Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Update...Issore Outreach around the corner!


Top: Pastor Jack (our student now trusting God to do his DTS in January, though on outreach in Johannesburg right now) with two new Congolese friends we were able to encourage in the Lord--many Africans immigrate to Cape Town and then struggle to make a living

Left: Having some official "Fun Time" with the school after our Friday processing session

Happy Advent Season as we prepare once again to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Light of the World (Jn. 8:12). I am reminded of this verse as the local lady we have been training to facilitate simple church in her home in Overcome, Mama Mudi, shared this passage yesterday. Jesus speaks this truth so confidently to the religious leaders of the day, firm in his identity though many doubted him, and we as His Body are to also be the "light of the world" (Mt. 5:14), standing firm in this truth to drive out the darkness around us. Are we doing our part in the Church (which God, in His wisdom, commissioned for the task) to not shrink away but to believe that "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world" (1Jn. 4:4)?

It was so great to see Mudi realize she can be a facilitator of opening up God's Word to the community, and she was so excited that she asked to be able to lead again next week. I was rejoicing as our whole goal in going to the community is to be able to train up a few men and women of peace and see them train others and multiply the simple church long after we are gone. There is still so much distrust among neighbors in the community and ongoing drug and gang-related violence, so that many youths are getting killed. Just before I shared at the local Church of the Nazarene we fellowship with in Overcome, one elder announced we would be praying for a member of the church who was directly affected by two youths getting shot that very morning (this last Sunday). Yet, our hope is so great as Christ's Body rise up in prayer and stand on His Word for their respective communities.



Top: Busi is always ready to go for another training hike in the beautiful Cape Peninsula Mountains! (We will be going up New Year's Eve day as a team to pray and give thanks to the Lord of all nations)

Bottom: Our South Sudan Outreach Team (see video)ready to go for our church planting mission among a neglected mountain people...


I (Bryan) had talked in our previous update about sending a video link of a recent edit of our Issore promo video, put together by our sister ministry Africom, which seeks to build better communication between our bases operating in Africa (a huge need). I believe it will give you more of an understanding of what our team will be doing in the upcoming 3-month outreach among the Lagot 'people of the mountain' (Acholi-speaking sub-tribe), as we partner with staff from YWAM Arua (north Uganda)...Here is the link on our YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R-nNdEYxqI&context=C399c644ADOEgsToPDskJwewUJzTGINyuQoz1_3IFB

[Note: I am not happy with the map I asked the team to insert, as Issore should be significantly to the East, though does accurately show its proximity to Uganda]


There is also a link to a short interview I did at the base I previously staffed at (YWAM Yei, South Sudan) while on our scouting trip in March this year, with the faithful primary school principal Lakuta:

http://ywamafricom.org/video/ywam-yei-south-sudan

PRAY with us for our final preparations as the school winds up, team-building times, finances for the two students to come in, and clarity on the Visas we need for Uganda and South Sudan.

We especially are asking prayers for Busi's health throughout, and God's grace upon her with the new, much more limiting diet (and for the whole team for that matter!)


Thandi and Busi are doing very well, and are able to take part in many of our school's activities (when it doesn't interfere with Busi's nap schedule:). She is such a curious little girl, always looking for something new to get her hands on! Thandi is getting more and more excited for the outreach ahead, and her first time to cross into Sudan, a nation (now two) God had put on her heart since 2003. She is also happy to spend our first Christmas here in Muizenberg with friends. This last weekend we hosted a multinational Thanksgiving/Christmas feast with four other couples, while Thandi and I introduced the concept of the White Elephant Party. It was a lot of fun.

Anyone that is interested to get online reading from YWAM around the world, the most recent issue is all about Reaching the Unreached (titled "First to the Last") and seeing Church Planting Movements take off in the Frontiers, which is exactly what our school is about, and our heart for this upcoming outreach as we partner with community development projects on the ground. Check out the articles at this link: http://internationalywamer.org/


Lastly, this was a very exciting news that you may have heard of back on November 11th concerning the coming together of the Church in Egypt like never before...[hope it is not too hard to read]...Keep praying for our brethren in the blessed land of Egypt!



MODERATOR’S NOTE: This was shared from a friend participating in this meeting in Egypt. If you remember, Global Prayer Digest focused on praying for the unreached peoples of Egypt last December! In that same month, over 100 prayerwalking teams also made their journeys throughout this land. January was the beginning of the “Arab Spring” starting here in this nation! What an amazing God we serve!

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THESE NEWS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND NETWORK

"I saw signs of the beginning of revival that I have never seen before!" an Egyptian evangelical leader told us yesterday.

On 11.11.11, Egypt had a historic prayer meeting that we attended. It was amazing and we were so privileged to be there. Egyptian leaders are telling us there has been a significant spiritual "shift" in their country and we are trying to make sense of it all. I was privileged to here together with friends from Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and USA for this historic event.



Here's the skinny:

- 71,000 attended the all-night prayer meeting in Cario.

- It was the largest Christian event in Egypt for over a thousand years

- It was held at the cave church on Cairo's largest garbage city, Mokattam. This church is called St Simeon the Tanner Coptic Orthodox Church.

- The gospel was proclaimed during the Prayer event and some people responded to the challenge call to follow Jesus.

- Prayers for healing were made at midnight and some people were healed of physical problems.

- Since the event, one Egyptian Christian leader told us "The heavens are clean! It is easy to pray!" He calls it the beginning of revival.

- Up to a month ago, there was absolutely no promotion for this event. No flyers. In fact, the organizer was still undecided on whether to host it on Friday or Saturday.

- It was an Egyptian event. Buses took people to this event from all over Egypt. Our small group of foreigners were the only foreigners were saw, except for one English girl who recognized me. [That was strange]

- In September 2009, a prayer meeting was held in Egypt where the leaders, including the main organizer of this event, heard God say that President Mubarak would receive "no grace" in 2011. They also heard God tell them that there would be bloodshed, persecution and the burning of churches. But if God's people would come, and hear His voice, and repent, then He would hear their prayers.


