Water in His Name

Steven Mayanja, Foreign Mission Director of the World Outreach Ministry Foundation, reports on multiple projects currently underway in seven East African countries.

This photo essay gives a glimpse of just one project in Burundi, providing clean water for remote villages. In some cases before WOMF provided wells, people—even young children—were required to walk distances of several miles to fill canisters with water.

The efforts of WOMF not only bring the community together in a cooperative project to improve conditions in the village, they also provide a tangible expression of the love of God reaching to a people in need. The water projects (and other WOMF projects) are part of their overall mission to bring Jesus to meet the deeper, spiritual needs of people.

Mixing concrete for mortar to support the sides of the well being dug.

 

Woman carrying rocks for the walls of the well—just some of the many members of the community who get involved with the water project.

 

Organizing the volunteers is key to helping community members who are working to improve the conditions of their own village.

 

Shoring up the sides of the well with rocks from the area so people may safely access the water.

 

Clean water is finally piped to the community. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” (Mark 9:41)

 

Church Goes to the Dogs

Riverside Christian Assembly in California has pulled off something few churches have ever done, building an evangelism team affectionately known as the “Dog Wakers.”

Not Dog “Walkers. Dog “Wakers.”

The neighborhood near the church, it turns out, has a large canine population—and most of the dogs bark incessantly when the team canvasses the area. “I bear a scare on my right index finger from a pit bull,” laughs Pastor Drew Brattrud. “He didn’t enjoy our wake up call and got his teeth through a gate.”

The evangelism team has contacted their neighbors in multiple ways. To date: 300 postcards, 324 emails, 1,057 app notices, and 100 door hangers—all of which have contributed to 1,000 website views. The theme of their effort is appropriately named “Bombard the Back Yard.”

Each member of the evangelism team has had a role. Carol Bennett has been a tremendous help with labeling mail and sending out invitations. The “Dog Wakers” also do their part, visiting homes in the area.

While they have kept boots on the ground, the church has also released daily short clips of preaching on Facebook and Instagram, spending a little extra to boost the posts and put them in front of more than a thousand viewers.

Brattrud has challenged members of the congregation to invite their friends and not just rely on “cold-call” neighborhood contacts. “Nine out of 10 people visit a church because a friend or family member invites them,” he reminds them, “so let’s invite more of our friends.”

Though the campaign is not yet finished, they have already seen results. Several have visited church services, and three families have continued to attend. An amazing baptism took place. “On average you must invite someone seven times before they will attend an event,” notes Brattrud. “With six contacts in the can, now we have to be ready meet them.”

Riverside Christian Assembly’s ongoing outreach will next include a local coupon mailer, reaching 5,000 area residents—1,100 of whom have already received postcards from the church. Their message will be on the middle front page once a month for four months. And they are improving their video message posts, even experimenting with some drone footage!

“We are proud of our church,” Brattrud says. “We no longer want to be the best kept secret in Riverside.” He notes that the 1,176 residents who live in their target area have, for five weeks in a row, received a postcard from the church.

And their dogs received a wake-up call.

 

Convention Hotel Filling Up

The convention hotel is filling up fast! 

The Quality Inn / Georgio’s Convention Center is already 75 percent full with reservations for Rev’D Up, the FCA convention this April 30 – May 3. If you haven’t already reserved your place, don’t delay. Especially if you want the convenience of staying right across the road from Christian Hills Church in Orland Park, Illinois — our convention hosts.

But it’s about much more than the convenience. It’s also the savings.

It’s only $89 per night for a room — and that includes a breakfast! Once the Quality Inn is full, we will need to connect you to a second hotel — most likely the Wyndham, three miles away and about $129 a night.

Check out the convention website.

You’ll find an overview of convention speakers and events — as well as the details you’ll need to register for the convention and the hotel. If the link above doesn’t work, copy and paste this into your browser: www.2019fcaconvention.com

Pastor Mike McCartney,
Christian Hills Church

Host pastor, Mike McCartney, says, “I’m looking forward to a great time of fellowship and encouragement this spring with our Fellowship pastors, missionaries, and a number of global ministers.”

With a great slate of speakers and workshops planned, convention goers can all expect to receive something to bless them in their ministries.

International Leadership Conference Held in St. Paul

Gathering Impacts Leaders from Several Nations

Report from Bethel Christian Fellowship (St. Paul, MN)

“I have never before been able to be in a classroom to be taught myself.”

It’s a remarkable statement—made more remarkable because it was given by an influential pastor of an African church with 10,000 weekly attenders. Though his ministry of 35 years has obviously been anointed by the Spirit, he still longed for the opportunity to be personally refreshed, to be taught, and to study.

Conference participants were welcomed and introduced during a Sunday morning service at Bethel Christian Fellowship, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Ministers and leaders from several nations attended the leadership conference held in late July. Most were from African nations—Gabon, South Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (including several from the DRC now residing in Canada or the U.S.).

The conference organizer, Pastor Justin Byakweli has conducted leadership conferences every two or three years since 2008. “My goal,” he said, “is to help leaders who are ministering on the frontlines.” For several years Bethel Christian Fellowship has partnered with Byakweli to conduct the conferences, providing teachers, facilities, and housing for those who attend.

Byakweli noted that many of those attending are the “walking wounded,” needing healing even while they continue to fight on the frontlines. “They are ministering to suffering people while they themselves are suffering,” Byakweli said. “I want to pull them aside and put them in the ‘clinic’ to receive healing so they can go back out on the frontlines.”

