand how to help them!

Prayer

  • We’re still waiting to hear about office space! We’re hoping we can find a location soon
  • We have needs for funding for more support staff and trainers.
  • Still pray for our office with Luis Palau organization.
  • Pray for Rich’s trip, which begins Thursday!
  • David is traveling back from Indonesia–prayers for safe travels!
  • prayer for working with the graphic artist–we’re having difficulties finding the right way to format the materials for maximum impact.

Ethiopia:

Praise

  • The Tigre and Oromo translations are finished!
  • Continued praise for peace and the hope of a peaceful and unified Ethiopia under the new PM.

Prayer

  • continued prayers for upcoming trainings in July with university students!
  • prayer for the family of the nine year old boy that died.
  • prayer for the church which has many members recovering from substance abuse.
Richard GardnerApril 17 Prayer and Praise from the team!
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Prayer and Praise: FFICM finishing strong March 2018!

Prayer Requests and Praise, March 26th 2018

 

Nigeria

 

 

 

 

Prayer

  • Samuel Fom’s wife is sick. She is pregnant and overworked herself. She fell ill and felt pain in her womb. Her name is Jessica.
  • Rick asks for continued prayers as he is still speaking in classes at Gindiri Theological Seminary.
  • There are many upcoming trainings to pray for! 1) This coming week Emmaus Bible Fellowship is having their national conference outside of Jos and asked us to train 120 of their leaders Wednesday–Saturday 2) Training In Jalingo with 150 pastors from the UMC. 3) Another training the next week with 250 LCCN pastors! They are all being required to attend by their denomination.
  • Pray for journey mercies for Rich (he will travel from the US to help train the 250 LCCN pastors as well as meet with a local sheik to talk about reaching Muslims).
  • Pray for journey mercies for Peter, Rick, and the team as they travel to Jalingo over roads which are subject to attack by Fulani Muslims.
  • Pray for Peter Wash’s 3 year old boy, Jerebest, who is often sick or suffers from insomnia when Peter is gone.
  • Fulani Muslims continue to attack communities surrounding Jos, killing people including children. Pray for peace and safety.
  • one of our trainees from Bali organized an outreach after training 6 churches in follow-up. However, their outreach to their chosen village was thwarted by a funeral that turned too rowdy; it was not safe. They had to reschedule. Prayer that God will cause the outreach to go through.
Praise
  • Peter got a modem for the office, so now they have access to e-mail while in the office. 
  • The Gindiri Seminary FFICM training ended on Thursday, and the students went out during the week to share the gospel. There were many stories of how successful it was. Several students said they wished they had had the training prior to their big outreach during the semester, so we are planning on doing the training earlier next year!
  • The faculty at Gindiri including the provost have been so encouraged by our trainings with them. They said that until now they haven’t had a way of practically equipping the students for their field work. They affirmed that they want to continue working with us.
  • Rick heard personally from one student on Sunday that he had shared the gospel with several people who gave their lives to Jesus and he is scheduling follow-up meetings with them.
  • There were about 20 or 30 women who did not understand English, so Sam, Osang, and Peter took turns taking them to a separate room to do the training in Hausa, and this worked well!
  • COCIN and RCC are interested in doing trainings with us.
Ethiopia
 
Prayer
 
  • The nine-year-old possessed boy we have been praying for has died. His family is in mourning, but presented the gospel to the community at his funeral, and have been standing strong. Pray for them and for the new church, which has 20 more people who are waiting to be baptized. 
  • pray for peace for Ethiopia as they continue to decide on the prime minister. 
  • prayer for Eskendir as he is receiving many requests from rural churches who are eager for the training, and is wanting wisdom to know how to allocate resources, and is still needing support.
  • prayer for Eyasu as he is having some difficulties in communication and collaboration in his denomination. 
Praise
 
  • for the opportunity to train 200 students that we are working towards this July!
  • that the rural church and the bereaved family outside of Addis are standing strong. 
  • for peace thus far in Ethiopia.
 
USA
 
Prayer
 
  • The April Beaverton follow-up training group is small! Pray for more participants, or for God to powerfully use each and every person currently signed up
  • prayer for the board meeting tomorrow, for wisdom as we pray about expanding, and our need for finances and staff.
  • Dara’s close friend has a cousin with a seven week old baby Lucas, with a severe chromosome disorder where his skin falls apart. He was recently released from OHSU and requires 24/7 care. Barring divine intervention, the boy will not survive to 2 years old. Prayer for miraculous healing, and for his heart-broken parents, who have 2 other children to care for, and are also believers praying for their son’s healing.
Richard GardnerPrayer and Praise: FFICM finishing strong March 2018!
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Prayer for our Teams

Every Monday our available team members across the US, Nigeria, and Ethiopia (and sometimes other locations as they travel) call in, share prayer requests, and lift one another up!

We would like to share those prayer requests with you and ask you, as you feel led, to lift us up as well!

Nigeria:

  • There are difficulties with our communication with the ERCC (an important partner denomination). Pray that we can find another contact person (our current contact is the very busy head of the denomination).
  • March 19th, there will be a training in Gindiri Theological Seminary! There are 150 students signed up. Pray for the training; that they will use the training effectively after they graduate and be blessed.
  • March 30th, Peter and Rick will lead a training with prison fellowship in Lagos.
  • We have the potential for a training in Abuja through our friend and board member Daniel Bako
  • Prayer for the change of FFICM’s official name in Nigeria to go through.
  • There were attacks on villages outside of Jos in Bokkos. At least 19, villagers, including children killed, 200 buildings burned. Prayer for peace and for the families of those who died.
  • Prayer for Bali, those we have trained in October have organized another training–6 churches are collaborating. They are planning an outreach after the training.
  • Prayer for Niger, one of our trainees organized a training for 40, and ended up with 70 people. They are planning an outreach after the training!
  • Prayer for Peter, hoping to take an MA class at JETS seminary
  • Prayer for Rick, needing to raise more support for his trip.
Ethiopia:
  • Announcement of new prime minister to occur soon! Prayer for long-lasting peace.
  • The translation of the materials in one language is complete, the translations of other two languages are to follow. First draft of Tigre translation is complete. We will send gospel tract to refugee camps soon. Prayer for God to use the new materials.
  • Prayers needed for 9 year old boy suffering demon possession, the son of of new converts in church outside of Addis. Prayer for his family and the new church, comprised largely of former addicts, as well.
  • Plans are in place to do trainings in the universities in July! Prayer for the arrangements to go well and for God to call the right people to attend.
USA:
  • prayer for April training. For God to call the right people to join us!
  • prayer for David’s support, and for his sharing about the ministry at the Ambassadors lunch on Thursday.
  • prayer for Dara’s recovery from illness.
  • prayer for Rich’s recovery from two intense trips.

