Africa Journey Report

Andrew Martin on October 19, 2007

THE VISION OF GOD

1 Peter 2:9a Journey Report

?But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God??

Jambo! (Hi!) Maono ya Mungu--The vision of God. I thank and praise Mungu who sent us to the 2007 Inter-African Bible Conference to learn the vision of God. Today, I hope that all of us may learn the vision of God that this ministry and each of our lives may be firmly rooted in it. I will relate the vision to all that we did both on our journey to Nairobi, Kenya and what we saw there and witnessed with our own eyes. Truly, God is raising up a royal priesthood for his work all over the world.

First, the journey to Africa. We left to the airport on Tuesday August 7th at about 12pm and prayed that we would witness Jesus? name to all we came in contact on our way to Africa. God helped us first to witness his name to the cab driver who took us to the airport. After we entered the airport terminals, we met a nice older lady named Gloria who was an international school teacher who was semi-retired. She was very surprised when I knew her name and the fact that she was a teacher and I never met her in my whole life. We sat at the gate waiting for our plane to come and her and I talked about everything including how God made me a servant of God for his glory. As we talked, we found out that our plane ride to Newark, New Jersey was delayed over 3 hours. Gloria told me that she had not attended a organized church in a long time. But her eyes perked up when I told her that I was a published author. This interested her because she was a English teacher. After much delay and calling the international hotline, we boarded our plane to Newark.

After a long delay on the first plane, when we got to Newark, we arrived late and had to run to get on the next plane headed for England. After going thorough a checkpoint, they mentioned to us that we were too late. But we told them that we needed to get on the plane. They insisted that we needed to check in our luggage. Suddenly, to our surprise, they changed their mind and told us to hurry to the plane. I remember that my wife was fairly exhausted from all the running but God put us on the plane to England. This flight would be about 8-9 hour flight. When we got on the plane, we noticed that we were not going to sit together. God put me next to a young man who was going back to India to help his dieing father. I could see that this was God?s doing. We talked much about the Bible and he asked me many questions about ?Why must people suffer?? and ?He asked me how he could live as God?s servant despite the demands of being an Engineer and a father?.? We prayed over our meal on the plane and later he bought a copy of ?Crossing the Red Sea? for himself and I gave him a signed copy to give to his mother when he got to India. Again, God led me to the right person to witness his name. After arriving in England, again almost missed our next plane. Again, we had to rush to board our next plane to Nairobi, Kenya.

We noticed that many of our friends from UBF from other chapters were on this plane as well. We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya sometime during the early evening of Wednesday the 8th of August. You lose a day when you go there and gain a day when you come back to the states. After going through the long wait of Immigration, we went to pick up the bag we had to check-in at the airport in Greater Cincinnati Airport but we never got it in fact they insisted we never checked it in. Their went our bug spray and our lotion and toothpaste somewhere lost between here and Nairobi, Kenya.

On arrival at the airport, we were greeted by some of the missionaries who live in Kenya. We boarded a small van and traveled to the YWCA. It was dark and we found out that it was winter time there and the temperature of about 70 degrees during the day and 50 degrees or so during the night. At the YWCA I took a cold shower, found out that hot water is a scarce commodity in Kenya. Though it was dark by now, it began to slowly dawn on me that God truly sent us to Africa to be his witnesses. I witnessed the grace of Jesus to many of the caretakers at the YWCA including a youth Pastor for the Baptist student union in Kenya. Gave him a few NKU Tee-shirts and a signed copy of ?Crossing the Red Sea? as well. Shepherd David Jumeau from Canada shared a room with me and my electric razor blew on the current there. On Thursday morning, we all woke up early and had breakfast at the YWCA and we looked out the window and saw a very large colorful bird sitting in a palm tree.

After Breakfast, we all boarded a bus. God put us in a new world where everything looked so different including their buses. Because Kenya used to be a British Colony, the vehicles all have their steering wheels on the right side versus our left side here in the states. As we drove to the conference site, which was at a small communication college near the edge of the city, we saw all kinds of Baboons running out near the traffic and we noticed the poverty of many who live there. We all stayed for the next 3 nights on this campus and it was infested with monkeys and wild boar. Animals roamed the campus, not normal for us who live in the USA. We discovered that it was a big crime to hurt or hunt the animals in Kenya. I was reminded of the ?Garden of Eden? where the Lord place the man and the woman among the animals in the Garden.

