To God be the Glory!
Jerry’s 1st trip blog from Africa (Zimbabwe)
This trip was easily the most complicated trip I’ve ever booked, with wild price swings and vanishing flights. Also, during the month leading up to this trip, my wife suffered a severe ankle sprain. Her foot continued to swell for a week. It turned out that she had a blood clot in her ankle, which meant many trips back and forth to the hospital. Then 8 days before I left, she tested positive for Covid-19. Pulling double duty at home, trying to prepare for this trip, and trying to maintain a godly attitude all while sleeping on the couch was difficult to say the least. But it was a good reminder that, as the Christian rapper Sevin says, “This faith walk ain’t no cake walk.”
Since June, when we held a summit to equip our Farming God’s Way trainers with tools for Disciple Multiplication Movements, we have seen some explosive growth on top of what was already happening. In Kenya, a general under Griffin’s leadership, who has been a youth leader at his church for 12 years, confessed he had been “hiding in the name of salvation.” After participating in 3/3rds groups and accountability groups, he confessed that he was not previously saved but has now placed his faith and trust in Christ. Griffin had the privilege of baptizing him and 11 others who have been transformed by engaging with God’s Word in a different way. With this type of transformation happening and the potential for further multiplication, it is no wonder the opposition would try to discourage me.
I am very hard on myself when it comes to failure. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my failure to get a Covid PCR test within 48 hours of departure almost ended this trip before it started. It turned what was supposed to be 26 hours of travel into 2.5 days. The only silver lining was getting to watch the Steelers win while stuck overnight in Dulles Airport. We already had a tight schedule set for Zimbabwe and Kenya, and now we had lost a day. I felt I had let my Heaven’s Family and Farming God’s Way teams down.
It was such a joy to finally set eyes on Joseph and Oni in Zimbabwe. Even though I slept through most of the four-hour drive from Harare to Mutare, I was happy to be with them. I was also looking forward to sleeping horizontally for the first time in a few days.
Because we lost a day, I now had to do three DMM sessions lasting three hours each—one with each of three different groups—in two days. The first group was in the rural community of Dora. The Heaven’s Family Safe Water Ministry recently drilled a borehole at the farm where the training was to be held. They have a tap right outside the fence, so in this very dry area, the locals now have access to a safe, reliable water source.
During the first half of the training session, we talked about the importance of prayer in movements, the Great Commands and the Great Commission, the link between love and obedience, being a disciple worthy of reproduction, and practicing the tools in our own lives before we teach them to others. Then in the second half of each session, we taught and practiced DMM tools. The training was well received.
The next day, we trained about 35 women who had completed or are currently enrolled in the 18-month training program that Oni leads in Mutare. This program teaches Farming God’s Way, The Master’s Kitchen (cooking class), Cross-stitch (sewing class), and Business God’s Way. Throughout the 18 months, there is weekly Bible study and discipleship. Many of the women who go through this program live in the city dump across the street. But after graduating, they have the skills to feed and support themselves through FGW and a sewing or cooking business. Now these urban farmers are also equipped to go and make more disciples.
After this training, I had the opportunity to meet two women, Ever and Polite. They belong to separate apostolic “churches” that have the same problem: they don’t read the Bible. The pastors don’t allow their followers to bring a Bible to services, because they claim that the pastor is the only one who receives revelation from God. These pastors also do not allow women to read the Bible. Oni explained that this cult is very popular in Zimbabwe. However, since these women have participated in 3/3rds groups and have learned how to do a SOAPS Bible study, they know how easy it is to gain understanding from God’s Word. They longed for a Bible but the $16 price tag was more than they could afford. Last month, they received copies of the Bible in their own language from the Heaven’s Family Strategic Bibles Ministry. They were so thankful because now they can get into God’s Word and learn for themselves.
That evening, we traveled to Joseph’s church for the final training. The church was packed. The training went well and we had a wonderful time together before sending the people out to make more disciples.
All the trainings were similar, but each one had different nuances. Joseph and Oni told me, “Many of the questions that the people we are training have been asking us, you answered.” They had been asking why discipleship and disciple multiplication are so important. As I wasn’t sure exactly what I should cover, I thank God for the Spirit’s leading. Approaching each group a little differently allowed Joseph and Oni to get a fuller understanding of why we do DMM.
After all the difficulties and challenges that led up to this trip and my own failure to prepare, God still used me to serve His people. For that, I am truly grateful. Just as we shared at the three trainings, please don’t think you have to know everything or have your whole life in perfect order before you begin making disciples. Just reread Mark 5 and John 4. Duckling discipleship teaches us that all you need is to be one step ahead of those whom you are discipling. Don’t let fear or circumstances stop you from experiencing the joys of helping others to grow in their relationship with God and to make more disciples.
My next trip report will take us to Kenya and give you the opportunity to see how Heaven’s Family’s Farming God’s Way Ministry has been changing lives, young and old alike.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Grace and peace,
Director, Farming God’s Way Ministry