Thank you and God bless you for standing with us and our hard-working teams!

Richard GardnerPrayer for our Teams
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Starting Strong–Peter’s Report

FFICM started the year with prayer and fasting on Thursday January 4th; we met with those we are training to join the organization as well as the volunteers. We prayed to thank God for the past year and for the programs we have organized for this year, and for God’s protection also to enable us raise more workers and open doors for prayer supporters.

We then started training in Rinji Toro DCC during 8th-12 of January, where we had expected 80 people, but we only ended up with 10 people. The time was still important as the 10 who came were so committed; it was also a valuable time for the new trainers that we are developing to practice teaching on field. These trainers had their first real experience of comparing notes as trainers in order to learn from each other.

Two weeks after the training, one of those we trained (Evangelist Nyam) called us to give a report on what the trainees were doing. They had reached out to 7 people who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Five of these new believers need Bibles, and one of them who was a Muslim, has had to move with his whole family for safety reasons, because the Muslims in his village threatened to kill him.

Comfort from Maiduguri (one of those we are developing as a trainer) organized a training for 27 people.  where she trained them on how to use the gospel cards and how to conduct the follow-up lessons. This was so encouraging to hear as those she trained are preparing to do an evangelistic outreach in the nearby villages. Please pray for God’s protection as they move through those villages.

Those Muslim converts we brought from up north whose lives were in danger, are doing very well in the discipleship training center! They are now memorizing scriptures and  articles of faith. Their meals and health have been all taken care of. They even went to their villages and had Christmas break with their parents and came back safely. We went and visited them and they shared their desires and hope after the training to go to seminary to have a proper understanding of the Bible!

Richard GardnerStarting Strong–Peter’s Report
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Gospel Marathon

On February 8th, Rich will leave for Nigeria, and Peter will pick him up from the airport to take him to Jos. The week in Nigeria will be packed! Not only will Rich and Peter will work to get the updated follow-up materials translated into Hausa and English and formatted with the new artwork, but they are going to set the follow-up materials in a program where they can more easily print the materials into even more languages!

The next Saturday, Rich, Peter, Rick, and the team of Nigerian speakers will travel to Ikom, Nigeria, close to the border of Cameroon. There is a real danger of kidnapping for Rich and Rick particularly here, so please pray for their safety! The next day the Cameroonians will meet them at the border and pick them up for a 6 hour trip to Belo, where there will be 1,000 church leaders, evangelists, and members from two Baptist denominations who are assembling to learn about the “True Gospel”. Rich will lead larger plenary sessions, and Peter will lead small groups of trainees in the follow-up lessons.

The next week, the FFICM Nigeria team will divide into two groups and will teach follow-up in two separate locations, in two shifts at each location! The first location is the hospital in Mbengo, Cameroon, where there are 200 nurses, doctors, and support staff who are eager to be trained to reach the sick and dying at their hospital! The second location also has 200 people waiting to be trained.

After this, Rich travels back to the airport in the capital, Yaunde, and flies to Addis Abbaba, in Ethiopia, where he will meet with Eyasu, Eskendir, and a couple of translators to help them translate and format the materials into all three of the major languages in Ethiopia; Oromo, Tigre, and Amharic!

Rich will also travel a couple of hours outside of Addis to a village where there is a church comprised entirely of addicts, where there were recently 31 more people baptized.

There is also a little nine-year-old boy (the son of the first converts in the church) who needs prayer–he is suffering from paralysis related to demon possession. Please pray for Rich and those who will pray for this boy, and for his freedom in Jesus’ name.

On this trip, we pray that God will bless our team with safety, strengthen and encourage our brothers and sisters who work night and day for the sake of Christ, and guide each one of us with wisdom and with the Holy Spirit’s power, as we pray and reach out to those who are without Jesus in this world!

Richard GardnerGospel Marathon
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The Transformation of Rashalang

Last year, December 2016, Peter organized a training in his home town, Rashalang, at a local church. The church leaders and members that they trained did an evangelistic outreach in the village, and started a new church in August of 2017! They invited us to come back and teach the new members the basic follow-up materials. This January, 2018, Peter and his team of volunteers led a week long follow-up training in which there were 80 people! Ezekiel Bot, one of the volunteers, went out and evangelized during the training, and seven adults and over twenty children gave their lives to Christ!

One of the new converts testified in front of the whole congregation that he had been drinking and doing drugs, but he knows he cannot live that life anymore as his life now belongs to Christ, and he asked for their prayers to help him to stand firm in his faith! He came the next day to worship, and we taught him from the follow-up lessons.

We need to pray for this new church, that God will cause it to grow. Some of the new members are struggling with substance abuse, and the church has been mocked in the community as a church for addicts, but the new members have shown that they are serious about changing their lives, praise God!

Rich GardnerThe Transformation of Rashalang
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Ministry on the Go: Siberia Edition!

Rich and Carl flew to Moscow and traveled to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where they were planning to regroup before going on to a remote location called Ungut to conduct a training for thirty local pastors. While in Krasnoyarsk, they discovered that the man who had been responsible for organizing the training (and Roman had met twice with) had developed serious brain swelling and a tumor and hadn’t been doing any of the preparations! He said there were 8 people at Ungut who could be trained.

Rich, Carl, and Roman decided that they would still conduct the training for the eight. While they were in Krasnoyarsk, they met with the gathered pastors and ministry leaders. Rich presented on the ministry of FFICM to train nationals to follow-up with new believers, and Carl spoke about the unique need to minister to pastors, who are often isolated from the rest of the church.