Second, the Inter-African conference. God brought missionaries from all 14 pioneered chapters in Africa including members of the healing mission in Uganda. We spent the day getting to know the people of Africa especially those who God brought from all over Africa to the Bible conference. The opening message was from Dr. John Jun from the USA the general director of UBF. He began the conference with Acts 1:8. ?But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.? God gave us the gospel so that we may be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. This is the vision of God for those who God calls in Jesus Christ. It is for every believer. I could see this truth in God sending us to Africa and in the lives and testimonies of those who came to the conference. Here were poor African people praying for the whole world with a burning hope to be missionaries and pioneer all 56 countries in Africa. Africa is the second largest continent on the earth only to Asia and it holds 10% of the world?s population. The countries are marked by violence, poverty, hunger and disease. I found out that the countries in Africa that have the most tribes are the most brutal. Kenya mainly consists of two tribes so there is more peace and the people of Kenya like their president who they say is a good man who cares for the people. It was truly amazing to see such a simple people with such big hearts. Many of the African people received us with open arms. I decided as I heard the message how sin sick Americans are when it comes to conveniences and materialism. I decided that night that we would give something to the African people. I decided to pray with as many of the African Shepherds who were giving messages at the conference and to give them as a gift a copy of my book ?Crossing the Red Sea? as my thanks to God for each of them. It is surprising how many Christians in America don?t have God?s vision or hope for their lives. They complain that they don?t know God?s will though it stares them right in the face as the open the Scriptures. God?s vision for us is to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Thank and praise God that his vision is for Africa to be a missionary sending continent.

After dinner, we heard a message from Shepherd Seun Adebayo from Nigeria. His message was from Jeremiah 1:1-19 entitled, ?Do not say, I am only a child.? God called Jeremiah when he was 23 years old to annouce his judgment on Judah because of their sins. I learned from his message that we must repent making excuses for not being good shepherd for others even if we are young. We must have courage to preach the gospel of God?s judgment on those who are dieing in their sins. God?s vision is for us to be prophets for the nations. Later, Pastor Ron Ward rebuked us for coming to Africa with a vacation spirit according to Mark 10:45. ?For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life for a ransom for many.? He asked us American delegates to meet as many African people and to get to know their personal prayer topics and to pray with them. We were to report each night who we met and their prayer topics.

Friday morning when we woke up, we discovered that we would have to take cold showers. There was no hot water on the campus in our dorm house. You could hear the screams and moans of those who were taking showers. Again, I discovered the many conveniences that we take for granted in America. The Early morning message was by Shepherd Andries Coetsee from South Africa (Cape Town). He talked about how Jesus changed water into wine. Only Jesus can change our hearts: A ?sinner? cannot change himself into a holy person. God?s vision is to change us first like water into wine and make Africa a missionary sending continent. I learned that when we obey the word of God absolutely that God can change us. After breakfast we all met in groups for Bible study. We studied Luke 5:1-11. The theme of our Bible study is we must go deep into the water so that we may grow in the Lord. Shepherd Hesbon Ouma from Kenya delivered a wonderful message on this passage. I learned that to catch men for Jesus is more about simple obedience to the word of God than methods or common sense or ability. When Jesus said to Peter when he called him, ?Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.? Peter could have complained that he worked hard all night and caught nothing. He could have followed his own desires and thinking. Jesus invited Peter to his world by telling him to go into deep water. Jesus was inviting Peter to meet God personally when he invited him into the deep waters. I learned through this message that God?s vision is for us to go into deep waters to learn Jesus personally. We must simple obey Jesus? words instead of holding on to our own way of thinking or using the gospel for our survival. We must help others to meet Jesus in the deep waters where there alone they must learn to obey Jesus simply.

After Lunch, we all wrote testimonies and came to the Bible personally. After I wrote my testimony, I took some time to visit the villiage and share the gospel with the people of Kenya. I entered the house of Andrew and Sarah and their two children Ken and Betty. They were so excited to have a guest that they offered me dinner and some gifts. Though they were poor, they had big hearts. I shared with them the grace of God and the vision of God and gave them a signed copy of my book. (I found out that the people in that villiage were reading my book all throughout our stay there) We took pictures and I told them I would send them copies. I asked them if they liked Kenya and they said, ?Very much!? They lived on dirt roads with unclean water and many health related issues. I noticed that their was trash everywhere and the wild boars were eating from the trash. I decided to give them my water purifier that I brought on the trip so that they could drink cleaner water. As I left the villiage, they were very happy to meet me and I was reminded of God?s vision to raise up shepherds for them.

