To download the original copy please follow this link: News Update – December 2014
From this issue of News Update:
Time flies and soon we will be at the end of the year.
It is appropriate that, at this time of the year, I share with you a brief report of what we have been doing in Togo and Ghana in 2014.
For many years, Pastoral training has been the focus of our ministry in this French-speaking African country. Pastor Matthieu Ayena, our Togo Ministry Director, being a native of Togo himself, was already pastoring in Togo even before he received his formal theological training in Canada. He has been instrumental in equipping the church leaders with the essential knowledge, skills and resources to carry out their ministries.
CIM has been supporting church planting ministries in 7 different locations in Togo through finance and STM team visitations. Most church planters in Togo share a common feature: they are tentmakers, meaning they are partially self-supporting. Consequently, this could be a cause and reason for a slower growth of new churches led by tentmakers.
We do not overlook the physical needs of the local communities in the country. A fairly successful micro-financing arrangement has helped 40 ladies start and operate their own small businesses and, as a result, there has been a noticeable increase in the offering of some of the churches. Also, 39 needy students are receiving financial support from CIM, enabling them to attend school and attain an education. The students have been working hard to get passing grades to ensure they meet the criteria to receive financial assistance.
Pastor Matthieu has felt regret that no STM team visited Togo in 2014. The Ebola crisis in the neighbouring countries has been a hindrance, in the last few months, for people to go. However, for a while now, many people have misunderstood the criteria to visit Togo, thinking that they are required to speak French, which has been another hindrance for people to visit. Pastor Matthieu encourages Christians who are English-speaking or Mandarin-speaking to consider joining a STM team to participate in this worthwhile ministry. He can easily and fluently interpret either language, which the STM members speak, into the local dialects, so their messages could be understood by the local communities.
In 2014, CIM has stepped into the 4th year of supporting the Village School Ministry, which has impacted over 400 students through the commitment of 18 local Christian teachers whose salaries are also funded by us. Two of our ministry staff, Anna Siu and Lynn Su, are assigned entirely to this ministry as they provide pedagogical training to the teachers and develop partnership with the local church group. The ministry has been considered very strategic and effective in outreaching to the rural families of the students who are also benefitted and influenced by the Christian teachers with whom they are in contact during the weekdays.
Meanwhile, Pastor Isaac Quan, our Ghana Ministry Director, has been very effective in organizing STM teams visiting the 7 church planters we are currently supporting (starting 2015, we will increase to 9). There’s been a decline of STM teams in 2014 solely because of the Ebola crisis in the neighbouring countries. All STM teams were cancelled for the latter half of the year.
The 7 church planters are engaging in more than 30 meeting places, gathering about 800 adults and a thousand children each Sunday in worship services. While most of these groups were formed by new believers, our partnership with the local church group has proved to be effective in outreaching to the non-Christian communities in the country.
Last but never the least, CIM has been contributive in promoting missions emphasis among the Chinese churches in North America. Our ministry staff have been invited to speak in missions conferences, Sunday services and cell groups, and has shared with countless individuals on the subject of missions.
We believe what we have shared at home and done in the fields have significantly changed many churches and individuals on how they look at and practice missions. For this, we are deeply grateful to our Lord.
So, have a merry Christmas and never forget to keep sharing this Good News with more people.
Rev. Philip Leung (Executive Director)