The church leaders were moved by the presentation and would like to partner in the future! The pastor of a retreat center outside of Krasnoyarsk opened up to Carl and said that he felt as though Carl had come to speak directly to his heart.

After the meeting, Rich, Carl and Roman prayed over the city.

Pictured above are Roman, Carl, and Rich, after praying with church leaders.

Maxim, the pastor who had been moved by Carl’s testimony, invited them to visit the center for recovering substance abusers he runs. During the drive, Carl, with Roman translating, ministered to Maxim and helped him work through a difficult interpersonal situation. They were told that they would have to walk over a mile in the snow at the end of the drive, as there was no road leading straight to the center, but when they got to the field, there was a tractor attached to a cart. They all piled in, gratefully, with the supplies!

Click the link below to see the sled ride as it happened!

siberian sled ride

Rich and Carl spoke to the group, and one of them, Yuri, made a decision to receive Christ at the meeting.

The next day, Rich, Carl and Roman drove to Ungut, a location far outside of cell-service and communication.

When they arrived, they discovered that the 8 people at the camp were not pastors or ministers, but also recovering addicts. Rich and Carl decided to reschedule the training, as their ministries focus primarily on equipping nationals and pastors.

Roman, whose ministry is primarily evangelism, stayed in Ungut to see what he could do, and ended up sharing the gospel with 30 children!

We thank you all for your prayers for the trip and for Rich, Carl, and Roman as they worked together! We would deeply appreciate your prayers for protection and wisdom for possible future trips to Siberia, as the enemy was able to thwart the training in Ungut by striking at the pastor who was responsible for the organization. Please pray for hm and his family. We thank God for bringing eternal fruit from the trip, and for accomplishing his purposes!

We were blessed to minister in this beautiful country, and pray that God continues to break in to Siberia in power!

 

Rich GardnerMinistry on the Go: Siberia Edition!
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Adventures in Kansk

Kansk is a beautiful town on the edge of the river Kan–a river which was once the site of a terrible battle, after which legend has it, the river tasted of blood for many years. Now the river Kan is a peaceful city where a pastor and his family hosted Sarina, Rich, and Roman in Kansk while they carried out their ministry.

pastor and daughter

While in Kansk, the pastor’s best friend, who is not a Christian, asked if Sarina would visit his family and hang out with his daughter, who is interested in America and is learning English. Her name is Ana–though they call her Anya. Sarina loved hanging out with Anya and her family; they talked about their different school systems, social media (Russians don’t use Facebook very much, they have their own version) and their families. They both like a lot of the same music and tv shows because Anya listens to a lot of American music and movies!

Sarina was overwhelmed by the hospitality of Russians in general and especially Anya’s family, “They offer you tea or coffee every five seconds and keep asking until you say yes, so you have to drink really slowly! They really pampered us.”

“They love their fruit and their drinks– they offer you tea or coffee every five seconds, keep asking until you say yes so you have to drink really slowly. They really pampered us!”

Christians don’t drink in Russia as drinking to excess has become such a problem, but they all drink Kvas, a Russian non-alcoholic drink that Sarina described as, “kind of like Kombucha, but instead of tea, it’s fermented bread excess.” They also drink a green drink called Tarragon that “looks like swamp water, but is bubbly and sweet!”

Anya’s family had Sarina over at their “dacha”—a summer house which is right on the banks of the river Kan. They have a banya built into their house. They told Sarina hat they sleep in their banya in the winter, which she could not believe she was hearing accurately until she saw them moving sleeping bags and blankets out of it before they turned it on.  

Sarina did the banya, 7 or 8 times–you go into the hot steam and then run out and jump into the river. She even up to the highest level (where it burns when you breathe and is 203 degrees!) and received the traditional Russian whipping with hot birch branches to improve circulation, before then running out and jumping into the river. They were all impressed with how many times Sarina let herself be hit with birch branches!

the river Kan

After the banya she went out to feed the fish with Anya. She had a hard time understanding that they really meant they were going to feed the fish, so she kept saying that she was a vegetarian, but at last they led her out to the river and she and Anya fed fish pieces of bread and relaxed while while a lightning storm flashed over the river.

Sarina and the rest of the team thanks you for your prayers for them on the trip as we continue to to get to know Russian culture and pray that our partnership in the gospel with them will continue to be fruitful!

 

Rich GardnerAdventures in Kansk
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Nigeria Evangelism conference 2017!

The Nigeria evangelism conference was a powerful time—The conference was held in a building that seated 1,000, but there were 2000-2500 additional people outside! The theme of the conference was, “The True Gospel”. Each of the speakers spoke about the nature of the true gospel, and warned about alternative gospels (such as the prosperity gospel and the gospel of good works). The prosperity gospel especially has taken root in Nigeria and other West African countries; everyone was greatly encouraged to hear so many wonderful teachings about the true gospel!

FFICM’s staff and volunteers conducted follow-up trainings with the 3000-3,500 evangelists that were there, along with smaller group sessions. Although we had some technical difficulties related to the printing of the materials, everyone was greatly encouraged by the teaching.

The governor of plateau state even showed up with his entire staff! He shut down the government in order to come and attend the conference. 

Rich also spoke on the true gospel on Friday following an all-night prayer vigil with all of the evangelists.

The FFICM team met with the Cameroonian delegation, and the Cameroonians urged FFICM to consider cancelling our post-conference trip to Cameroon, as there were youth from the English-speaking part of Cameroon planning to declare independence in early October. The military had increased its presence, and there was talk of shutting down the borders (which would have meant that the staff would have been trapped in the country, unable to return home.) FFICM decided to reschedule tentatively for November.

Please pray for the evangelists as they will conduct a massive joint outreach in the north at the end of October, and pray also for peace in Cameroon!

Thank you for your prayers and support;our hearts were greatly encouraged by this conference. We are in awe of the love, courage, and devotion to the true gospel shown by all brothers and sisters present–and we pray that you are encouraged with them as well as you are true partners with them in prayer!

Rich GardnerNigeria Evangelism conference 2017!
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God’s Bridge

Bonga is an economically depressed area far out in the wilderness, where there is no running water. They ended up changing accommodations mid-trip, because half the team got tired of having only Rich’s old coffee pot to heat water to bathe with!

