Category: Missions

Articles and updates to encourage and equip ministers as they seek to see God’s Kingdom advance as the Gospel is preached to all nations.

Veteran Missionaries with the Lord

Missionary Eleanor Cowpersmith

Long-time missionary Eleanor Cowpersmith passed away in her sleep early December 13, 2016 at the “Foundation for His Ministry—Cristo Por su Mundo” mission base in Colonia Vicente Guerrero, Baja, Mexico.

Prior to her marriage to the late Jon Cowpersmith, Eleanor served as secretary to the late Pastor Roy Johnson at the Philadelphia Church (Seattle, Washington). Beginning in 1962 they served together as missionary partners to Mexico and—through Bible and pastoral training—to the Spanish speaking world. Eleanor was honored by the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies in 2003 for her 50 years in ministry. She is survived by 2 sons.

The funeral service will be held Sunday afternoon, December 18 at the Mission Church in Colonia Vicente Guerrero, Baja. Afterwards, she will be laid to rest next to her late husband in the local cemetery. A memorial fund in Eleanor’s honor is being arranged by Foundation For His Ministry (P.O. Box 24000, San Clemente, California, 92673).

A Canadian missionary to Cuba, Henry Langerud, also entered God’s presence recently. His daughter, Elaine Croft, serves at the FFHM base in Oaxaca. The funeral was held in Edmonton.

—Reported by John W. Lucas

An Expanded Missions Impact

Ninety-one years after Martha Ramsey, just 23 years old at the time, left Duluth, Minnesota for Liberia, West Africa, two of her spiritual children have returned to Liberia. Pastor Irvin and Alice Kofa intend to continue Martha’s legacy by caring for and loving the children of Liberia.

Martha served for nearly five decades, returning home to stay in 1973 at the age of 71 only after a serious bout with pneumonia. During her time in Africa, she worked in an orphanage and helped establish several schools, clinics, the first air field in the country’s interior, ten churches and additional mission outposts. Many of her “children” went on to become teachers, medical workers, and pastors.

Irvin and Alice Kofa were two of Martha’s “children.” In 1990, as civil war swept over Liberia, they found themselves fleeing Charles Taylor’s ethnic “cleansing,” intended to eradicate the Krahn people.  On one occasion, God protected them when they were caught—along with hundreds of others—in a crossfire between government and rebel troops. Dozens of civilians were killed in the battle, but the Kofa’s were spared. They sensed God had preserved them for a purpose.

After time in a refugee camp in Ghana, they found their way to safety and a comfortable life in Norway in 2004. But reports coming out of Liberia were unsettling. The hardships following the war had left many children without parents and destitute. Then the Ebola outbreak of 2014 killed many in Liberia, leaving even more children as orphans.

With such news, Irvin and Alice Kofa felt God calling them back to their homeland. They considered returning to the Doodwicken Orphanage where they had already served as teachers for seven years. The orphanage had been cut off and inaccessible by vehicles, however, so they opted instead to go to Johnny Cole Town, Bong County, about two and a half hours drive from Monrovia.

This past July the Kofa’s opened the Martha E. Ramsey Memorial Academy, Inc. in Johnny Cole Town where they ministered to around 350 children, mostly abandoned or orphaned, by providing food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and schooling since the nearest public school is over ten miles away.

 

Pastor Irvin and Alice Kofa, returned from Norway to minister to hundreds of children in their home country of Liberia.
Pastor Irvin and Alice Kofa, surrounded by the children of Liberia. returned from Norway to minister to hundreds of children in their home country of Liberia.

When they first arrived in Johnny Cole Town, Alice remembered having seen the village in a dream. “I saw this place in my dream,” she said. “The Lord showed it to me.” She remembered seeing a house in her dream, which the community donated for use as a clinic, as well as other details of the village.

The Kofa’s are trusting God for resources to build a church and school under one roof, a boys’ dormitory (a house is currently being used as a temporary girls’ dormitory and office), and a two-bedroom house for their own use. With Johnny Cole Town residents molding blocks and providing the labor, construction costs (including electric and plumbing but not furnishings) are estimated to be under $85,000.

