“Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is!” Isaiah 12:4
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!’
Let each one of us pause and take time to look back at the journey of AE from the 1960s to date, reflect and understand where we have come from and pray that the Lord will enable us to see a clear path ahead of us. I am reminded here, of God’s word to his people through prophet Jeremiah “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it” Jeremiah 6:16. Let’s walk in the path the Lord has set for us.
As one reflects and looks back, maybe from first hand ministry experience, or reading books and reports on AE, or talking to people, clearly the milestones and accomplishments of AE are evident and many. Now, our reflection today is to bring us back to the throne of God where we lay these accomplishments (mentioning but a few, and encouraging each one of us to add on as you pray) at his feet, praising him and acknowledging him for he is the one who has done it all.
We praise God for the vision bearer, who run with the vision. Michael Cassidy in his book “African Harvest” speaks of himself as an ordinary man called by God to do something pretty extraordinary and quotes Isaiah in reference to where AE must put its trust, “all. . .will be nothing more than the chariots of Egypt unless our basic trust is in God and his enabling power” Isaiah 31:1
- We praise God for those brave young men in their 20s, some still students, who rallied around Michael to help lay the foundations by faith, of a ministry that was going to evangelizing all the cities of Africa.
- We praise God for bringing together in unity and purpose, Michael and Festo, enabling the ministry to expand to East Africa and later to West Africa.
- We praise God for the faithful servants of God who have ministered and preached with zeal the gospel of Christ to millions all over the partnership. These include team leaders, mission coordinators, social action coordinators, prayer coordinators, associate evangelists, worship leaders, volunteers the list is long.
- We bless the Lord for the spirit of unity in diversity, across different races, different church backgrounds, different professions name it. Unity even in the midst of tensions and painful disagreements. “The possession of difficulties” as Michael puts it.
- We praise God for the impact of AE ministry: Thousands of Souls saved through pan-african and national missions, church leaders trained and equipped in evangelism and discipleship, the young mentored and skilled, thousands reconciled, many empowered through transformational groups, children sponsored in school, to mention but a few.
- We praise God for the many who continue to give selflessly and from their hearts to the cause of AE.
What shall we say? Is it our doing? By no means. It is all the Lord, who says in John 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing”. This is God’s ministry.
As we look to the future, we continue to claim Africa for Jesus and must constantly be reminded of the Lords words “The harvest is great but the laborers are few” Matthew 11:37. Let us therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that AE will raise more laborers to bring in more harvest as we enter another season of ministry.