Animism is the main competing religion to Christianity; the evangelists from the area told Rich there are over 1,000 witch doctors active. Bonga is well-known for a couple of other reasons as well, it is within a half a mile of where coffee was discovered, and has a beautiful natural bridge called “God’s bridge”. 

When Rich, Roman, Eskendir and Eyasu arrived, their local hosts urged them to come on a walk to see it before the training, saying it was only ten minutes away. They decided to go see it, as Eskendir also told the group that he had been baptized there in secret during communist times!

By the time Rich, Roman, and Eyasu realized it would take much longer than ten minutes, they had already been fighting their way through deep mud down treacherously steep terrain for so long that they did not want to give up. Rich said that this was by far the most physically challenging trip he has ever gone on–and he has hiked over mountains to reach people groups in Nigeria!

Along the way, they also saw a poisonous green snake that their guides told them if it bit any one of them, they would die if they didn’t get help in time.

The bridge was stunning to see, and Rich was glad to have seen it. However, on the trip back up, he fell completely down at last, was covered in mud, and had to be dragged out by the arms by the others. By the time they fought their way up to the training location, they were an hour and a half late. The rest of the team wanted Rich to take time to clean up, but Rich walked straight into class, and said, “Now, the rest of the team may remember it differently…” and proceeded to tell a long tale wherein he singlehandedly pulled all of the other men up the hill of mud, and fought off a poisonous snake to save their lives. The entire class howled with laughter through the story, and the training began with everyone in high spirits.

In Bonga, we had planned for 60 evangelists, but the local church paid for twenty three more of their people to come and join, calling back missionaries and workers from hundreds of miles away. Eyasu has already reported that they have begun training 1,121 church leaders and members in the evangelism and follow up training.

They need prayer as they begin doing this! Please pray for us and for them as we need more resources, more personnel and more funding, to do more trainings in Ethiopia to meet the need, and as they continue to work for the Lord in this challenging area!

Rich GardnerGod’s Bridge
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Eyasu’s report: trainees to reach 2,667!

Our training went very well by God’s grace, though it was so exhausting! Rich’s commitment is very encouraging. I’ve known him since 2007, studying together at Western Seminary, and the more I know him the more I see his commitment and strength.
We had two trainings in two weeks.The first week we trained 81 evangelists. We invited and budged for 60 but church leaders wanted to train more; at their own expense, they added 21. It was so awesome.

The second week we invited 60 again, as it is always our plan to train effectively and to have enough ministers for the area but again, 4 more people came, so we trained 64.

The total number of trainees was 145. When they go back to their assigned areas, they promised to train and disciple immediately, and have already written down the names of 2,667 people that they plan to train and disciple in how to evangelize and follow-up!

At the same time the trainers and trainees will evangelize and bring people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I discussed with Rich that as we train them how to follow up new believers we have also to follow our trainees up too so that they may do as they have promised.

Please pray for Ethiopia and for all of these committed new trainees!

Rich GardnerEyasu’s report: trainees to reach 2,667!
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Peter’s report: Taraba

In May we went to Takum, where the headquarters of CRCN and RCCN are located, to conduct a refresher training for those we trained in October of last year. Some of the leadership of the churches and denominations were there. The leadership of New life for All also participated throughout the training.

This refresher training opened my eyes to see how much we need to go back to places where we have trained people, to see what they are actually doing, and how they are doing it—and to learn how we can help them. We need to know answers to questions like these: What are the challenges they are encountering as they begin to use the training? How can we help them to overcome some of these challenges they are encountering? What were their plans during the strategic planning and how are they working on achieving them? How can we improve on our trainings or materials? We were able to ask these questions of our trainees in Takum and to help them work through the challenges they were facing.

We had series of obstacles and challenges on the trip.  As we left Jos, after we had picked up all of the seven sets of the follow-up materials, we forgot the Gospel cards in the office! The good thing was that all those who were with us in Takum were people we had trained before, so all of them came with their own materials and that made it easier to teach. But on the second day we discovered that the follow-up materials we had brought had been printed with mistakes—some of the pages had been mixed up. So we had to call Jos so that they could print the materials correctly, and send them to us.

We then left for Jalingo, but on the way, the top gasket of our car blew off, and the car had to spend the night being repaired. We arrived in Jalingo to discover that there had been serious miscommunication between the leadership there and the training schedule had not been arranged—so we had to immediately work to reschedule the trainings for the middle of the week, and split up into two groups.

We started in the first group with just 12 people, but by the time of our short break, there were 26 people. The people that came had all come for the training before. Because of this, it ended up being a refresher training. We asked them to tell us what has been happening with the training they received before. They started by the explaining how they had been going out as individuals to use the materials, but not as a group. We strongly encouraged them to strategize together and to support one another. Those we had trained from CRCN (in Takum) had gone out as a team to use the materials. They were able to plant a church—their ministry was much more effective when they worked together! Also, those who went to Kebbi State with New Life for All for the outreach in October used the materials there. 

Others shared that they have not been using the materials because they did not fully understood how to begin to use them on their own, but with what we have taught them now, they understand how to work together and think strategically, and will be able to effectively use the materials.

 One of the leaders said that he did not actually fully understand the materials when we taught them the last time, but with this second teaching he now understands exactly how we expect him to use the training to evangelize and to work with new believers.

After that week, we went to a different location in Jalingo, where we were to meet pastors from different denominations based on the arrangements we had last year with one of the reverends from Reformed Church of Christ in Nations (RCCN). He was to work on the arrangement with other pastors in his denomination as well as the bishop of the Lutheran church (who was also among the people we trained at Numan in 2015). The bishop was to talk to 20 pastors from his denomination. There was a miscommunication when the man we sent to set the training up went to see Reverend Ande. The second time he went, he did not meet him personally, but left the message with his secretary, who did not deliver the message, and so they were not expecting us. This was why the mobilization was a failure. Also, a part of the United Methodist Church refused to come, because we had invited a faction of the Methodist church which is revolting against their bishop.

