Jeff & Sherrie’s Journal

February 2012

Ultimate Influencers & Personal Discipleship

Elephants are eaten one bite at a time, and each one of us Christians are witnesses that God is also likewise working, person by person.  Personal discipleship is what this mission is all about; not mass mob of immersees being dunked simultaneously like robots on the same day. Just as babies come into this world, individuals are immersed at all hours of the day whenever their faith moves them to act on the gospel requirement to be born again.  Please read on…

Exciting Men’s Seminar in the Rocky Hills Near Bolgatanga & An Armed Robbery in Kumasi

Have you ever sat on rocks so hot that you thought you were the proverbial egg being fried?  After leaving Kumasi at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 6th, and travelling 9 1/2 hours north, we arrived at Adam and Abby’s house, then went on to a hill covered with over-sized baobab trees and giant rocks.  Here we had a men’s seminar for the evening and into the next morning.  No leopards were seen, but some time ago one was reported.  When I mentioned that to Simput, our good Nigerian friend, he affirmed that he’s seen one!  Exciting, until I realized that he’d thought I’d said “lepers.”  English is a funny language.  The theme for the seminar was from Mark 8:34 – 36: “Winning for Christ.” After all the travelling and climbing up the rocks, it was also my privilege to preach twice among the trees and bush.  We had a great view of the Vea Lake, surrounding farms, and mud houses with flat roofs, and a refreshing breeze from a distant rain-storm.

Before my second sermon, we had a men’s fitness run to the lake, about one mile.  I jogged and power-walked ahead of all the young men, but was still beaten by several fleet-footed Africans.  Then we got to swim in the warm waters, with the aromatic smell of donkey, sheep, goat, cattle and human dung in the air.  Ahh, the pleasures of the African bush!  We trekked back up the hill for my second message.  George Bush Osebreh ended things up with a great call for us to sacrifice all for Christ.

That night, when we returned the 8 miles back to the Akola’s house, he was to be tested on this message.  At about 3:00 a.m he woke me from a total stupor (consider the previous day’s activities) with the news that his wife Alyssa had called. Their apartment had been robbed by five armed men.  She had been threatened with a pistol in her face, and her wedding and engagement ring had been stolen, along with some laptops and other minor stuff, plus about $100 in cash.  Praise God that nobody was harmed and that the children, Jemimah(1) and Arioch (3), slept through the whole attack and were not frightened at all.  George asked about returning to Kumasi that night.  It would have taken him 12hours.  I advised against it, knowing that Alyssa is a woman of great faith.  I told him that I thought we shouldn’t let the devil ruin the seminar, since the thieves had already done their worst.  “But,” I said, “she’s your wife and you will have to decide what to do after talking with her some more.  IfI was you, I’d stay and pray and sing and keep encouraging the men here.” He decided to stay, with Alyssa’s total support.

What George and I didn’t know was that Simput, who was sharing the room with Todd and I, was listening to everything.  The next morning, he declared that he was really impressed with the advice I gave and for the spiritual focus.  He also noted that this had happened right after George preached strongly about giving up all for Christ.  Praise God that such things, when handled with faith, can build the faith of others.  Now I have been praying that they catch the crooks and that George can preach to them and perhaps one of them can be saved. That morning, after a few hours of shuteye, we all hiked up the hill again, and I preached twice more, in heat so intense that when I started a water fight with the kids, squirting with bags of water, they shouted:  “The water is HOT!”  At 12:00 p.m I was on the road again and arrived in Kumasi safely over the dangerous but adequate Ghana roads at around 9:30 p.m. delayed by running out of gas 30 minutes from home!  I was too busy talking with Simput and George on spiritual topics.  Those who know me well will not be surprised.