Dr. Justin Byakweli (L), pastor of International Christian Fellowship in St. Paul, greets conference participants alongside Associate Pastor Mike Birindwa, who did much of the translation work for the conference.

Most of the conference participants were church leaders, though some were also national leaders. One was a leader in the Catholic Charismatic movement in the Congo. They came hoping to learn practical leadership skills to increase their influence, not only in their churches but also in their communities and countries.

The conference theme, “Christian Ethics and Advocacy,” emphasized the need to provide influence for those who have none. Byakweli recalled how the prophet Jeremiah ministered during a time when religious leaders were silent, though the nation of Israel was in decline and under attack.

The circumstances then parallel today’s challenges. “Many people adapt to the difficult circumstances of our day and fail to stand for what is right,” he said. “We need leaders who will be a voice for the voiceless. Being quiet is not an option.”

Richard Cunningham, provided the conference attenders with foundational leadership training. Other presenters included Dr. James Olson, former pastor of Bethel Christian Fellowship and now president of the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation. He offered conference participants a picture of the “goal” of the kingdom of God—Shalom in all its dimensions—with a clear process of the change agency necessary to move towards that goal.

Dr. James Olson spoke on the Shalom aspect of the kingdom of God.

“The challenges addressed in the conference are universal,” Olson noted, “but the African context, and perhaps especially the DRC, present some unique challenges to Christian leaders, both those in public and secular positions and those in the church.”

Another presenter was Dr. Steven Rasmussen, missionary and current pastor of Bethel Christian Fellowship. He was impressed with caliber of leadership among delegates from the DRC and the fact that they paid their own way to attend.

Rasmussen was also impressed with stories from the participants themselves. Two have worked for the 22 years toward reconciliation following the Rwandan genocide. Some have had to deal with corruption in business and government in the DRC. One, once a “lost boy” from South Sudan, is now working with theological education in Nairobi.

Prayer, renewal, and spiritual encouragement were key components of the conference.

Rasmussen, who spent more than 20 years in Africa, addressed the problem of witchcraft in African culture. “I was impressed with the how some of these leaders have fought for those falsely accused of being witches,” he said.

Byakweli is planning the next conference for 2020, and many pastors have already been sending requests to be invited to it. Nonetheless, Byakweli has kept the size of the conferences manageable, limiting attendance to match available resources.

Byakweli has also held similar leadership conferences in Africa—in Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Congo.

African Technology Leader from FCA Church

Several years ago, while still in high school, Henry Damulira was on a ministry outreach from his home church, Seguku Worship Centre, about 10 miles south of central Kampala, Uganda. At the time Damulira was preaching the gospel and teaching English and math at the school in the Mukono district.

Henry Damulira


But then he noticed something unusual—fishermen in the village, having no access to banking services, hiding their meager daily earnings under large stones scattered all over their island. His observation, he says, “spurred me to develop a digital mobile saving platform which allows ordinary Ugandans to save money in banks through mobile money on their phones.”

Connecting fishermen to the banks was important, says Damulira, because their stone system not only left their money vulnerable to theft, but also made their cash too convenient to retrieve. They could access their money on a whim, and they often did, squandering it on frivolous purchases. “This left them in a cycle of poverty,” notes Damulira.

From his own experience, Damulira knew how easily savings goals could be hijacked by undisciplined habits. “As a teenager,” he says, “I had bought a piggy bank in which I saved my earnings from fetching water. At the time, my goal had been to save and buy a bicycle to ease my work and triple my daily income.” Instead of saving his money, however, he spent it on baseball caps.

When he saw what was happening at Rwajje Island and recalled his own experiences, Damulira realized that poor saving practices was a main reason why so many in Uganda remained poor. A study of 1,500 poor Ugandans showed that 99 percent failed to reach their savings goals through informal methods, either because the money was stolen or lost, or because they were too tempted to spend the money stored as cash. Estimates suggest that 3 out of 4 adults in developing and middle income countries do not have bank accounts.1

Damulira’s passion to support wealth creation among rural Ugandans led him to provide a secure digital platform that links up mobile phones to Airsave Saving and Credit Cooperative (Digital SACCO), in partnership with ECOBANK Uganda.

Damulira’s innovation was unique because it did not require the smart phone platforms upon which so many apps rely. His start-up company, Airsave, enables registered members to save and borrow money using a simple cell phone in small communities that have no physical bank.

Out of Uganda’s 40 million population, 90 percent are “unbanked” while 60 percent own mobile phones. Because the digital mobile saving platform can be accessed by 24 million with mobile phones, they can open up a digital account without having to step in a bank. Since its founding, over 3,000 people have signed up and lives have been changed through Damulira’s digital saving platform.

Thanks to Henry Damulira, Uganda’s unbanked can now access banks from their phones. For his digital innovation, AirSave won second place at the 2016 Africa StartUp Cup and came fourth in the World contest.

Seguku Worship Centre, Henry Damulira’s home church, is also where Steve Mayanja, well-known FCA minister with the World Outreach Ministry Foundation, is from. Damulira is son-in-law to Steven Kaweesa, a key leader in WOMF Uganda who was killed in a tragic car accident in 2016, which also took the lives of Ed Pohlreich and Scot Voltz.


https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/savings-statistics-financial-services-for-the-poor

Much of the information in the story above was found here.