With regard to the Methodist faction that is splitting, the General Secretary for New life for All went and talked to the bishop to let him know that we were coming again this time to train pastors from the Methodist Church. But when we arrived at the venue, there was nobody in the venue. So Reverend Ande called some of the leaders of his denomination, and asked them if they could send some of their pastors and evangelists to attend the training starting Wednesday. Also  a man we who came with us from Jos called some his friends from the Redeemed Peoples’ Mission church, and we were able to have 23 people who came from Wednesday to Saturday.

The vice president of RCCN (who is one of those that sent his pastors to be part of the seminar) came again to see how we were doing and how many of his pastors were there. He said, “This is what the church needs now in a time like this”. He wants to speak with us to find a time we can come and do a presentation about our training to the general counsel (of which he and Reverend Ande are members). He wants us to come next year, or at the end of the year to train more than a hundred people. He also said that the RCCN and CRCN together have over a thousand pastors (five hundred in each denomination) that he would like us to train.

After the training, some of the pastors gave their testimonies;

One of them said this seminar is different from any seminar he has attended because this training made him understand that we need to go back to the basics, to the foundational issues of our faith, when working with new believers. He said that this seminar taught him how to relate with new converts. He said, “The materials were very simple, and I learn how to bring my teaching to the new believer in simple terms, the way one would talk to a young child.”

Another pastor said, “I went somewhere and opened the Gospel card, and some people were just looking, and they started coming to me. I started preaching to them, and they all gave their lives to Christ.”

One of them said, “I believe with what I have learned here, my life will never remain the same. From the gospel card through the seven follow-up lessons, the new believer will now not be a foreigner to me. I want to assure this ministry that I will go back and impact the church and the pastors that have not been able to come here.”

One of them said that before they were using a theological strategy in which they tried to impress the new believer with how much they had learned about the faith and how much they knew, but this training showed us how to keep it simple, to keep our teaching at the level of the new believer just as one would approach a new born baby. He said, “This actually changed my perspective, and now I will not over-feed the new believer.” He is among the eight people who will be going to a village where there is no church in order to plant a church there. So he believes that the materials will be of great help to them.

In the same way Rev. Collins said that even though this is his twenty second year in ministry but he has not attended a training like this anywhere, in which people are taught to relate to new believers, and how to translate wha they have learned to a new believer in order to enable them to have assurance in their faith. He said, “I have also learned how to be a model to the new believer. I have already planned to start the training with the elders of the church, the leaders of the agencies in the general church. I want to be sure that every member of the church knows his or her faith in Christ.” 

We then concluded with the presentation of certificates the the prayer of dedication. They also wrote down their phone numbers and emails so that they can communicate with one another. They want to call the group together again some time to hear what is happening with each member.

 

Rich GardnerPeter’s report: Taraba
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God’s people rise from the ashes

The Ekklisiyar Yan’uwa Nigeria-EYN (Church of the Brethren) headquarters is at Kwarhi, roughly 10 kilometers from Mubi, a town that was destroyed by the Boko Haram fighters. We were 30 minutes from the Sambisa forest, which is the location the Boko Haram operate from. Most of the churches, if not all, in the town had been destroyed last year, and many Christians burned alive within. Our coming there was a great encouragement to the church, as they saw our co-worker Rick had come from overseas and the rest of us had come from other places to help them rebuild the spiritual lives of the people.

The training was originally planned for 120 people, but we ended up with only 51 people. Some of the church leaders whose job it was to pass along information to the coordinators did not do so. This denomination has about 70 districts, and all the district coordinators and secretaries were invited, along with the evangelism leaders of other churches. But the president of the denomination was there to welcome us and the director of evangelism and all of the other coordinators stayed all through with us during the training. We had to start the training early in order to be done in time for people to make it home by 6 pm—all of the roads are blocked by 6 in an attempt to protect travelers on the road from being killed by the Boko Haram.

The first day of the training was about the gospel tract presentation, and they were trained in how to communicate the basic things that a person needs to know to accept salvation, as simply and clearly as if they were talking to a small child. This approach was interesting to many; they said after the training that they felt as though they now knew how to reach out to people in their area. So when it was time for the field practical, they all went out to evangelize, and used the tract. The next day they came with reports of how they were using it; of how many were giving their lives to Christ and of how effective the tract is in catching peoples’ attention.

The outreach was an encouragement to all who participated, even in the midst of fear of the recent attacks. The trainees were surprised that when they went out and shared their faith, many people were anxious to receive Christ, and were willing to come for the next day for the follow-up training. The trainees think that the receptivity of the local people to the gospel has a lot to do with what the Boko Haram have done—people are afraid of death.

The director of Evangelism of the EYN Church, Rev. Daniel, who stayed throughout the training time and listened to all the sessions as we were teaching, said, “You have really helped the EYN church. This is what the church needed, but I was not sure who to call on to come and help us…I believe the Lord is going to do greater things than the outreach we have had already, as a result of this training.” On the last day he spoke and said, “We want to thank Firm Foundation for honoring our invitation to come and train us in this follow-up and evangelism and how to begin to disciple the new converts.” He also pleaded that we not be discouraged by the number of the people who had not come, because now that they have seen what we can do for them, they will do everything they can and prepare even beyond what we expect.

Evangelist Helen said, “I have been attending seminars on evangelism in Jos and in other places but I have not learned what I learned during this training; how to relate with the new believer and to follow him with the mindset that he is like a new baby that I have to handle with care.”

Another man said, “This is quite different from the way we pastors have taught people here. We have been more like fault-finders. But I have learned a lot from the trainers since we have started this training. They were not looking for faults in people. Even in the training, they did not focus on pointing out what people did wrong, they asked each trainee to think about what they would do differently, which makes the person feel confident and encouraged and willing to try again.”

Mr. Luka, who is from Gombe State, said he has learned how to take initiative in evangelism and follow-up without waiting for his leader to give him constant direction on what to do or where to go. During the devotions, he felt that he learned that some pastors are like wheel-barrows; when you push, they will move, and wherever you stop, there they will remain until somebody pushes them again. He said, “I was waiting on my superior to give me directions, but during this training I felt convicted about doing that and I am ready to move on with what I have learned from here. I pray that the Lord will give wisdom as I begin to put it into practice”.