Reaching Total Pagans from the Bush by Ministry in the Cities

We had represented at this “sermon”-ar men from at least six tribes and three countries: Nigeria, USA, and Ghana.  Godwin Wonder, a graduate of BCA, drove up also in his own car and at his own expense, with his brother Francis, Augustine, and George.  (Todd and George switched cars on the way back so that he could get to Kumasi faster with me, but the gas running out ruined that plan).  Godwin visited his relatives near Zebilla, which is also where Adam is from, only a few huts down the dusty dirt road.  Here there is a big baobab tree that his people worship, and his uncle serves as a fetish priest.  How far Godwin has spiritually come- with his missionary American wife, Gloria, and (soon) four children and a strong Christian faith!  He was told that this tree followed his people wherever they moved and so it was their totem of power.  Godwin grew up in Kumasi, and looking at him, you’d never guess that his family worshipped trees.   How differently he is raising his children, in the Lord.  Others at that seminar, like Augustine, are also from the far north and very pagan backgrounds, but converted and discipled in Kumasi through our ministry. We are reaching the unreached tribes through B.C.A, because they are all migrating to the major cities from the bush.

All who attended were really impressed with the memory work that the children from Adam’s school did. Very encouraging!  It was also nice to see Moses, now a brother in Christ, since Adam recently immersed him.  One last note:  The Africans paid the entire expense for this seminar, including several meals, and are planning on helping me with my gasoline expenses.  (But that’s not why I ran out:)

Sherrie didn’t go with me this time, on this trip and we were hoping for her to get much needed rest, but it wasn’t meant to be. We thank God that she was there to provide support for Alyssa and the kids, taking them in that night and for the next few days.  I also appreciate her cooking and decorating another wedding cake, doing all the financial bookwork for the mission to hand in to the auditor general of Ghana, appearing in court, coming to all the basketball games, teaching the adult ladies Sunday School class, working on our new house making it into a home, and also making a teaching video for a women’s retreat in Montana.  Whew, busy woman!

WeddingBells Ring Again!

The big special event of February was the marriage of Beth Ann Modlin and Eric Sarpong on the 24th. Another cross-cultural one that proves the veracity of II Cor.5:16-17 in practice.  It was the most challenging wedding yet.  The power went off, and the backup generator failed.  HOT!  I was wearing a tux, so you can believe that sweat was an issue.  But we pulled through and I was impressed by Beth Ann’s awesome attitude.  Her brother, Lee, and mom, Ann, were there for the happy occasion, having flown in from North Carolina the week before.  They all stayed in the Happy Hostetter’s Hostel, our new house.  Beth Ann lived with us for nearly three full years, so it was like having another daughter get married.  Eric was one of our first students of BCA, and is a graduate.  Pray for them as they settle into their new life together as one.

Visiting Caleb and Lamisi in Hohoe, in the Volta Region

On February 4th, Sherrie and I, with Todd Vanderbilt and Erin Martin, travelled to Hohoe.  This trip also took over 9 hours, along very twisty-curvy roads through hills and mountains.  We actually went the wrong the way going there, which added to the journey-  our first trip to Hohoe ever since living in Ghana!  We really enjoyed our time with the Lantames, who are doing evangelistic work and attempting to start a new congregation there, one disciple at a time.  They live very simply and we enjoyed eating with them some delicious home-cooked banku and okra soup.  A nearby waterfall was also visited, Wli Falls, on the Togo border.  Todd and Erin were able to get their passports renewed by walking across the border to Togo.  All in all, it was very encouraging, and Josiah and Randy enjoyed having their “grandparents” lavish attention on them.  One thing noted was that many different tribes are represented in this market hub, so it is a great mission field.

Final Notes

- Basketball season has started with me coaching again.  I really enjoy it, despite the heat, and also appreciate all the work Jeremiah did in the past years.  We have the tallest high school student in Kumasi, Francis, who is nearly 6’6″, with very looong arms.  We have now a 2-1 winning record. (We were only beaten by college students.) Pray that we can glorify God. I am so proud of them all, for their hard work and great attitudes.  I train them hard, in the heat, and they persevere.  There are three main things I emphasize:  Super-super Hustle!  Super-Super Attitude! Super-Super Teamwork (HAT)  With only four players, some alumni help, but only one at a time.

-  Pray for Sherrie’s health, which has been spotty.  She’s hardly been healthy a week this year.

-  Praise God to those individuals who have massively supported us this year, making a huge difference.  Keep passing the ammunition and we’ll keep firing away!  Thank you!

Check our web page for new pictures!  Please send your generous sacrifices (donations- “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Heb. 13:16) to: Christ’s Church, c/o Don Malinowski, P.O. Box 2680, Hagerstown, MD,21741