- The passage on repentance that was referenced in the 2009 prayer meeting was the Bible passage read at the beginning of the prayer service. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14

- On 9th October, 2011, when many Coptic Christians were killed in Cairo, Christian leaders met for 3 days of prayer. During this time, they announced their intention of a prayer event for Egypt, which culminated in this event.

- Muslims joined Christians for prayer at this event and they were told by the Priest that they did not have to change their religion but they needed to know that there is one Saviour, Isa [Jesus Christ].

- Since the prayer meeting a few days ago, Cairo has experienced highly unusual rain, clouds, lightning and thunder during a month which normally gets only .15 cms of rain.

- In a decision by Pope Shenouda III the day before the meeting, evangelical leaders were banned from the stage. Dr Rev Sameh Maurice, Pastor of Cairo's largest evangelical church called Kasr El Dobara, was scheduled to lead prayer on the main stage but instead stood and prayed among the participators without complaining. This was the church that sold us the tickets to attend the prayer meeting.

- Last Wednesday, Father Simon, who started the cave church [The Monastery of St Simeon the Tanner], had a vision of a bright light and a mountain that was lifted up and removed. He was told to prophesy and heard God say that "you will hear wonderful news this year!
"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our November Update..."Depth and Breadth"

ISSORE (SOUTH SUDAN) TEAM ON A DAY OUT IN CAPE TOWN (we have Kelly from Florida and Dachung from Jos, Nigeria joining us for the 3-month outreach):


Praise die Yerid (Praise the Lord)and Happy Thanksgiving! I call this posting "Depth and Breadth" because of how rich our time with the SCPL (School of Church Planting & Leadership) has been in the past few weeks. That is one reason why this update has been so long in coming...

We start aptly with praise as ALL the needed lecture phase fees for the students came in just in time for last Friday’s 70% deadline. They are now trusting the Lord to bring inthe remaining 30% that some still owe, to be able to focus in on the outreaches to either Transkei (among the amaXhosa of Eastern Cape, South Africa) or with Thandi and I to Lobone, South Sudan. It is great to see the intiative they aretaking to raise funds and the strong desire they all have for putting intopractice what they are learning by the Spirit of God in school, both inclassroom times as well as otheractivities. [One picture shows an afternoon we were able to attend a Farming God's Way (definitely look up if you have time) seminar and actually plant a "well-watered garden" where you intentionally cover the seeds with as much organic material as possible]

This past week was so refreshing and encouraging to us as aschool as we were blessed to engage in the foundational subject of Spiritual Warfare, being reminded of the truth that we are born into war, and must know where our authority lies and how to use the weapons given to us to be the victors we are inChrist.The speaker was our second female speaker who brought with her a rich heritage (Mauritian father and Belgian mother, while raised in South Africa and Germany) and experience of missions around the globe. She got her Bachelors degree through YWAM's University of the Nations, and then went on to get her Master's degree in Muslim Shar'ia law, as she had much experience in Muslim nations. She has recently joined our base with the goal of pioneering a School of Government and International Studies by April next year. See the link from our base page: http://ywammuizenberg.org/training/school-of-government-and-international-studies


The week before we hosted a team of five gracious "folks" from Montana speaking on the importance of seeing our personal church within its regional context, being aware of what God is doing in other churches in the region and actually esteeming the ministries they have been called to partake in, as a crucial member of Christ's greater Body. The two Scriptures emphasized were Eph. 1:15&on and Philemon 4-7, which emphasize having "faith in Christ and love for all the saints." Two pastors and their wivesalong with a solo pastor who had to leave his family behind, they brought withthem a richness of experience in the Lord but boasted in none of it, only inthe greatness of God bringing His people together. We could tangibly sense all our students and staff being encouraged as we sat in their presence and helped them to get to different churches to share what God laid on their hearts concerning “mending the nets” and "equipping the saints" (Eph.4:12) thatHis Body may truly accomplish all that the Church is destined for. The main speaker, Pastor Chuck, had mentionedearly his desire for us to gather togethera group of pastors from around Cape Town and it was amazing to see it come together, with even other departments on our base helping to coordinate the effort. I loved seeing pastors from very different communities and church styles within the Cape interacting and listening to one another about what it means "to do church" (see last pic in front of our base).


A Funny Story: On the last day before the team returned to Montana myself and a few of the more adventurous students took the American team on the train into Cape Town city, and had a day where it really became "outreach." It was nice to take them out on a boat ride out in the harbour with a glorious view of Table Mountain and Lion's Head (after negotiating a group discount), but then we had to rush to find a local minibus taxi (negotiate the rate again) and make a mad dash to the central station to catch the 4pm train so that we didn't need to wait over an hour for the next train after a long day! I felt so bad having the team running to catch the train, but knowing it would be better for them to get home and rest, we went for it and they were game (despite being a few decades or so older than the average YWAMer:). We literally all got in the train a second before the doors automatically closed with our dear Sally just squeezing through. After I gave all the guys 'high-5s', only then did their team leader tell me that Sally actually only has one lung! And there I was pushing her to run for the train! But the husband made light of it saying, "Yah, we just call her 'old one-lunger'". I felt so bad, but thank God she had enjoyed herself and we had all made it safely, having much to talk about with our fellow passengers on the way back to Muizenberg.



This week we are blessed to have an American brother join usfor a few afternoon sessions on Language Acquisition. He lives nearby and has had a lot ofexperience working among a little known tribe in Mozambique with Wycliffe BibleTranslators (his blog is really worth checking out at http://lingamish.com/). Very simple dude, heseems well aware of the need to not take yourself too seriously whenrepresenting the Lord, but drawing people to the seriousness of who God is inChrist Jesus. I have attached his recent PDF called MISH--Make Important Stuff Happen (Wycliffers apparently love acronyms). I started reading it and it is quite enjoyable, even though it says don't believe all that is in the newsletters people send you! Here is some food for thought from his memoir called Chasing the Hippo:

The job title“missionary” is unpopular these days. The idea that one organization would send envoys to another country to convert the populace smacks of colonialism. But the reality is very complex, an organization like the one I belong to sends missionaries from more than 100 national organizations working in with more than 1,500 language communities. It's no longer clear who is converting whom. Instead, this is one of the most thrilling times in mission history: to be a part of a truly global movement to make God's Word accessible to everyone in a language they understand and a format they can use.