Another trainee said, “I have known God since I was a child, but I became lost, I was not praying as I am expected to, I was not witnessing to others, I was not living to the standard that God has required of me. When I came here, I listened to the teaching and I was just weeping quietly. I feel refreshed now, and I want to continue with this work. I have learned not just how to witness to unbelievers with patience and how to follow them up, but also how to relate to God personally as a son relates to his father.”

A trainee called Martha lamented that she has a lot of unbelievers in her house that she has not yet taken time to reach out to, and here we had in our company a white man (Rick) who traveled all the way to come and teach us how to reach out to our people in spite of the risk of this area. She said, “This training encouraged me about the need to devote my time and life to witness to others.”

Elder Aminu spoke on behalf of the coordinators and said that the life the trainers had led among them during the training was also a lesson to all of them, especially the way the trainers were relating with one another without showing any seniority or racial differences. It encouraged the coordinators as to how they should work with others under them. He then begged that we not be discouraged with the turnout and decide not to come to EYN again, that even though there were few of them there, they will put what they have learned into practice, and EYN will experience a change, and we will see the result of our work.

So far, one of the women that we trained has come and collected materials because she is preparing to train 150 people! Please pray for her, and for the other trainees as they minister in this highly dangerous area where they all have suffered terrible persecution.

Richard GardnerGod’s people rise from the ashes
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More on the Mbingo, Cameroon training–Peter Wash

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The training at Mbingo was a huge success with a good number of attendants. It took us by surprise, as the number of trainees we expected was 100, but the leadership in Mbingo begged that others be allowed to come in, so in the end we had over 200 participants.

The first day was the day of training on the use of the gospel card. To our surprise it took less time than usual for the trainees to understand the concepts on each successive page. They seemed to grasp right at the outset what we were trying to communicate and understood each page better because of that.

The participants after the training went out to practice what they had learned. They were deeply impressed by their experience of witnessing using the gospel card. Many of them told us that they love evangelism, but hadn’t felt equipped to go out and share, but with the gospel card, they can now go out with all boldness, feeling confident that the card is appealing to people, and is an effective tool to bring them to repentance.

Before they all went for the sharing, they were divided into groups: Mbingo 1, a. Lower quarters b. Upper quarters, Mbingo 11 a. lower quarter’s b. Upper quarter’s, Jones quarter’s, Jichami quarter’s, Mbingo Village etc. The outcome of the sharing was massive, we had over 107 people give their lives to Christ, and this the number only from those who kept track and submitted their results.

The follow-up series was a new experience for the trainees. They were glad and excited to learn how to provide follow-up for new believers, because they had not had it when they had first come to the faith. Some of the pastors shared with us that while they do have books and manuals on discipleship, they found our training to be both simple and effective. All of the trainees, after learning the follow-up lessons 1 & 2, were commissioned and prayed for as they then went out to follow up with the people who had come to Christ as a result of their sharing.

The participants got together to discuss where they all came from and formed an evangelism team so that they can continue to work together to share the gospel and follow up with new believers after the training!

Please pray for the trainees as they continue to share their faith and follow up with the new believers! Praise God for his work in Mbingo.

Richard GardnerMore on the Mbingo, Cameroon training–Peter Wash
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Nigeria Advanced Training and Testimonies from Cameroon–from Peter Wash’s report

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We started the year by receiving news of the wonderful results of the trainings FFICM has run in the past year. Then, after one week of prayer and fasting, we held a one week training in Jos for those who lead trainings. People all over the world flew into Jos.

We had Richard Gardner and Rick Cordell from the US, Roman Baronowski from Poland, Eyasu Farenj and Eskindir Elemeyahu from Ethiopia, Habibu, Umar and Tsahiru from Niger Republic. Of the Nigerian FFICM team members we had myself, Sunday Mallam, Ishaku Pate, Ibrahim Itse, and from other ministries in Nigeria, Joshua Izang, Samuel Adang, Moris Izang and Sarah Izang from Rural Frontier Missions, Innocent Samson and Benjamin Yamden from New Life for All, and Samuel Fom from COCIN. These people were all drilled as to how to teach in such a way as to stimulate a change in attitude that results in action on the part of the new believer; and not just to teach to impart information. They were also taught how to draw new believers into a relationship with God, to begin to love God and to put their faith in God more. After that we picked some of those that we had trained and went with them to Cameroon so that we could all run a one week program for trainees there.

The training in Fundong began with over 120 people (as apposed to the 100 that we planned for). In our next area, in which we had also planned to have 100 participants, there were more than 200, so we had to begin to make arrangements as to how to stretch the few materials that we had. When we asked them to go out to evangelize as part of the practical, every single person went out, including the leaders of the local churches that were there.

They all came back with testimonies of how people were listening to them, and prayed to receive Christ, from even the most hostile religions. One of the groups shared the gospel to 65 people in one night and 36 prayed to receive Christ. In a second group, they shared with 67 people and 58 of these prayed to accept Christ.

After this we separated them into four groups so that each trainer could observe and evaluate how they were doing, and so as many people as possible could practice teaching the class.

By Thursday when we invited them to worship God, people started dancing and singing with joy because of what they had learned. When we asked them to write and let us know what they valued most of what they had learned, many people wrote that they loved the gospel tract, which was so simple and straight forward; others stated that they were most excited about what they have learned about follow-up. A lot of them said they hadn’t known before that it was important to follow up with new believers; some even wrote that they were not followed up and had struggled with a lot of challenges, such as not knowing how to pray or study the Bible, having no interest in witnessing, or they did not actually love God or other believers. On Thursday evening, one of the trainees kept us awake for two hours, from 8 to 10 pm talking to us about her life and how this training has brought her back on track with God—she had previously decided not to have anything to do with the church anymore, but as we were teaching, she felt that her love for God will draw her back and enable her to continue relating with those of her church that have offended her.

 

After the teaching, we had the joy of presenting certificates to all of the trainees. After this we prayed to commission them, and all that were trained were asked to kneel while all of the ordained ministers and trainers present prayed for them.

