“The vision to evangelize the cities in Africa is key and we must ensure it does not die. The Africa we want is about pursuing policies toward self-reliance – but rarely do we ask ourselves: What is the Africa God wants? Too many times, we are pursuing our agenda and not God’s agenda. When all is said and done, as we serve people and seek God’s will for them, God’s will is for their freedom, not oppression. The oppression of people is caused by sin,” says Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, the President of Malawi.
In March 1974, the historic South African Congress on Mission and Evangelism took place in Durban. This gathering, the first of its kind drew together 800 leaders from all races and from most denominations in the South African Church to confer together for 10 days. To this congress African Enterprise invited several East African leaders, who were so struck by what they saw in Durban and by its huge impact that they were ready for the suggestion from Michael of a Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly drawing Christian leaders from all the countries of Africa.
I have lost one of life’s dearest, most precious and most loyal friends. John and his first wife Rona, who died a number of years ago, both came to the Lord during our first ever mission which took place in Pietermaritzburg in August 1962, which will be 60 years ago, this August. Hard to believe.
Michael faced many challenges in the few years running up to South Africa’s historic 1994 first democratic and non-racial elections. The threats facing the country were enormous, even after Mandela was released in early 1990 and the liberation movements unbanned by President FW de Klerk. In many ways, the basic challenge was listening for guidance and then just fulfilling the next step as shown by the Lord in obedience. Even if the steps seemed modest in nature. But Michael and the AE team had to believe that whatever the Lord led them to do could have significant consequences.
I heard the voice of the Lord. It was a pivotal moment in my life and the Word was clear and unmistakable. “Why not in Africa? I want you to do evangelism in the cities of Africa.” Over and out! I was startled, even shocked, because I only saw myself as capable of evangelizing young school boys as a Christian School master and I was terrified of public speaking. I tried to protest my inability but the message of the Voice persisted.
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So what do we do in the NEXT 60 YEARS? Answer? Simple! Keep fulfilling the SAME calling He gave us 60 years ago!! Africa is our parish. The cities our focus. Evangelism our activity.
Kivengere was known as a great storyteller and often thrilled his own and other’s children with his storytelling skills. A favourite story of his: “One day a little girl sat watching her mother working in the kitchen. She asked her mummy, ‘What does God do all day long?’ For a while the mother was stumped, but then she said, “Darling, I’ll tell you what God does all day long. He spends his whole day mending broken things.”
As we look back over 60 years of ministry in our beloved continent of Africa with its corruption, its wars, its pandemics, droughts and famines, we could easily cry out “thus far has the Lord helped us”. We have carried out ministry in the most straining conditions, we have survived financial crises, scarcity of staff and resources, internal issues that at times rocked the ministry and threatened to divide us. But here we are, still standing together, strong, going from victory into victory in service to the Lord and his people.
In the book “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook”, Miroslav Volf says, “It is so crucial to see our forgiving not simply as our own act, but as participation in God’s forgiving. Our forgiving is faulty. God’s forgiving is faultless. Our forgiving is provisional. God’s is final… The only way we dare forgive is by making our forgiving transparent to God’s forgiving and always open to revision. After all, our forgiveness is only possible as an echo of God’s.”
We should not allow our past success or failure to imprison us or hold us back. Reconciling with the past is the first step in pressing forward toward our high calling and goals. There is a lot that lies ahead that God has in store for us.
We are the reconciled team of brethren and we have the corporate privilege of reconciling the lost to the all-loving Saviour, Jesus Christ
As we celebrate 60 years of AE ministry and look ahead to the next 60 years of ministry, we have much to thank God for and indeed our initial response must and should be a celebratory shout saying, ‘Ebenezer! Praise God! Thus far the Lord has brought us!’
Every opportunity has opposition to overcome. We cannot and must not shrink back from opposition. Adversaries are there to strengthen us and to equip us for what is beyond the doors of opportunity. God is there and has left adversaries as sparing partners to strengthen us and to sharpen our battle skills.
The great joy for me also as I look back on the 60 years is the inescapable fact that because of our adoption into God’s family we are consequently sisters and brothers in the same family. We may have different backgrounds, come from different tribes, nations and cultures but we are one. That I think is the great witness to the power of the gospel and the great witness of AE in its ministry.
Sixty years of life has brought many changes in politics, technology and society. Personally, it has also brought me many changes in both happy and challenging times which make me rely on God’s promises such as like Isaiah 46:4. There God says that even as our bodies have aged towards the days of ‘grey hairs’ He will sustain and carry us as He has always done.
As we reflect on 60 years of AE ministry, we can rejoice that in so many ways we have embraced Gospel priorities and look forward in faith to ensure that we hang onto them with renewed fervor
African Enterprise can be truly revitalised and be truly African by approach and culture. It can also be truly Christian. Let’s grab hold of the Great Commission and share the great love of God throughout the continent and truly accept the Abrahamic covenant. “blessed to be a blessing to the nations”.
2022 will be the Diamond Jubilee of the evangelistic ministry of African Enterprise on the African continent. We shall neither merely celebrate the memory of beginnings nor the passage of time. Our celebration is God’s achievements through His servants ever since 1962.
When we truly believe that God is sovereign, and that all things are possible through Him, there must naturally burst out from us a spontaneous response of praise and thanksgiving. However, isn’t it hard in life’s journey to always be praising and worshiping God, or is it?
In the 60years of our being as an evangelistic ministry, only God knows how many times we have been faithless in various aspects of our being and in ministering to evangelize the continent of Africa in partnership with the Church. But all that notwithstanding, the Lord has remained faithful to us in all our endeavors.
Oftentimes we come to God to ask, to invite Him to act on our behalf, to seek His forgiveness of our sins, and receive various things that come from God because of His grace and generosity. It is important to learn to regularly come to Him with a focus of praise and thanksgiving.
“Walking in the light” was the message of the man with a very dark skin, reminding those with white skins, that all our hearts were black – all needed to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus to purify us from all sin and be able to have fellowship with one another
In this new year, God seems to be telling us that we can start afresh and that the resurrection message is real in our lives. For this, He deserves our praise and thanksgiving. Beloved, as we journey through 2022, these three key thoughts for reflection, as shared by Prof. William Ogara, the AEI Board Treasurer, are worth considering.
As I look back over the 30 years, I served with the AE ministry I am humbled and amazed at the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord. Recalling the events and challenges has reminded me that behind them was the faithful guiding hand of the Lord. Millions of souls have been touched during these years, both in Africa and worldwide. People’s destinies and Nations have been influenced through AE’s ministry.
God’s faithfulness is something we believers should celebrate every day. But, life being what it is with its seemingly endless testings & trials, we are often tempted to doubt it. So why should we believe that this great affirmation is true?
Down AE’s memory lane are many accounts of God’s rescue. There are also testimonies of bad happenings and hard times that we have been through. There are accounts of great reconciliations such as the documentary ‘The Threatened miracle’. Yet there are also accounts of conflicts and fallouts in our 60-years history. In giving thanks, we reconcile them all.
We need to pray to open the floodgates of God’s intimate grace and power to flow towards our families in need.
It would be an error on our part to overlook the role that women have played as they have stood in the gap on behalf of leaders and nations.
This is praying that is an outcome of God himself putting a burden deep in the hearts of men and women, and so they begin to cry and call on him often in agony under great conviction, over a troubling situation.
Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
The Canaanite woman mentioned in Matthew 15:21-28 was restless and desperate to get her demon possessed daughter healed by Jesus. Just like the Canaanite woman, we need to be persistent in prayer for God’s intervention in the difficult situations of our families.