My official week for teaching on Cross-cultural studies in an African context is fast approaching (How to reach out to deeply animistic cultures with the gospel), and I am busy sorting through a number of resources I have been able to get my hands on! Organization is always the greatest struggle for me, but things are coming together!



PRAYER POINTS:
*Outreach preparation for our South Sudan team (including purchasing of flight tickets for a Dec.20th flight, communication with our hosts in Uganda, and preparation of the hearts of Issore people we are going to live with)


*Purchasing of the right travel insurance to go with our flights, in case of any emergency


*Smooth acquisition of Ugandan Visas for whole team, as well as clarity for permits needed to cross into the newly-independent South Sudan...Praise God Busi is booked for next week to get her required Yellow Fever vaccine!


*Unity, protection (health) and love amongst our outreach team of four (+ Busi)[team picture + updated Issore video to come in next update]


*Clear communication in my week of teaching from Dec. 5-9th, as well as collaboration with my co-staff Gerard (insights on African Traditional Religion) and a another Wycliffer coming to share on reaching Oral Cultures through storytelling, language learning, and, above all, respecting the specific culture


*Organization of our living arrangments in regards to our apartment being rented out during outreach (we do have a newlywed staff couple interested, but not for the whole three months--see pics from their wedding), and then finding a small home to stay in upon our return (with a yard that Busi can run around in!)


*Continued fruit in seeing people from Overcome community come for house church meetings, meeting the Lord in their brokenness (often they weep as they experience the freedom of living for a God whose grace triumphs over His judgment) as well as connecting more with the local Church of the Nazarene (we are doing Bible studies there now at 7:30 every Wednesday)

More team time (we live in a beautiful place)...


Busi getting ready to immerse into a new culture...

Below: Busi playing with Leila in her best dress at a recent friend's wedding (given by her great-Grandma Claire who just passed away--We love you and will miss you Grandma!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Modern Church's 'Jerusalem Council'


What went on with the early church in Acts 15 (following the remarkable events of Chapters 10 and 11) directly relates to the modern day debate among the Church about the validity of Hindu/Muslim/etc. 'followers of Jesus/Christ' who remain within their given religion but secretly worship Jesus alone. The question the modern Church (the majority of which have never faced any kind of persecution for their faith) is asking is: Can these 'followers of Jesus' who keep all their cultural norms and look no different on the outside than unbelievers within their culture be considered true believers?

What of when Jesus says to his disciples, "Anyone who would come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me"? I would say the cross not only represents Jesus doing what we couldn't do ourselves, but the very willingness to face persecution for His Names' sake. Would you not agree? What is to be said then of these believers who may continue to call themselves Muslims, go to the mosque, read from al-Qur'an (although adding the Psalms and Gospels now) and do not face any persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ (no longer Mohammed)?

One MBB (Muslim-background Believer) from Iraq who still goes by his Muslim named Muhammad al-Hallaaj, in his simple and powerful autobiography More Than a Dream: Life With Jesus Christ, puts a pleading invitation to those of similar backgrounds as his:
I am convinced that God has a special plan to glorify himself uniquely in each person. Do you want to see the God of glory at work in your life? Ask, my dear brother and sister! For the Lord of glory says, "Ask in faith!" Ask the Lord of glory to show you the right path! I am not asking you to change your religion. No, my dear brother and sister, let the Muslim stay a Muslim, and the Christian stay a Christian, and the Sikh a Sikh and the Jew a Jew. Don't concern yourself with changing your religion; instead, seek to grow in your relationship with God (p.44).

The following are some quotes and insightful thoughts from a "Muslim Follower of Jesus," the author Mazhar Mallouhi, originally from Syria [he does not attend an official church but meets regularly with Sufi(mystical) Muslims and discusses about Jesus and is seeing them come to Christ in spirit and in truth]:

“Instead of calling people to another religion, Jesus called them to himself. Following him and his way was what mattered to him. Jesus’ primary concern was the establishment of the new life of the Kingdom of God, not the founding of a new religion. It is not about changing one’s religion…Religion consists of affiliation with a group, culture, ethic, dogma and structure of authority—clergy, book, orthodoxy…It is possible to change all of them without knowing God. If we stress these we may give the impression that these are the Christian faith” (112).

Arab Evangelical and Western Christians need to avoid the dogmatic judgmentalism of the early [Jewish] church who could not see past God’s work in their own religion and culture, and insisted that Gentiles adopt Jewish religious customs and practices in their following of Christ

“Mazhar personally avoids all such terminology and all theories of categorization, believing that spirituality cannot be systemized [such as the ‘C1-C6 Spectrum’], as God works differently in each person’s life. However, he does point out that these ‘insider movements’ do not exist to hide the identities of followers of Christ, but instead to enable them to go spiritually deeper within their own Islamic community. Interestingly, as most of the ‘pillars’ of Islamic practice are all adaptations of previous Jewish and Christian forms, many Muslim followers of Christ are adapting the pillars of their Islamic faith to enhance their faith in Christ” (119).

“Christ changed my understanding of God. I love the story of the woman caught in adultery, as this totally changed my thinking about God. Dostoevsky planted the understanding for this in my mind. Christ did not look at her to accuse her, but looked at the ground so as not to shame her. He participated in her shame [huge for an ‘honor-shame culture’]. The experience of God through Christ gave me joy and peace—it covered me—the whole world changed for me. God is not an angry God, but a loving Father, suffering with his son on the cross and suffering with me in this world” (176).

“It is about following our beautiful Lord who loves all traditions and cultures. This is the problem with some large Arab evangelical churches. They bring young followers of Christ from a Muslim background into Christianity, more than to Christ. And this is tragic” (179).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our October Update from Cape Town

Dear Partners in Christ,


This is just a "short" update to let you know we are now entering into the 5th week of the new Church Planting and Leadership School on our base after a powerful week where we merged with the School of Biblical Studies to go deeper into the book of Acts and the character of Paul through God's grace....for those with little time you can scroll down for some summary prayer points for Thandi and I...


