Many of us were taken by surprise by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our nations and world. Like a tornado or typhoon, it has wrought swift destruction and damage to all in its pathway. But despite the strict limitations now in play in many parts of the world that are still causing suffering and death, we thank God that He is not limited by Pandemics or shut-downs. God is still at work around the world, and we in NAMS, in part with His church and people, are working actively despite the challenges of our times.
Our our NAMS Base in Nairobi, Kenya is an example. Just prior to the presidential directive to have school closed and our cities placed into lock down, a NAMS’ team led by Rev. Isaac Lasky (from Bangkok Thailand) and Pastor Pankaj (from Kathmandu, Nepal) was in town (2-8 March 2020) to do orientation with three new NAMS Global Apprentices. Had the training dates been planned a week later, it would not have been able to happen, and we saw God’s hand in the immaculate timing.
The plan after the training was to have the trained apprentices join me in regular practical ministry’s activities including preaching, training and pastoral visitations; with each remaining committed to making disciples in their sphere of work and home. The lockdown in Kenya brought a halt to our plans.
However, NAMS Sub-Saharan leader Timothy Mazimpaka in Kenya further reports what happened: “One day, while waiting upon the LORD to know what should be done, I got a message from a sister in the Lord that I knew from the USA with an encouraging quote from A.W.Tozer. She had gotten it from one of Tozer’s books, ‘The Pursuit of God’ that she had stated re-reading. As we spoke, I raised an idea to organize a way to read the book with her online and to have our Global Apprentices join in. She readily agreed. Since then, we have been reading together the book once a week and it has been a great blessing. We read, do assignments around topics raise and then come back to share. Our prayer is to get those we are reaching to also use the book as a resource.”
At the same time, Timothy and the Global Apprentices have begun using another virtual discipleship platform, by DAI (Development Associates International) – a 9 weeks’ course on “Servant Leadership.“ They have been meeting virtually and online with 12 emerging leaders from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Canada.
So, even as they aim to start the GAP program in Kenya proper with support from Isaac, GAP Global Co-ordinator, once the situation improves and they can physically be together, in the meantime they have been able to keep learning and growing through these times with various activities on-line. We thank God for the opportunity through the COVID-19 lockdown to continue to train emerging leaders in Sub-Sahara Africa. God’s glory continues to unfolding in ways we least expect. Glory to God in the highest!
These are extraordinary times. Much of the world is still trying to cope with the devastating spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In parts of the world where NAMS has work, some of our leaders and Companions are facing unprecedented challenge. In this special post, we would like to appeal for emergency funds to help some of the most needy people in a few of our mission regions.
People who were already poor. People like Sindhu featured below – the poorest of the poor. Will you pray for them? If the Lord moves you, will you give to our COVID-19 Relief Fund? We hope to send as much as we can to our Regional Team Leaders to help with their efforts. Please read and pray.
Sindhu Mallik , aged about 60 is from Angul district of Odisha, India. He has no one looking after him and is homeless. He lives on the streets. Disabled with only one leg, he typically begs to survive. John Gansalves, our NAMS Companion, who runs a ministry to street children and is discipling young people in the area, was with a team taking relief to the poorest of the poor. He is seen here giving him a bag of food for relief. He was so surprised and was so grateful. John also had the opportunity to share the Gospel with him. Please pray and help us to help people like Sindhu.
Here are some of our other needs we have received from our regions…
- Haryana State, India. Our NAMS leader there, Pastor Prince Thomas, based in Karnal city, has asked for help with a number of labourers who are migrants in the State with their families, as they are far from their home villages in other States and require financial help to survive. They have an active movement of churches scattered throughout the State and will be able to help a few families through any donations made. There is also an urgent need to buy basic food-stuff to feed very poor families in rural villages who are daily-wage earners and now unable to work.
- Orissa State, India. Our NAMS leader in Orissa, Pastor Pranab Kishor Kumar is working to feed at least 20-30 families in two locations – in Balangir area (rural) and near the state capital of Bhubaneswar (with John Gansalves – featured above). A basic food relief packet containing rice, dhal (i.e. lentils), salt, old, potatoes, garlic, sugar and tea powder will be given to the families, to see them through 10-30 days.
