Ministry Trips 2015
ZAMBIA June 2015
Teaching was given at Pastors’ Conferences on how the Old and New Testaments fit together, explaining such concepts as “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”
This was illustrated in many ways, for example looking at how to preach Christ from the prophets.
Looking at the call to ministry, Mark’s teaching on the reality of false teachers and prophets produced a reaction from some of the pastors. In discussions afterwards, they said their area, a number of “prophets” had entered or started churches, with “words” about how individuals were going to become rich, and many were following after them. They say the problem is widespread in Zambia.
Television, radio and the internet are a mixed blessing! While the Gospel can be broadcast, so can many other gospels. The “Health and Wealth” gospel, with its elements of truth, (all heresy contains some, or even a lot of truth) is very tempting to people living in poverty. In pointing out that it comes from America—the most prosperous civilisation in history, it can be seen as simply a cultural gospel. Many pastors were encouraged by solid (but not dull!) Bible teaching, with powerful anointings on most ministry.
The urgency of the Great Commission was impressed on the attendees, with many recognising that their churches had become inward looking. There were many opportunities to preach the gospel in the open air, with hundreds making professions of faith.
INDIA March 2015
Easter, which we have just celebrated, brings hope that death is not the end, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ for all who are trusting Him. How vital a message this is in the great nation of India, with vast wealth and desperate poverty side by side, amidst the pervading spiritual darkness. Matthew Henry explains the BCP’s phrase, that the “body is dead; it is a frail, mortal, dying body,... that is, it is appointed to die, it is under a sentence of death: as we say one that is condemned is a dead man …,and this because of sin. It is sin that kills the body .” There is a time limit for every human being, and so there is an urgency to spreading the Gospel. The darkness in India can only be overcome by the Light of Jesus Christ. So a signiﬁcant part of ministry was given to showing the uniqueness of Jesus (amidst their 30 million gods), and encouraging pastors in the work of the Great Commission. Being able to distribute bicycles was a visual illustration as well as a practical help, with the words of the Apostle Paul “that the word of the Lord would spread rapidly and be gloriﬁed” (2 Thes 3:1). Amidst challenges, the Holy Spirit was clearly at work to anoint ministry, with many pastors enthusiastically receiving the Word, and precious souls responding to the Gospel message. Gospel distribution, as well as sermon and other booklets, were given to help pastors in their calling. It all seems a drop in the ocean compared to the vast needs, but we look to the Lord who is able to multiply the work of ministry.
KENYA 18 - 27 January 2015
From a base in Kenya Mark and the local team travelled to several towns and districts for evangelism and small pastors conferences, to bring the Gospel to fisherfolk on the shores of Lake Victoria and buyers and traders in a market and the Word to pastors drawn together in rural churches where western missionaries don't wish to go. (It's too far out of comfort zones!) But this is where Christianity is so mixed with strange beliefs and unbiblical practices; yet with a profound gratitude when the Word of God is properly explained to them. The main pastors conference was held in Kisumu where Mark expounded on the realities of being branches in the Vine of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15) dealing with issues of devotion and holiness, as well as other doctrines. There is an open door to return and hold an even bigger conference. Nashon and George (who did a great job with translating) continue to distribute booklets of teaching to pastors and churches in towns, rural areas and slums in Kisumu, to which also we went and ministered the Word, including at a large multi-church rally on the final Sunday afternoon.
Highlight of this trip
Having tried 16 months ago, this time all the paperwork went through so that we were able to go into the prison outside Kisumu, to share the Gospel. A large number of "lifers" and some on death row were part of the congregation as Mark was able to preach on justice and mercy from Romans 13. It was wonderful to see 32 prisoners respond to God's offer of forgiveness and the hope of Glory. Practical needs in the prison were as basic as soap and toilet paper, being highly appreciated gifts. We have a request to continue ministering to the two thousand male inmates and 180 women.