After a great introductory week that gave us a freshperspective on the definition and goals of Discipleship, we have nowfinalized our students to seven. 7 Kingdom-minded students from 7different nations! We have our married couple from Germany and Norway, an American girl from Florida (who still works seasonally for Disney), and therest men from Nigeria, DRC-Congo, South Africa, and Brasil (who is married witha very clever 11-year old daughter who helps him with his English).


By the beginning of Week 2 (after we had inaugural prayer hike to thetop of Muizenberg Mountain--see pic w/somestudents missing) we had all the students together in class, and it was a weeknot to be missed. It was amazing to have an Afrikaaner South Africanshare about Church Planting principles him and his family learned while workingamong the previously unreached Yao people ofnorthern Mozambique. What I loved most was that he didn't point to all their eventual successes andsay, "Do it like we did," but pointed us to infinitely creativeSpirit of God to "adoptBiblical principles and adaptmethods" for the specific people group God calls you to. As he putit from the beginning, "We went up to Mozambique to find out we didn'tknow much of anything at all." He also emphasized that when we speakof Church Planting Movements and Simple Church fellowships (often in the home),this does not mean we go and try to change established churches to make surethey are more interactive and planting other churches. It is all aboutseeing churches planted where they are not. Then last week we were blessedwith another South African who spoke powerfully on the critical connectionbetween living and pursuing the Kingdom of God and understandinga Biblical Worldview, especially in an African context.

It has been such a blessing to interact with and pose challenges to thefaith of these students who are so hungry to get out to the unengaged peoplesof our world. We can see God having them wrestle with truths they thoughtthey had previously "covered" and taking them deeper into their understandingof what His vision for the Church is and how they can draw more people from alldifferent nations into this. Already on our local outreaches to OvercomeHeights community of ever-growing shacks, we have been invited into anotherhome (other than that of Mama Mudi's) of a Xhosa couple who openly share abouttheir struggle to live as a "good Christian" while keeping theirtraditional customs alive. I know some of the students look forward totaking them through the teaching on "The 3 Levels of Authority" we wentover in class, and how this opens up so much freedom for the Church tooperate without compromising the fundamental truths of God's Word to us [I haveattached a short document for those interested from the non-negotiable (1)"Commands of NT (Christ)", (2) Apostolic Practices and (3) HumanCustoms and Traditions. It is quite amazing to see how so many of modernchurches place the greatest emphasis on Human Traditions in running theirservices, and should be challenging to us all...When we plant churches of anykind, we must make sure we are not planting our own cultures with it.]


One of the students that has been most challenged but also mostresponsive to the teaching and new environment is our brother from eastern Congo, PastorJack (pictured solo in the pink shirt). Coming straight from missionarywork in Tanzania for fiveyears, he came down to Cape Townto work with a close friend of his who also has been trained at YWAMMuizenberg. However, his friend realized the Church Planting school wasbeginning and felt it best for him to come for more training. Though heis not entirely confident in his English yet, we have a staff member who is his1-on-1 from Burkina Fasowho also speaks French, and he also speaks some Kiswahili with me, a beautifullanguage:) And it hasn't stopped him from sharing how much God ischallenging his view of church as well as reaching people of traditionalAfrican religions who often live in fear of the spirits. Please join usin praying for this dear pastor, so humble and hungry to learn more, ingathering a support team around him for the long-term apostolic calling theLord has on his life.



PRAYER POINTS:


-- In our next all-staff meeting (now well over 100 staff spreadout over the southern peninsula of Cape Town) thisweek, our YWAM Muizenberg community will have the privilege to take partin a traditional Nigerian baby-naming ceremony, exactly 8 days after the birthof the couple's boy....


PRAY we would continue tobuild a staff community that truly embraces different cultural traditions and glorifies our Lord Jesus to the lost around us as well.


-- Last Thursday night we had base worship like we do every Thursdaynight, but it was truly unique to have a Somali believer in ourmidst for the very first time! I have tried building r/ships with Somalissince coming to Cape Town(many run small shops in the townships), but often they remained veryclosed. Only recently I have been seeing increasing openness inthe Somali people,both men and women (esp. one family), in the Sundaymarket in Muizenberg. Just last week the family bought Thandi and Icokes, chips+candy for Busi (which I later ate:), and gave a winter cap to Busias a gift. The sister also offered to bring me her book of Somali-englishPhrases, since she saw me working on my Somali greetings. I came wantingto bless them and show the love of Christ, but we went away so blessed!


PRAY for increasing opportunities to share Christ within their traditionally Muslim culture...esp.Mohammed and Miriam


-- PRAY forthe students of CPL school, especially for finances to start coming in forlecture fees. Each student needs at least equivalent of $1000, and somestill have none. PRAY also for finalization of local outreach locationthat will be other option from the South Sudanoutreach Thandi and I will lead


-- PRAY forcontinued openness in Overcome outreach every Monday and Friday among a peopleliving amongst a lot of violence and addiction...also for wisdom among us staffleaders on how to be most strategic and keeping students safe (we have some DTSstudents joining us)

-- PRAY for my preparation in each for a week on Animism and Reaching God's People from an Anthropological Approach at end of November



THANKS!
--

Bryan and Thandeka Whitlock

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pioneering across South Sudan (and the many challenges)...

Over the past few weeks I have been amazed to learn how much YWAM is at the frontlines of Frontiers ministry and planting churches among the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world (precisely what our current school aims for!). What follows are recent updates from YWAMers pioneering Kingdom ministries just around the new nation of South Sudan:


Our team visiting Natalie and Paremmi 2008 as they began to pioneer YWAM in Malakal, South Sudan. They now have a primary school running near the base.

There is a YWAM family who has been pioneering a ministry in Malakal, South Sudan for the past few years. Malakal is the capital city of of Upper Nile state, located on the banks of the White Nile river near to the border with northern Sudan. Here are some excerpts from their recent update...


"...The border between northern Sudan and southern Sudan is still closed to goods. In the past, Malakal received virtually all food and supplies from Khartoum and the stores are more and more empty. It happened recently that we could not find bread in the city because there was no flour. Prices of staple foods have increased by 500% (flour, sugar, oil, milk, etc). The fish and meat, which are produced locally have doubled in price. Thank you for praying that the city ​​can be supplied from the south if the border with the north continues to be closed...


