I was privileged to be invited by Pastor Jeff Anderson (from Colorado Springs, CO) to join him and another pastor from Michigan to be a part of a 3 person teaching team to put on a Pastor’s Conference for close to 2500 Pastor’s through Jeff’s International Bible Conference (IBC) ministry.
The vision of IBC is to “expose native pastors to Bible teaching and sound doctrine.” The content chosen for this conference was the book of Titus. As we taught through the book verse by verse we showed pastors the importance of choosing leaders carefully, the criteria by which to choose those leaders, and how to have a comprehensive teaching ministry that would produce grace-driven good works in their people. In addition, each Pastor was given a full set of our teaching notes, and the entire study notes from John MacArthur’s study Bible on the book of Titus. On top of that, each Pastor received the entire Bible on a CD that they could play for small groups/churches—a truly valued resource considering that many believers in Liberia do not possess a Bible of their own.
What God did in and through that conference had far reaching effects. For example, one Pastor named Kris Pratt attended along with his wife Doris. After the first session, the first day, he came up to me—not with a handshake—but a tight gripping hug. Just so you understand, Liberians are not a very physically demonstrative people. They dance. They sing with great joy, but they seldom hug in public. If they do, it is only when they know a person well. So, this hug was very meaningful, and it lasted for what seemed like minutes! He wouldn’t let go! At first he just held me tightly, saying nothing. Then, he began repeating: “Thank you, thank you,” over and over again. After he finally released me, (which eased my own discomfort I was experiencing) he shared how our teaching about setting up elders in the church was really needed in Liberia and was indispensable to him as one who is a lead elder, responsible for overseeing the work of 36 churches.
On the second day, another Pastor came to me between sessions and said, “We can’t thank you enough for your teaching. This is so different than teachings in our nation and is bathed in great power by the Holy Spirit. I want you to know that I will not only be going back to teach this to my church, but our church will also be sending missionaries into neighboring countries and teaching there as well!” I was flabbergasted by his comment; especially when considering that some of Liberia’s neighboring countries have a high percentage of aggressive Muslims living in them. Many are even considered hostile territories by organizations like The Voice of the Martyrs.
Thou I expected there to be at least some stories as noted above, I certainly didn’t think the impact would be so deep and far reaching. And God kept surprising us! For instance, we did a couple of radio interviews prior to the conference that reached thousands of people. One local Muslim-owned station, even aired the entire series of messages! During the week, Darius, a young journalist who worked for a secular radio station, was assigned to tail us for the duration of the 3-day conference. Throughout that time he conducted interviews with Pastor Jeff, myself, and the “other” Pastor Dan. He told us that the gospel message and testimonies we shared in those interviews were going to be aired by another secular station, in 90 second sound bites, to over 3 million people across Liberia!
There’s one last God-surprise that must be told so that God’s fame and renown would increase. One of the key pastors who planned and pulled this entire conference together with a handful of others, is Pastor Moses. Though I met him and preached at his church the Sunday before we left, I had no idea what God was orchestrating! At the time we met in Africa, he had not been able to preach for at least 6-8 months as he had a voice condition that prevented him from doing so. A visiting missionary doctor had previously diagnosed that a nodule on his vocal chords was causing his condition and that it needed to be surgically removed—a virtual impossibility in Liberia. While still in Africa, I asked him to pray as I knew a great ear, nose, and throat doctor where I was Pastoring in Scottsbluff, NE at the time, whom I wanted to ask for help after getting back home.
To detail all the incredible things God did after he and I, and many others starting engaging in prayer about this, is truly more than can be described. In summary, however, God moved in the heart of my doctor friend, the heart of my home church—Monument Bible Church, some other churches in Scottsbluff, in some businessmen from our church and community, the CEO of the hospital, several medical staff, and many others in the community to contribute their prayers, their time, their finances and energies to bring Pastor Moses to Nebraska in order to send him back whole. As it turned out, it was not only a nodule on his vocal chords, but cancer. However, it is a joy to report at the time of this writing that Pastor Moses has underwent surgery, extensive chemotherapy, and is heading back to Africa, whole once again and able to resume his extensive ministry to his family and the 100 churches that he helps to oversee and lead!
Moses stayed with my family most of the time in Scottsbluff before we moved to start my role with Kingdom Way here in Fort Collins, CO. We became very good friends in the process and have no doubt God will be orchestrating future ministry endeavors of various kinds in the future. In fact, through those who help support KWM, Pastor Moses is using several of the messages from my pastoral ministry to train his fellow Pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ, through a radio program that airs to thousands of people once a week on Tuesday evenings.
How does all of this relate to Kingdom Way? The story about Moses is at the heart of everything I envision and hope to accomplish for Christ in the future with KWM! The impact on Moses’ life—and on Africa—was/is only possible through the church leaders and company leaders (and those who support them), working together to accomplish something great for God’s glory. Many of the relationships of those involved in our Operation Moses project began through church connections and through leaders from the marketplace whom I was privileged to meet with once a week in a transformative discipleship and fellowship group. The investments made in these arenas led to a personal transformation; which then was leveraged to bring about a transformation for an entire community in western Nebraska, which ultimately was extended to an entire country in West Africa!
“O Lord, my God, may you be so pleased to grant KWM (and all who pray for us and who are led to be a part of our financial support team) favor to transform the lives of those who have been chosen by You to lead Your church and the companies You have assigned them for Christ, our Savior, to bring about cultural transformation and restoration that reaches both deep and wide so that You would become increasingly famous to the world for whom You gave Your only begotten Son.”