We have over one hundred testimonies from the trainees, here is a small representation of some of them!

One pastor who was trained shared that he went out and began talking about the gospel with somebody, but the person did not want to listen because he was sick. So the pastor and his companion asked him whether he was willing for them to pray for him? They prayed for him that he would be healed from his illness, and left. The next day he called them to tell them that they should come, he wanted to accept Christ, because yesterday he was healed after they prayed, so he wanted to give Jesus his life. So the pastor went and led him in the prayer of confession. He was very happy after that, and they arranged another day that the pastor could come and meet with him to follow up with him. This pastor also spoke with a woman named Marceline who prayed to receive Christ. The next day, when they met Marceline for follow-up, they met another woman there who had given up on life and was considering committing suicide, but instead, she prayed that day to receive Christ.

Another woman from the training shared with five members of her family, and they all prayed to receive Christ. She shared the follow up materials the next day, after which her neighbor asked her to come to her house to speak with her family. So she went and shared with six people in that house, and they all prayed to receive Christ.

The Director of Evangelism of the Baptist Church was among the participants who stayed throughout the training said, “This is what we have been longing for in this Church.  We have been wanting to go out to evangelize as a group, but we didn’t know how to do it. You have come at the right time.”

A lady who had been trained with Campus Crusade for Christ said, “I have neglected the work of witnessing that I used to do before, but I have been revived by what you have taught us! I shared with many people during the three days we all went out together, and I feel so encouraged. Your materials were so simple to handle and speak right to the level of a new believer.”

Ebang Eric also said, “I have been struggling in my spiritual life to live a victorious life; it felt impossible for me, but I have learned during this training how I must live in the Spirit by allowing Christ to control my life, and to listen to Him through his Word and other believers who God can use to speak to me. I also learned that I need follow-up to be able to stand firm in my faith, and I need to follow up new believers to help them become mature in their faith.”

Nkwain Betila Mbu wrote, “Before I came here I could not really share the word of God with boldness but because of this training I am able to do it. When reading my Bible, I used to just read to extract a couple of points, but with this training I have learned how to look for what is God teaching me about Himself, about my life, and  about others. I have learned that nothing can snatch me from the Father’s hand. I have learned how to preach to people irrespective of their denominations.”

Marvelous Nanye also wrote that before coming to this training her spiritual life was weak, “I had no zeal to share my faith with others, I felt too proud.  I used words that are not good for a Christian to use, I didn’t pray, but I expected God to answer me. Because of this training, I realized my mistakes. I prayed to God, I went out to witness, and many souls were won to Christ. I pleaded with the Holy Spirit to direct me in my spiritual life now.”

Rev Joel said, “This is a very special training that is very clear and shows how to present the gospel briefly without causing any arguments. The follow-ups are wonderful, they relate easily to everyday life experience.”

Another trainee wrote, “I am so glad because of this program— before the seminar began, I had not learned how to preach, and any time I wanted to preach fear would just fill me. In this program I learned how to be bold.  I have always been ashamed to preach to people of other religions, but during this program I was able to preach to a Muslim who prayed to receive Christ. He asked me several questions, but I was able to give him the answers. I believe it was the boldness you people gave me that made me to be able to preach. I promise you before we meet again you will hear of the many things I have done with this training.”

Ngong Sandra said, “This training has done a wonderful thing in my life. Before coming here, I was born again, yes, but I had never undergone any follow up. I had a list of things I knew I should do as a Christian, but the greatest challenge in my life was sharing Christ with others. I wondered how to start and worried about what to do if the person said no or was already a Christian. Here I have learned so many things that I did not fully understand. Leaving here, I believe that I will be a good evangelist by God’s grace. It has always been my dream to do so, and so I thank God I have been trained to do it well, and I trust God to help me. I hope that the lives of the people around me like my family, friends, and classmates, will never be the same, with God being my helper. From the bottom of my heart I thank God and the trainers for this training, it has been wonderful.”

We thank God for his work among the trainees, and look forward to continuing to work in Cameroon, by His grace!

Richard GardnerNigeria Advanced Training and Testimonies from Cameroon–from Peter Wash’s report
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Safe arrival in Bamenda, and a flood of eager trainees

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We praise God for our team’s safe arrival in Cameroon! It was a difficult journey. The temperature on the trip soared above 100 degrees, and they could not make almost any stops because of the danger of kidnapping. The team sounds exhausted from dehydration during the journey, but thankfully the location where they are now are at a higher elevation and is cooler.

When they arrived, they found that many more trainees than had signed up were hoping to join. Rich’s group is going to try to train 190, by teaching into the night. Peter’s group will have at least over 120. Unfortunately, they’ve had to turn many people away, as they are already well over their capacity.

The team is staying at a hospital compound in Bamenda, and there are many doctors and nurses who are asking to join the training, because they want to minister to their patients. It is hard for our team to turn people away, but Lord willing, we can make a return trip to continue to offer trainings!

They all appreciate your prayers, and are excited by the level of enthusiasm in the region, despite the difficulties of the journey.

We will keep you updated as we hear more!

 

Richard GardnerSafe arrival in Bamenda, and a flood of eager trainees
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Sunny’s follow-up with our devoted trainees in Niger

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Sunday Mallam, our Trainer and Organizer, recently took a trip to Niger to follow-up with those that we had trained last year. He asked each trainee a number of questions geared towards finding out what their needs are, and how we can continue to improve our trainings. Here are some of their replies:

Reverend H.–

The training has given me new ideas for reaching others with the gospel; the training is so simple to understand and attractive to the person you are to reach. I have been changed by experiencing the joy of seeing others understand what I present to them. The help I will need from you is to provide more of the training materials and to come back again for a refresher training! I have been training others, but I no longer have gospel and follow–up materials because one of my trainees has been using them… What I have learned, I am passing on to as many as I can. We have a school here and I use the materials with the students I interact with. It is helpful to have the materials in Hausa, but there are other languages we need the materials in as well. We also need prayer for the new converts as they face much opposition in their faith.