Nathalie will start training for people to do ministry with children. At present in churches, the children are to sit with adults or be left on their own outside. In October, we will begin meeting twice a month to train people to work with children in the churches...


The rainy season is nearing completion and we can work on the development of the school we will start. We must finish the construction of latrines and prepare a site where we can assemble the large tent we will use to begin the school. Nathalie would also like to find someone who can help and it is a real challenge. We need someone who is committed to the Lord and who speaks English...


Finally, thank you for praying for our health. The children and ourselves are doing well and we are aware of the grace and protection we enjoy. Thank you again for your prayers!"

We also have a YWAM team, many of whom I know from my days staffing at the original Yei base, now pioneering and building solid relationships with the people and government in the strategic town of Wau (northern Bahr al-Ghazal). This is a large town which is also quite close to the disputed border with the North.

Clashes erupted in Sudan's Blue Nile state early Friday, making the area the latest and most critical to descend into fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel forces — and bringing the prospect of an all-out Sudanese civil war ever closer to reality. Together with the still unresolved conflict in Darfur and recent war in the Nuba Mountains, the ring of Sudan's rebellions now stretches from the western border with Chad to its eastern border with Ethiopia. Sudan's old civil war appears to be roaring back to life. And chances are, it is only getting started.

The storm clouds had been building for months. Rebel forces in parts of Blue Nile fought as part of the South Sudan rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), during the decades-long civil war, but the optimistically-named 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement brokered by the U.S. did little to resolve the area's plight. While the South Sudan leaders of the SPLM who negotiated the peace deal won their homeland its independence, the agreement got their allies across the border in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile almost nothing.

The Sudanese military's latest target, judging by the attack on his house on Friday, is Blue Nile's elected governor Malik Agar. (Agar is also the head of the SPLM-North Party and commander of its remaining forces in Blue Nile State.) In the first day of fighting, the Sudanese military quickly grabbed control of the state capital, Damazin, and the Sudanese air force is reportedly already bombing SPLM-held towns. Agar, unharmed, is in the southern part of the state mobilizing his troops; his forces are still heavily armed from his days with South Sudan's SPLM.
(PHOTOS: Independence for Southern Sudan.)

When the Nuba Mountains reverted to war in June, the most pressing question in Sudan was: Is Blue Nile next? When I asked Agar that question one month ago in South Sudan's capital, Juba, he didn't explicitly reply in the affirmative, but he gave plenty of cues that he thought so. The heavyset graying general looked tired from trying to balance war-room strategizing with his fruitless shuttle diplomacy aimed at negotiating a ceasefire for his deputy Abdulaziz al-Hilu, who was leading the SPLM's Nuba Mountains fight. Agar predicted Sudan would "disintegrate more." He made sure I had his email address, just in case his phone line stopped working.

It's still not clear who exactly fired the first shot in the new Blue Nile conflict. But both the SPLM in Blue Nile and the Sudanese government in Khartoum had been preparing for this scenario for weeks, and in the past few days the buildup escalated even further, with the two militaries edging physically closer and closer to each other. "It doesn't really matter who started it, it was going to start anyway," says one diplomat closely following the events.



Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2091688,00.html#ixzz1XZJkdLjz

Moving forward in faith in Wau, South Sudan



God is using Africans to pioneer exciting new ministries through Africa! Here is an update from the team in Wau, South Sudan...


"...It has been long since we sent out our update to all of you. It has been a little challenging with a number of other things that needed our attention and the challenges of internet here in Wau. We would like to let you all know our staff at the moment, we are three on the ground. That is James from South Sudan, Sosan from Uganda and Josephine from Uganda. We shall be having others joining us next month from both Uganda and South Sudan. Others will join next year from other parts of the world. Here are some of the ministries we are beginning now...

Church seminars
School visitations
Prison ministry
Street children
Radio ministry
Discipleship Training School (DTS)


We are praying for support to put up a fence and carry on with the building on our land so that we ca that we may run our DTS there next year. Here are the next two phases...

Fence- Putting up fence half way around our land will cost $32,000 USD. The land is so big, we will only fence half of it now. Without a fence we can not stay at the place because of insecurity.
Buildings- A simple kitchen, toilet, dining hall and three building will cost $25,000 USD.


This is where we hope to start our DTS next year in March if the we complete the buildings and have fences for security. Please put us in your prayers for all this to come together so that we can carry on with what the Lord has called us to do in this part of the world. You can pray, you can come or you can support us financially. All your support is highly appreciated.


We greatly thank those who have been standing with us in prayers and financial support and those who have visited us on the ground. We are especially thankful to the person who gave the gift toward our borehole (well). We will now have clean water not only for us but for the community. This is an act of healing to the nation and development..."


Both the ministry of YWAM Wau and the staff pioneering the new work are in need of people to pray for them and support them financially. If you would like to support this work, donations can be sent to: YWAM Strategic Frontiers, PO BOX 60579, Colorado Springs, CO 80960. Please make checks payable to "YWAM" and do not write "Sudan" anywhere on the check. Enclose a note that states "Sudan- Wau", "Sudan- Josephine" , "Sudan- James" or "Sudan- Sosan". Or you can go to www.ywamsf.org to make a donation online.



The Yei base I formerly staffed at in southern Sudan is now running the first official DTS in the new nation of South Sudan! They have been blessed with 8 students, one from the blessed nation of Canada and the rest from various tribes around South Sudan. My friend who was just teaching there on the Nature and Character of God last week wrote to me: “We have 2 students from Magwi, 1 from Terekeka (a Mundari) where you took an outreach with my wife. There is one student from Canada and the rest are from Yei.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

(Some) of what God is doing through YWAM Muizenberg...

Truly it has been exciting to get back in the fold of what God is doing just in this key city of Cape Town, and how we as YWAM get to join in with the transformation in people's lives. I always feel privileged when I think about living in such a beautiful city, but also in such a culturally diverse and strategic city to train up different nations of people and reach out to the nations.

