We knew that 2013 was going to be an exciting year, and it is quickly becoming one already. We are continuing the ministries of our first village church plant and the Bible Institute, while also branching out to start a new church among the unreached Lamba people and also starting a small orphanage on our Bible Institute property. I will give more updates on the orphanage construction with my next post.
We had more questions than answers about these new ministries, but we were confident that our Sovereign Lord would give us the wisdom that we needed, when we needed it. He has opened doors for us and allowed us to get connected to many people that have shed light on our path and helped us tremendously. God has provided us with both a great translator and a wide open door among the Lamba to start our first church.
I would like to take you on a little tour of the village where we are going to start that church in less than two weeks. It is among the largest unreached people group in Togo, the Lamba. The village is called Kpaha and it is another ten kilometers down dirt roads after traveling about thirty-five kilometers north of our house.
The most important thing to do when seeking the opportunity to plant a new church in a village is to talk to the village chief and get his permission to do so. Thankfully, we were able to meet with both the village chief and the chief of the region, “chef canton” and they were both glad to have us come out to their village and gave us their approval to start a new church among them. In the picture below, it was very important for the chef canton that our feet were in the picture too. I just thought that was kind of interesting.
We met them both at the local school where they graciously gave us permission to use one of the classrooms for our Bible Studies as we get started out there. The kids were having a big soccer game that day, but you can see the school in the background.
You see a lot of interesting things when you walk around in the villages.
I saw a lady making this long rope…
using this straw.
Wow! It takes several days for the whole process of cutting the straw and weaving the rope and she sold me the ball of rope for $2.20. Let’s just say that if lazy people exist in these villages, I’ve never meant one.
I next came across this young girl in her kitchen cooking up some pâte. It is basically just flour and water. Heidi has tried some before, but she was hardly able to get it down. Time did not permit me to try some. Maybe next time.
At each stop we take time to get to know the people a little bit, learn about their life and share the gospel with them too. At the next stop, I saw another young girl picking fruit from a tree with a long pole and I asked her if I could try my hand at it too. It was not easy to snag the right fruit with the hook shaped end of the very long pole. I enjoyed trying something new, and they got a kick out of the white guy having trouble doing what they do every day with ease.
After talking to these villagers for a moment, I noticed that the young boy had caught a bunch of frogs and was drying them out on his roof before eating them. Did I ever explain why I do not eat village food? I know the missionary prayer, “Lord, where you lead me, I will follow, what they feed me, I will swallow.” But I have never prayed that prayer and do not intend to.
Now take another look at the picture and notice the clay pot to the left of the picture. Any idea what that is? A fetish for their voodoo worship. They pour the blood from the chicken sacrifices into the pot and also put the feathers on the outside. That’s why we are planting a church among these people. God in heaven deserves the worship that they are currently giving to their false gods.
This last picture was of a very well spoken man that I talked to for a long time about the gospel. He had lots of reasons why he should reject this “white man’s religion” and why he should not reject his ancestor’s religion. I felt like I was living out my years of studying apologetics and I guess I was.
There was a strange sense of confidence that filled me while trying to answer his reasons to refuse the gospel. Even though this man seemed so unwilling to believe the gospel, I know he is no match for the overwhelming grace of God and the awesome power of the omnipotent Holy Spirit. I look forward to speaking with him again and prayerfully sharing the good news with you that he has accepted the good news that I’m sharing with him.