- Kathmandu, Nepal. Our NAMS leader in Nepal, Pastor Tek Prasad Rijal is based just outside of the city. Because of the lockdown, they have been helping with the food needs and support of at least 25 families in their locality. Additionally, Tek is well connected to relief efforts of various other churches in the city and will be able to help from some of the funds sent.
- Nairobi, Kenya. Our NAMS leader in Kenya, Pastor Timothy Mazimpaka reports that they have been working with a group of women from Ngara Market, most of whom are the sole breadwinners in single-parent families. They have been struggling without work at the market, to feed themselves and their families. A gift of US$1,000 will enable to the 15 of so women to have basic foodstuff and support for a month or two.
- Havanna and Cienfuegos, Cuba. Our NAMS leader in Latin America is based in Temuco, Chile – Pastor Andres Casanueva. Our NAMS base there has relationship with NAMS partners in Cienfuegos and a base in Havana, Cuba, which they have been regularly supporting. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of the poor families have had no recourse for help and support. We would like through our NAMS base in Chile, to send them crisis-relief funds and support for basic needs.
Please click on the ‘Donate Now’ button here or go to our website directly ( http://www.namsnetwork.com/ be-involved.html ) to donate there. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for other ways to transfer any gifts. (Please indicate ‘NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND’ on the remarks column).
Do you know Eliud Kipchoge? He was a Kenyan marathoner, who during the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Vienna, Austria, became the first man in history to run a marathon in under two hours – specifically 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds. But Eliud did not run or win the race on his own.
He was surrounded at alternative times during the race by different groups of 36 men in all, dressed in uniform black gear, who acted as his pacesetters (or pacemakers). Asked to comment about the role of his pacesetters in his historic achievement, Eliud said: “They are the best athletes in the world. I thank them. It’s not me alone who made history. We made history together.” It is debatable whether Eliud could have broken the record without those pacesetters running with him.
In December 2019, a NAMS global team from drawn from the USA, Chile, Egypt, Zambia and Kenya played a similar role of being pacesetters to a group of Christians called to run in Gospel ministry in Mbeere Diocese, one of the upcountry Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Kenya. During the week of teaching and celebration, our team shared with and inspired about 400 youths, 20 young professionals and 30 clergy to become agents of godly transformation in their community by sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God and making disciples of others who could do the same. We thank God for the new partnership we have with Mbeere Diocese and pray for another 100 years of faithful and fruitful Gospel work and harvest will grow from our time there. Will you pray with us for this?
Feedback from two participants:
“I didn’t know that through ‘multiplication’ I am the potential to bring millions of people to Christ”— Miss Justina.
“In my work as a clergyman, I have tried with my all to serve my church, but to no avail. This training has taught me the smarter way to serve: To equip my congregation to do the work I used to do alone.” Rev. Thomas.
Will you consider partnering with us in our work in Sub-Saharan Africa, as we seek to help to make disciples who make disciples, raise disciple-making leaders and plant disciple-making churches?
M* is a certified football (soccer) coach. He is also a NAMS Companion, living and working in his native Cairo, Egypt. M runs a football academy for young Egyptian boys and girls. He also coaches teenage/young adult teams of African migrants intent on getting into the professional football leagues of Egypt and onto fields abroad.
But his passion is to make disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. And to this end, he is seeking to share the Gospel contextually and sensitively with the ones he coaches, as well as with people of the majority religion in Egypt. Already, God has brought to him a few contacts, and has invitations to lead sports ministry among refugees in neighboring Arab countries.
M is also establishing a NAMS base community with his wife and another young couple they are discipling, pictured above (faces obscured for security). Through this, they will seek to make and multiply disciples, leaders and new communities in the country and, in time, in other parts of the ME. Will you pray for M. in the difficult context he and his family work in? They have many challenges – financial and security being the main. If you would like to pray or give towards their work and the work of NAMS global, please consider making a gift this Christmas. You will be making a huge difference in the work that M and other NAMS Companions around the world are doing.
(*M is not his real name).