One of the main areas staff and students from our base minister in is a settlement affectionately known as "Masi". Initially known as Site 5, the township was renamed Masiphumelele by its residents, which is a Xhosa word meaning "We will succeed". Most of the early residents emigrated from the traditional Xhosa homelands of Ciskei and Transkei in the Eastern Cape, though today you also get many people from other African nations coming to Cape Town for work and a better quality of life. The problem is where they settle down is an even lesser quality of life, living in shacks of sheet metal and cardboard and repeatedly faced with the realities of crime and freak accidents, such as a massive house fire that blew out of control this last May and destroyed hundreds of homes.

YWAM has been receiving teams here over the years and working alongside Floyd and Sally McClung's All-Nations organisation in establishing simple house churches that gets to the core of people's heart and needs. Recently, we have a team that God has enabled to rent a large place that a major druglord used to operate out of, and are now using the grounds redemptively to see people be healed and truly receive the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. They describe as nothing other than "revival" that God is doing in their midst and in this needy community, so full of poverty, thievery and drunkenness. It is amazing to hear these testimonies and possibly return there to take part in the harvest.

TOP PICTURE: Taking part in one of our staff member's ministry at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. It is amazing to see the hunger of these "secular" students to bring God's Word and presence into EVERY area of their lives. This was a time of worship, and I was thoroughly blessed:



Here are a few fun pics of Busi getting out with her best friend Leila at a local petting zoo. The turkey startled her quite a bit, but she recovered!




BOTTOM PICTURE: The beginning of our house church in Overcome at Mama Mudi's place...it was great time to get to know each other, and our hearts to see the impoverished community transformed by the hope that is always at work in Christ Jesus:




ONGOING PRAYER POINTS:

-->Praise God for our flat is still in good condition though rent and monthly electricity have gone up significantly--that God will provide and continue to enable us to bless others in the ministry of His Kingdom

-->Regular house meeting in Overcome township every Monday afternoon (picture shows the beginning, but trusting God for more to join in)

-->Preparations and students God has called for the upcoming School of Church Planting and Leadership (Sept. 26)

-->Continued support for the work in Lobone and Issore, as well as all across the new Republic of South Sudan...that the government leaders will work with people, both local and foreigners, to see the nation develop with the Word of God as the firm foundation stone...God may grant them wisdom and sense of accountability to Him and the people He has raised them to serve

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Update on Issore (South Sudan) Outreach Location...

OUTREACH LOCATION (REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN):
From what I have heard recently from our contacts in YWAM Arua (NW Uganda), things are progressing great in Lobone and Issore outreach locations (SE Sudan). The plot of land is beautiful and the buildings are for the most part complete in Lobone, at the base of the mountains. God has already expanded Bosco and William's ministry immensely [these were the two guys I was sitting between in the video clip now posted on our Youtube site] and they are really having an impact on both communities. They have begun the Bee-keeping project and have taught and distributed about 30 bee hives to people in Issore (the collective term for a number of Acholi-speaking villages marginalized up in the mountains). They are hoping to start having an established plot and housing in Issore starting January and aretrusting God for the finances to do this. The attached document gives some more details and pictures of the progress, giving God all the glory.

Thanks to the support of a family team from the states (2 brothers and their father), the plot in Lobone now has a rain catchment system and a bio-sand filter in place, and Issore has a ram pump working, bringing the water up the main hill so the people have access to better water. As Carl said (one of the brothers heading it up and whom we met with on the scouting trip earlier this year), "It was amazing to be working with the people and see God use the physical things to impact the spiritual."

Truly, this is a huge answer to prayer for Thandi and I to take in a church planting team later this year from the September school and be able to take the people deeper in the spiritual realm, knowing Christ as the highest authority and being able to prayerfully bring an understanding that His Body (the church) has a mission to drive out the darkness of this world and bring in the saving Light.

What is also really exciting is the fact that this water technology that has been installed is quite simple, and the local people have been there all along, approving of the projects and working alongside the missionaries to install them. Therefore, one of the basic elements for sustainable development is already actively in place, namely the taking of ownership on part of the local populace and training of the them to keep maintenance up.

PICTURE: Bosco and William Omal helping to install a new RAM water pump near one of the villages we will be working with by this coming January

IN SOUTH AFRICA:
On the homefront, Busi and I went for house visits to re-establish our relationships with families and individuals in Overcome township. We had met with the ladies in Grace Salon for devotions and praying for our Muslim neighbors during this time of increased devotion in Ramadhan, and then Thandi stayed on to take out her braids and begin a new hairstyle while I took Busi in the frontpack to catch some mid-day shuteye. By the time we had walked through Capricorn and got to the house of Cynthia (our former Woman of Peace in the last school's local outreach), Busi had awoken and was soon making friends with the grandson who is just a few months older than her! We ended up visiting four more homes until the mother (Thandi) called to inquire of our wellbeing and whereabouts, but I know it meant alot to the people to pray together and simply re-establish contact.


Some seeming fruit is the organizing with Auntie Cynthia of a number of her domestic abuse case clients desiring to meet together for prayer and fellowship (including some Muslims), so please keep Thandi and I in prayer to see this simple ministry pioneered and maintained through the school with the incoming students. On that note, please be praying for the upcoming School of Church Planting and Leadership which begins Sept. 26th, that God may bring the right students for just this time and place and for where we will be reaching out to in Jesus' Name. Amen!

PRAYER POINTS AT THIS TIME:

-->Praise God for our flat is still in good condition though rent and monthly electricity have gone up significantly--that God will provide and continue to enable us to bless others in the ministry of His Kingdom

-->Regular house meeting in Overcome township every Monday afternoon

-->Preparations and students God has called for the upcoming School of Church Planting and Leadership (Sept. 26)

-->Continued support for the work in Lobone and Issore, as well as all across the new Republic of South Sudan...that the government leaders will work with people, both local and foreigners, to see the nation develop with the Word of God as the firm foundation stone...God may grant them wisdom and sense of accountability to Him and the people He has raised them to serve

Friday, July 29, 2011

Drought in Horn of Africa the Worst Since 1992...Our return to ministry in Cape Town

Entering a full month into a terrible drought that has sparked widespread famine across Somalia, eastern Ethiopia and Northeastern Kenya, it seems to be another refugee crisis with no feasible end in sight and children dying at an alarming daily rate. Recent figures put the number of Somalis fleeing into neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya at 3,000 people EVERYDAY (forgot to mention that key part in last email update)!