Throughout the conference, their was much dancing and music from the people of Africa. It was so joyful and spirit-filled that I was completely convicted in my heart that they truly love the Lord there. The evening message was given by Shepherd Dhobha Mhishi from Zimbabwe. It was entitled, ?I am honored in the eyes of the Lord.? We should study the Bible to learn the heart of God. He talked about the 80% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe, the riots, and the many wars that are there. His passage was based on Isaiah 49:1-6. I learned from his message that God wants to make us like sharpened swords to do his work as Bible teachers. We learned that we should live for the Lord?s honor not before the eyes of men. God?s vision is to make us a light and to bring his salvation to the ends of the earth.

After his report, we had world mission report night. Shepherd Vladimir Point from Turkey testified that he was once a Rock musician but God changed him into a missionary to Turkey. After his message, we heard from Shepherdess Chiaka from Guana. Missionary Barnabas Kojo was to give his message but he had been suffering from sickle-cell and I remember on Friday night there was an emergency and Pastor Teddy asked me to be available as a nurse if needed. Unexpectedly, Missionary Barnabas Kojo died on the morning before he was to give his world mission report. But it was amazing to see the resurrection faith of his wife to give his message with such spirit and conviction in God despite the death of her husband in the morning. I could not stop crying because of this amazing testimony to God. I could see the power of death was swallowed up by the faith of his wife. Instead of making our conference gloomy, it gave life to all of us. We held a welcome home service for Missionary Barnabas at the end of the conference and gave an additional offering for God?s work in Ghana. We thank God for this amazing missionary who served and taught the Bible to students because he had God?s vision for Africa despite his sickness that was eating away at his life. Later, we heard the mission report from Dr. John Angan in Ethiopia.

On Friday night, us delegates were asked to sing special music so we we rehearsed together and prayed together for Africa. I was also asked to lead a Bible study to replace Shepherd Kevin Jesmer who was giving message training to one of the conference speakers. Saturday morning, we heard another powerful message from Shepherd Boas Chisha from Zambia. His message was from 1 Samuel 15:1-35. (To obey is better than sacrifice) I learned how much obedience pleases God. The Lord told Samuel to give Saul a message to completely destroy the Amalekites. 1 Samuel 15:3 is the message, ?Now go, attach the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and woman, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.? God wanted to punish the Amalekites for what they did to his people Israel. Though God made Saul King, he did not obey the Lord absolutely. Saul only destroyed the weak and despised. But he did not destroy the best of the sheep and cattle or the fat calves as the Lord had commanded him. Here we learn how we are disobedient to the Lord. Saul rejected God because he depended on his own ideas and humanism. He lied to the Lord?s servant in saying he did what the Lord told him. We must learn to obey God?s word absolutely instead of depending on our own reasoning and understanding of the Bible. Shepherd Boas said that he saw the image of Saul even in his chrisitan country. Christians do not obey the word of God instead they are disobedient to the Bible. I learned how important it is for me and for those we study with to help them to make small decisions of obedience to God in their practical lives. This please God more than all our sacrifices. Amen.

Later, I led the Bible study on Mark 8:27-38. (If anyone would come after me) Shepherd Padiet Deng gave the message from Sudan on this passage after our Bible study. Jesus teaches us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and to follow him. I made a decision to accept the cross of mission as a Bible teacher for NKU students and a chapter director for our ministry here. I learned personally from Jesus that we must embrace our cross because this is how God uses our lives to bring his name to the world. I repented that I wanted to be a Bible teacher without bearing a cross. I prayed that God would use my life as an offering acceptable to him and to follow him and learn to cherish the cross he gave me for his glory. I prayed especially for Gary Hill that he may accept the cross of mission and grow to be a spiritual leader for our times. I prayed that my whole family may accept their crosses for the glory of God and serve God?s work along with us here at NKU. I could see the vision of God who gave us a cross so that we may grow in his image. We must each accept the way of the cross for it is the way to the kingdom of God.

Saturday evening, we heard a wonderful message from Shepherd Joseph Udo Fabian from Nigeria and we had world mission night. There was an Arab dance from Sudan, Germany performed, an African dance from Uganda, and we sang a special chorus as well from the USA. Sunday morning, we heard from Shepherd Stephens Skosana from South Africa that we should be on guard as God?s people every moment. (Mark 13:1-37) After Breakfast, we heard a message from Missionary Patrick Ogwang from Uganda that we are chosen by God for divine mission. And the final message was from Missionary Moses Oyor in Egypt to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20) After a brief intermission, we had a homecoming ceremony for the late Missionary Barnabas Kojo and place flowers on stage and each person greeted his co-worker. Pastor Teddy gave a wonderful message on how the resurrection of Jesus helps us to overcome the power of death. Many of us cried and prayed earnestly for the pioneering of Ghana. The African Bible conference opened my eyes to the vision of God that wants to change America as well as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. It helped me to see that God is raising up spiritual leaders in Africa to be missionaries to all of Africa and the world.