In addition to their FCA connections, the Kofa’s are working with Gethsemane Garden Fellowship International. They are believing the Martha E. Ramsey Memorial Academy, Inc. will minister to hundreds of orphans and abandoned children who lack basic necessities. It’s a dream that has come full circle, 91 years after Martha Ramsey first arrived in Liberia.

“Reunion” Reignites Missionaries to Mexico

During the FCA convention earlier this year in Seattle, an idea was birthed as several FCA missionaries to Mexico sensed a need to increase the connections between them.

The idea of a missionary “reunion” in Mexico grew to include time and opportunity for the missionaries to become better acquainted with one another—and to encourage each other in their work. The concept came together August 11 and 12 in Guadalajara.

The FCA Mexico missionary reunion proved to be a great time. Missionaries shared their vision with each other and talked about their various works. Sam Snyder, pastor of Bethel Christian Fellowship (Minneapolis), having grown up in Mexico as the son of missionary parents, led everyone in a time of worship sung in Spanish and then shared a word of encouragement.

The group ate together, shared stories, laughed together—and talked about all that God is doing around Mexico. After breakfast their last day together, the missionaries spent time in prayer and worship and ended hearing a great word from Jeremiah Frey, an invited guest. Though the reunion was short, it proved to be a good time to regain strength and encouragement.

“We had a great time together,” said Tony Simon, missionary from Christian Hills Church in Orland Hills, Illinois. “We are looking forward to making this an annual event.”

Sharing food and stories in Mexico.
Sharing food and stories in Mexico.
FCA missionaries to Mexico gather for a time of refreshment and encouragement.
FCA missionaries to Mexico gather for a time of refreshment and encouragement.
Sam Snyder leads worship at the missionary reunion.
Sam Snyder leads worship at the missionary reunion.

The FCA: At Work in Nigeria

Fellowship Expands Its Presence

Bishop Success Samuel, leader of the FCA (Nigeria)—a Global Partner of the U.S. FCA—reports on great progress with a major building project in the southeastern part of his country.

Primarily designed as a training center for pastors and leaders, the building in Uyo, Akwa Ibom will greatly benefit Nigerian ministers—especially those serving in northern areas where they face Muslim opposition to the gospel. The building will also satisfy government requirements (a physical building and address) for registering the Fellowship.

Nigeria Project
FCA building in Nigeria

The U.S. FCA board designated all honorariums this year for John Sprecher, lead FCA elder, to support this project. Nigeria struggles with an ongoing fiscal crisis with 31% inflation in just the last two months. The country’s financial stress has greatly hampered the ability of the Nigerian churches to complete the project on their own. Nevertheless, even during these times of adversity, they matched nearly 50% of the $7,300 the FCA sent back with Nigerian ministers who attended the April FCA convention. They were able to attend the convention with financial assistance from the FCA.

The FCA building contains five classrooms (each holding 40 to 50 students) for various levels of instruction—including one designed for computer training. A library hall, two administrative offices, and a suitable number of restrooms round out the facility. Contributions for the project, which continues on a pay-as-you-go basis, may be designated (Nigeria Project) and sent to:

Fellowship of Christian Assemblies
4909 East Buckeye Road
Madison, WI 53716

FCA Nigeria Project
Workers labor by hand to excavate the building site.

Success in Project

Many Who Oppose

A new anti-terrorism law in Russia threatens to hamper evangelistic efforts in that country. The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in July, calls for punishing any evangelistic work occurring outside of churches, according to an article by Stoyan Zaimov in the Christian Post.

Dave Ogren
Dave Ogren

FCA minister, David Ogren, represents Great Commission Media Ministries, a mission organization now attempting to deal with the repercussions of the new measure.

According to Breitbart News GCMM’s president, Hannu Haukka, told the National Religious Broadcasters, “This new situation resembles the Soviet Union in 1929. At that time confession of faith was only permitted in church.”

Haukka observed, “Practically speaking, we are back in the same situation. These anti-terrorist laws are some of the most restrictive laws in post-Soviet history.”

Hannu Haukka
Hannu Haukka

In the first century, the apostle Paul said, “But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.” Let’s pray for believers in Russia that they will find doors for effective work—even while facing opposition.