Let us continue to pray for the aid groups to be able to gain access to the most suffering peoples in al-Shabaab controlled Somalia, and for them to encounter the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Lord, the only One who suffered for all mankind to know their purpose (i.e. to enter into r/ship with Him)....John 12:32
I have put a link at the bottom of this post about a bit of what YWAM is doing in the region to meet the needs of the famine victims and bring true hope[just copy and paste into your browser, as I cannot get the link to work]:

http://ywam.org/News-Stories/news/YWAM-Acts-in-Somalia-Food-Crisis

PRAYER REQUEST: Hair Salon Ministry in Capricorn Township
On our part, Thandi and I are really looking forward to getting back into daily life and ministry in Kaapstad (Cape Town) this week, and especially the weekly fellowship we have with ladies from all over central-southern Africa in a shipping container painted pink for "Grace's Hair Salon." The first picture shows Grace (an Angolan national) holding Busi earlier this year during one of our Bible study/fellowship times. We hope to see them all together again this coming MOnday and then every Wednesday like we had before. Looking forward to giving updates on how they are growing in the Lord, and also on how we can connect more in reaching their husbands...




Also on the homefront, Thandi and I will be joining an Islamic teaching/reaching seminar at our base put on by a Nigerian colleague to grow in our understanding and heart for reaching these dear brothers and sisters. What an opportunity at just the right time!

Also had to make a point to post a pic to show we were able to celebrate Busi's 1st birthday with all of my father's family in Maryland and she was lovin all the attention!


We just opened a joint YouTube account under the username BryanThandi and hope you can check it out to see some videos we posted, including the short promo many of you saw on the work ahead in Issore, South Sudan and Busi’s 1-year slideshow…
The latest one shows Busi jumping into a pool and running around (plz excuse the wife's amateur videography:)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeuhC0OMUpA

Saturday, July 9, 2011

South Sudan's First Independence Day....



The day has finally arrived and all the various peoples across southern Sudan and in the worldwide diaspora are celebrating the official breakaway of South Sudan from its oppressive northern counterpart. Once Africa's largest nation now splits in two, though anyone keen on studying the history of the nation and the government's primary strategy of divide and rule will quickly tell you that other marginalized peoples in the nation hold similar seccessionist aspirations.

Thandi and I were blessed to at least celebrate this big day with two southern Sudanese friends here in Bellingham, and sought to be very intentional in praying on behalf of the leaders of this young, undeveloped nation. While we observed other American friends present and asking questions about the way forward for Juba (the South's capital), we intervened in the debate over the importance of a clear constitution, accountability within the government, diversification of the national budget, investment in education, etc. and declared the supreme importance of joining with God's eternal purposes for this great land and its glorious peoples by submitting the way forward in prayer and trusting He will raise up the right leaders who recognize they are only there by God's sovereignty and their authority is given only by Him, whereby they will be held accountable to Him as they are commissioned to steward the land and its resources--and for the revelation that HUMANS are by far the most important resource in building a nation and ushering in true, creative development. And for all the people, no matter their background, to know the Lord's desire for relationship with them, that He may lavish His love and purpose upon them, receiving the call He has on their very valuable lives.

I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on how this popular vote for secession in South Sudan relates to all the revolutions that the masses have initiated across the Arab world, and particularly about what is going on in Libya right now. Soon to come....inshallah

Saturday, June 25, 2011

URGENT PRAYER for Nuba Peoples, South Kordofan, Sudan Sunday, June 26th!!!


We as the global church have both a great responsibility and incomparable privilege in partnership with the power of the Holy Spirit to intercede for the growth of our Lord Jesus' upside-down Kingdom. We know the ways by which God draws people and entire nations to Himself often is foolish to the world, but proves to be transformative and brings wisdom and true life in the end (1 Corinthians 1:27).

However, sometimes the battle rages much more in certain areas and places where the forces of evil have been given authority, and we as the Church must really take time to listen and intercede in speaking out Christ's hope and life in the face of terror and certain death.

We are in such a time as this right now in joining together in prayer to see change in a highly persecuted and violent part of the world, where the Church has faced numerous obstacles over the centuries and yet still stands and draws people in by Jesus' presence. I am talking about the Nuba Mountains, a disputed region between north and South Sudan. Although not historically part of southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains has long been marginalized by more dominant tribes, and for more than two decades have been special target of the northern Government of Sudan military. The Nuba are not a single tribe, but a grouping of many African sub-tribes with distinct cultural differences and at least fifty distinct dialects. A proud and ancient grouping of peoples, the Nuba peoples have gradually been squeezed into more inhospitable terrain or forced to eke out a living in the slums surrounding Khartoum.

You may have heard of the escalation of fighting between north and south on the disputed border regions of Sudan leading up to the South's official declaration of independence July 9th, butnot about Nuba mountains (which are actually in the north and have undergoneimmense persecution and forced Muslim conversion throughout the war before)being targeted once again as churches are burned down and people fleeing violence. During the last phase of war (roughly 1983-2005) the Nuba peoples were heavily persecuted and about half turned to Islam while the other half stayed strong in Christ in the midst of unspeakable persecution. Now the North is making it clear it desires to fully subjugate them as apart of the official North...Please take time to read this letter from the Bishop of Episcopal Church of Sudan in Kaduguli, Nuba Mountains:

THE TIME IS NOW TO TURN AROUND THIS TIDE OF KILLING AND TERROR, AND EXPECT TO SEE A CHANGE IN THE REPORTS COMING FROM THIS LAND OF PROMISE!!!!


From the office ofthe Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli, Sudan: A Call To Prayer and Fasting to End the Nuba Genocide, and for the Peace of all Sudan!

To all my brothersand sisters in Christ, On behalf of my people in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan weare asking all Sudanese Christians wherever they are, and the Church throughoutthe world to join with us in a day of prayer and fasting on June 26,2011.

