A small team of some Trinity Church staff and Go Initiative volunteer leaders took a trip to Africa to visit our ministry friends and partners and potential partners. We spent time with our brothers and sisters in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Senegal. We were able to bless and listen to what God is doing in and through them in the places where they are ministering.
The team’s first stop was in Kenya, where we visited with the leadership at Redeemed Gospel Church in Korogocho, one of our Compassion partner sites. It was great to reconnect and hear about the ways they continued to serve the children and families in the community through the Covid pandemic and beyond.
We also had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with some of our friends from Mamlaka Hill Chapel. Among them were Bishop and Pastor Charles and Maggie, and some of their leadership and staff team. We’re so grateful for the time spent together and for all that God is doing with and through them.
Ruth Okello’s ministries in the Tala area are a blessing to behold. Ruth is an amazing leader and exceptional shepherd for so many communities. Being around her was incredibly inspiring. We visited the borehole (water supply) at Ngunyumu, Mwala Subcounty (near Tala, Kenya). Trinity Church provided a Kingdom Advancement Grant (KAG) to help with the completion of the borehole project. The team also visited the current vocational training center in Kambusu where we were able to meet some of the current students and enjoy a nice lunch and time of fellowship and prayer together. We were excited for Ruth to learn (very shortly after we left) that she had been granted KAG funds to assist with the construction of the NEW Kambusu Vocational Training Institute that will be built just behind the current structure and will provide even more space and opportunities for learning for individuals in this region.
From Kenya, we traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe, and connected with our partners at Christ Connect Church. Briefing, updating and connecting with our brothers, Bishop Farai, Pastor Weston, Pastor Stephen and Pastor Lloyd. These men along with their entire leadership team are discipling believers, equipping leaders, crossing borders and planting churches where there is no gospel presence. In short, they are intentional disciple makers. As Jack Magruder said during our discussion, Pastor Faria and our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters are our Yoda, helping us to see more clearly the opportunities ahead to make disciples. We also had the opportunity to visit their church plant in Mudzi, as well as to see the Nyamapanda church plant that is in process. We were humbled, inspired and challenged by our time together.
The next leg of the journey was in Juba, South Sudan, spending time with leaders of the African Inland Church – Deputy Presiding Bishop Martin, General Secretary Adelino, and Rhoda, the Director of Transformation Women’s Groups. The Church of South Sudan has faced challenges, but it is still standing strong.
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world, having received its independence just 11 years ago. The structures and buildings are signs of this new hope and new day. The place where we stayed, the Juba Virgin Hotel, was a swamp 11 years ago. Friends, we are very blessed. Lord, forgive us for taking your blessings for granted.
Pastors Marvin and Jack continued the journey through Africa with a visit to Ethiopia. Dr. Solomon and Dr. Tibebe were waiting to pick them up from the airport. One of the unique things about Ethiopian culture is drinking buna – coffee. Drinking coffee is not just drinking coffee. There is an entire coffee ceremony. In Ethiopia, you can take a coffee break up to three times a day and you never drink alone. It is a sign of friendship and hospitality.
On one morning, we spent time with leaders from Emmanuel Church. It was a great conversation. But when we finished our meeting, the leaders showed us the sanctuary. This is what we found – the people of God praying. Every Friday the members of Emmanuel pray – from 6am to noon. They come and go as they have time. A sacred moment to say the least.
In Senegal, the trade language is French, which The Bell’s now speak well. But the indigenous language is Woloff, which they are learning in addition to French. Pastors Marvin and Jack had a chance to meet Nguiranne (pronounced like “Gear-On”), Josh’s Woloff language teacher. Believe it or not, he’s 25 years old and has an amazing testimony.