After the conference, we rested up and visited the people of Kenya and waited for our Safari on early Monday morning. Early Monday morning, there were Safari vans waiting to pick us up to take us on a two day African Safari. I noticed that most of the vehicles in Kenya are either Toyota?s or Nissan?s because of the rough road conditions and their dependability. From our camp site, we headed on a 6 hour road trip through Kenya to the plains and the hills. On the way, we saw the poverty of the cities and the people and how they lived. The roads were bumpy and brutal. The land was breath-taking and their were animals everywhere you looked. Monkeys would chase us and small children would wave as we drove by them and sometimes chase us asking for money and trying to sell us something. The small business shops on the way were built only with mud and logs from trees.

As we drove into the open country, there were no traffic lights and you drove all over the place to get through police checkpoints and around obstacles in your way both on the road and the sheep, goats, cows, and other land animals. I noticed that many of the shepherds taking care of the flocks were very young children, no older than 4 years of age. Here I thought much about our children at home and thought how much they would love to see this beautiful and breath-taking land. Shepherd Sigmund Goddard from New York was riding with us and agreed to send me the negatives to his film since he had a much better camera and I had run out of disposable cameras on the way.

Monday early evening we arrived at a very beautiful resort near the Safari we would go on. It had a long bridge you walked on as you go across a lake and we brought our luggage after we ate a delicious late lunch to our rooms which were tents with very expensive furniture and the beds had mosquito nets on them and we were surprised that during certain hours you could take a hot shower. My wife and I were the only married couple on our Safari so we got a special suite that had actually two beds. We were told to zip the tent shut to prevent insects and monkeys from coming in during the night.

As we drove on the Safari, the roof of the Toyota Van came up so you could stand and watch the animals and take video or take pictures. We saw male and female lions, one female lion killed a big buffalo right before our eyes, we watched elephants, giraffes, hihenas and all types of animals in the wild. We stopped at a lake where Hippos were gathered and got out and took pictures. I had to wake myself up, we were really in Africa in the wild. Many of us gathered stones in the wild as sovenirs to keep as remembrance of this trip. I could not but think about the vision of God for Africa to be a missionary sending continent and a blessing to the whole world. I thought much about the book of Genesis on this trip and how God provided man with the animals. I came to understand a bit deeper the need for the gospel to be preached in the world and Africa became a real place for me for the first time not something that you just read about in a book.

After a two day Safari and delicious food of every kind, we headed back, stopping on the way at many different shops and meeting many of the people in the lands. We also saw the Matta people who still live on the plains in the wild as they did thousands of years ago and we saw the outpouring of missionaries from all denominations and even saw the first missionary settlement and how the faith in Jesus changed the course of the country and brought more unity and stability to the land. Drove by the presidential compound, one African joked that it was the ?Black House?.

We arrived back to the small campus where we stayed before on Tuesday evening. We had a soccer tournment which consisted of team from the USA, Nigeria, Uganda and others. I was second stringer on the USA team but never played but cheered on our team. We talked with many native people during this time and relaxed. Wednesday morning we boarded buses to see the city, pray all together on the University of Nairobi campus, visit and pray at the UBF center there and eat our last meal at a Korean restrauant in a Korean family restrauant and then headed toward the airport for our return flight.

It was clear to me that the vision of God for Africa and for us is to live as a priestly people who bring the gospel to all nations. I thank and praise God for all your prayers and for his grace to send my wife and I to Nairobi, Kenya to see the great work of God in raising up Africa to be a priestly and missionary sending continent. I thank God for using us to be a source of blessing there to many in Africa. I pray that our ministry at NKU may be a missionary sending ministry that we may see the vision of God for our 1-1 Bible studies and his great redemptive purpose for putting us here for his name sake. We thank God for the welcome home party by our children, mother and my oldest sister as well.

Our Prayer Topics:

1. Africa may be a missionary sending continent and the pioneering all 56 countries in the gospel. (M. Mark Yoon may live with God?s wisdom for Africa)

2. NKU ministry and each of us may live with the vision of God in our hearts.

3. God may give us students to serve and teach 1-1?s faithfully

4. All of us may attend Purdue International Bible Conference in 2008 and serve those from Africa who are coming.

4. All of us here may attend the 2009 European Bible Conference and be a blessing to all of Europe and Asia.