Once again we arefacing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase ourc ulture and society from the face of the earth. It is not a war between armiesthat is being fought in our land, but the utter destruction of our way of lifeand our history, as demonstrated by the genocide of our neighbors and relativesin Darfur. This is a war of domination and eradication, at it's core it is awar of terror by the government of Sudan against their people.

As we approach the July 9 day of independence for the new South Sudan, President Bashir has declared for all the world to hear that Sharia (Islamic law) will be the law of the land for the North, refusing to recognize the legitimate presence of the Christian minority. It is a declaration of their determination to also end theremembrance of our Christian heritage that dates back two thousand years to thestory of the Ethiopian eunuch (who was from modern day Sudan).

At this moment,there is a meeting in Ethiopia with the different parties of Sudan, the African Union and other international parties seeking to find a true path of peace thatrecognizes our right to survive and thrive as a people, both Muslim andChristian alike, with equality and justice for all. Please pray and fast withus as you are able for a solution to this crisis.


Rt.Revd Andudu AdamElnail Bishop Of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli, Sudan

Below are a few recent articles that shed some light on what has happened lately:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13882924
http://www.tnr.com/article/world/90653/sudan-darfur-kordofan-genocide
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2078615,00.html


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Our Heart and Vision for working with the people of South Sudan:

Our Calling:
We are called as a family to reach out to the least, the last and the lost, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, revealing that they too can be reconciled to God and have the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)


Two Burdens Coming together for the same great nation: SUDAN ('Land of the Black People')

God has individually given Thandi and I a burden for the people of Sudan since 2003, four years before we even met one another. Thandi was in her DTS (Discipleship Training School) in South Africa and I was studying geopolitics for my undergraduate degree at Central Wash. University. For me, it was during an essay assignment on a marginalized group of people that led me to hone in on the collective group of Christians across the semi-autonomous southern region.

Regarding the people of South Sudan and their needs, they are a diverse array of peoples with immense needs that will continue for many years to come, even if independence is officially granted in July. The basic necessities of life, water, food and shelter, are constantly under threat due to ongoing instability and internal displacement as the leaders continue to struggle for power and a say in the future of this nation.

We are now also praying and trusting God for the right team to join us, ministering under the auspices and authority of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), but actively building strategic partnerships with other organizations as well. We believe the foundational principles of YWAM as an international and interdenominational organism which puts the Great Commission as number one priority to be Biblical and holding the DNA to actively disciple a nation and its peoples. There is already a Sudanese couple desiring to pioneer a discipleship center in the area we are pursuing, though there is still need for additional team members to see the vision realized and cover the many ministries (ex. street children).


Our Heart and Vision: From South Sudan into the Horn of Africa
The ultimate goal is not to make Christians of the southern Sudanese, but to unlock their minds to see God has equipped them through Christ Jesus to build their nation in righteousness and purpose. In other words, to see the full gospel operate in their daily lives so that the Kingdom of God is uniquely shown among the tribes and then sent out to see other lost tribes/peoples come to a saving relationship with their Lord Jesus that solidifies their identity. We believe the Church in South Sudan has a key inheritance among the surrounding nations, with a particular calling to unlock the keys to redemption among the Somali and other sub-tribes in the little-reached Horn of Africa....and we want to be apart of seeing that come to be!


What we are Doing in South Africa to Prepare for Living and Ministering in South Sudan:


-unreached people group research
-maintaining contact with Sudanese friends/church
-leading teams into the specific region of Sudan, focusing on reaching a marginalized sub-tribe with the full gospel of community development and spiritual maturity through simple church plants
-attending Leading by the Spirit seminars and other local courses (ie SBS) to strengthen our call into pioneering new ministries (Crucial topics incl. spiritual warfare, leading prayer among divisive ethnic groups, and perseverance)
-working with the Prayer Dept. on base to lead community intercession times on Sudan and the Horn of Africa region
-praying for family life and education in South Sudan; seeking out resources for family ministry
-conducting door-to-door ministry and Bible studies in local townships, centering on Jesus’ 7 Major Commands (Repentance, Faith, Love, Pray, Give, Communion and Making Disciples) which we will later implement and build upon in Sudan
-teaching on the Big Picture, a great tool for Oral cultures, to get the gospel across in pictures and helping all peoples to see their place in God’s Story

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Updated Video and Pics of Busisiwe wethu...

Here is Busi's first introduction to a horse over Easter Weekend with extended family (my sister's in-laws):


(Please excuse the ridiculous noises coming from the father/cameraman)


And then we decided she needed to really see some snow...It was our first time using this backpack given to us by my Aunt and Uncle, and though she didn't know what world we had entered into and was crying hysterically at the start, once we got going on the snowshoes she was asleep until we stopped in the lovely mountain sun for lunch!





Saturday, April 30, 2011

Busi's first touchdown in USA...

Needless to say, she has warmed up to her grandparent's home and is lovin all the attention:


Otherwise, the three of us are enjoying our visit to the USA, even though it took us a good while to adapt to the cold climate (where is spring?) and getting Busi adjusted to a new time zone and stuffy noses combined with teething!
We have been so blessed to see many of our supporters, and are trusting God to lead us to share with many more to increase our prayer base and get out word of this exciting time to serve the Lord and bring His Word as the foundation of a new nation (Republic of South Sudan).


Here are a few pics of our time during Easter with new friends (horses) and family (Busi's cousins):




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visiting the Logut people of Issore (Acholi Mountains), South Sudan

Below are a few photos that gives you an idea of the people we were able to reach, hear their felt needs, and minister into some of their unfelt needs. We are now praying about long-term partnership into this area...

Some of the children in Lobone town (you can tell those in school and those not), at the base of the Acholi mountains, once a Sudan People's Liberation Army stronghold
The foundations have started for a YWAM base in Lobone to receive teams and give support to the development work among the Logut in the mountains just north:
Some the Logut women who came up to greet us as we took a much-needed break on the way up to the first (of seven) villages of Issore
Myself with the head (only) primary schoolteacher in the village of Kamayokongo (Acholi for 'Grab the alcohol') with the soccer field behind us (which also served as our sleeping grounds); the school had just gotten burned to the ground from a recent bushfire that got out of control