Pastor U–

I give thanks for the training, because it has given me more exposition on these topics than I received going through seminary. I like the eagerness to go out for the gospel that the training has worked in me. It has improved my relationship with all I meet with regarding the gospel. You can help me and others by coming back to give us more of such training. I have stopped the use of the usual Sunday school book teaching in Sunday school. We are now using the follow-up materials for the Sunday school classes for both adults and children. All of the adults that are leaders of various groups in the church have been trained in using the evangelism and follow-up materials, and I have asked them to use their own homes as a training ground, so they will reach out to their families. The Hausa is fine for me, but I would love to have the Fulani version if possible as well as the Fulani Bible. I have so many parishioners and converts that will want to hear it in the Fulani language.

Pastor S–

The training has helped me to interact better with those I am reaching out to with the gospel. As for my improvement in the future, I hope to attend another such training to help me the more. I am changed in my way of reaching the lost for the Lord. I need more of the materials. I have trained all my church members and have asked them to reach others with same message.

Pastor Y–

This training is truly a Godsend. It lifted me from my shallow method of reaching others with the gospel to a simple but effective way of evangelizing. I like its simplicity; I see my family changed also because of the training I did with them. It has improved my eagerness to reach others with the gospel. The materials seem to have a magic of attraction when I teach with them. I love it in Hausa.

We gave all of the pastors and workers that asked more materials, and are hoping to start the translations they’ve requested as soon as we can!

Richard GardnerSunny’s follow-up with our devoted trainees in Niger
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God’s powerful movement in Nekemte and Dembidolo!

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This is the report so far from Nekemte and Dembidolo as to what the two groups of trainees have done with their training since last year! More reports continue to roll in, but as of now….

  • Collectively, they have trained 1,011 people how to use the gospel tracts and follow up with new believers.
  • As a result of their evangelistic work, 2,508 people have heard gospel message.
  • 843 people came to know Christ as their Lord and Savior, 281 of which have already been baptized. 
  • 74 people who had walked away from their faith have returned.
  • They planted 22 new churches, and are planning to plant 10 more.

Additional Encouragement and Prayer Requests:

All have reported that the trainings brought love and unity among the believers. As a result of this, denominations outside of the Kale Heywet denomination (which we have been collaborating with exclusively up until now) are requesting that the trainees come and train their people. Church attendance in Kale Heywet churches has been increasing.

One trainee took the initiative to translate the material into his own language, but he couldn’t figure out how to format the images. We will need to help him do this, so he can have the full benefit of the materials the way they are meant to function (one simple image per concept.)

The gospel tract and follow-up materials still need to be translated into the Oromo language as well, so that those who have been trained who work in Oromo areas can train the Oromo people to reach out to those who only speak Oromo!

Another evangelist prepared official certificates of completion for all those that he taught, and relayed that it highly encouraged his trainees. We’ll want to consider this for the future—it seems to be an effective way to encourage trainees in this culture.

Many people don’t have bibles in the Oromo language. We are considering supporting distribution of Oromo bibles to trainees.

As so many have come to Christ, the question of having places to meet to worship has become pressing for the local churches, particularly the new ones!

The continued political instability continues to present a challenge to the trainees and the new believers. Please pray for peace!

Eyasu is still collecting information regarding what the trainees from the Butajira and Arbaminch areas have done. He would like to plan two additional trainings in April and May, and wants to take trips to follow-up with the trainees from the Arbaminch, Butajira, and Jimma area trainees.

Praise God for the powerful ways he has moved through His people in Ethiopia! Please pray that we will have wisdom to know exactly how we can best support His work.

Richard GardnerGod’s powerful movement in Nekemte and Dembidolo!
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Tri Country Outreach: Team Schedule

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February/March Outreach

  • February 2nd: Rich leaves for Nigeria.
  • February 6-10: Nigeria Advanced Training

The team’s first stop in Jos, Nigeria is of great strategic importance. Head trainers from Niger, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Poland will meet together for an advanced training to ensure that all the trainers who are responsible for the quality and depth of FFICM’s trainings in each country are on the same page. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to move in power in this training, uniting our team members and bringing clarity and joy in the work that we all have been entrusted with!

  • February 10-12 Rich, Peter, Rick, and other members of the advanced training will travel by road to Cameroon.
  • February 13-17th Cameroon training

The training during the week of the 13th will take place simultaneously in two separate locations in Baminda, Cameroon. Rich will lead one training of over 100 leaders and evangelists with the aid of advanced trainers from the first group, and Peter will lead the other training of 100 leaders and evangelists, also with the aid of advanced trainers. This training, apart from serving as a practical for the advanced trainers, is also critical, as it will be the first training FFICM has run in Cameroon! The leaders in Cameroon have been a delight to work with, and are so eager to have FFICM work with them that they are funding all of the expenses for the training themselves, apart from the travel of our team members. Please pray for our team’s travel to Cameroon (which is a rough trip by road) as well as the border crossing. Please pray also that this excellent working relationship with the Cameroonians will continue, and that God will richly bless the training in response to their selfless eagerness to learn how to more effectively share the gospel and to follow-up with new believers!

  • February 18th: The team leaves Cameroon, and the West Africa contingent travels through Taraba state.
  • February 19th: Rich travels to Poland

Our West Africa team, led by Peter Wash and Rick Cordell, will travel again by car through Taraba state, Nigeria and will visit those areas that we trained in October that have requested additional trainings. It is particularly exciting for our team to return to Jalingo as the Lord has opened several doors for interdenominational cooperation in training in the area, as well as the training of the seminary students of Gindiri Theological School. Please pray that the Lord will continue to demonstrate his sovereignty in the area by bringing continued collaboration between denominations (which was a huge stumbling block for the first training in Jalingo) for the work of evangelism and follow-up.

Rich will travel to Poland, where Roman has business to attend to before the trip to Russia. Please pray that Rich receives his visa to Russia at this point! Rich also is hoping to connect with a pastor and seminary leader that he had met before in Poland to explore the possibility of partnering with him.

  • February 22nd-March 9, Rich and Roman travel to Russia

Rich and Roman will work together in Russia! For more information on the Russia schedule in order to pray, e-mail daravgardner@gmail.com.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support! God bless you.

 

 

Richard GardnerTri Country Outreach: Team Schedule
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