For months GTP planned a regional event in Zimbabwe that would welcome and train stewards from 10 countries. When the borders closed only 5 days before our trip due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, we prayed about what to do. God led us to go to the people of countries whose doors He would open: Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini, and South Africa. “Come and see” emerged the theme of our trip (see Psalm 66:5 and John 1:39).
The trip began with fasting, prayer, and confession to discern a list of faithful activities for the EPSA (English, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking Africa) region for the coming year. The Spirit united our hearts, gave us this list, and also helped us develop a one-day, four-part onsite interactive teaching event called, “Strengthening Churches and Ministries for Sustainability.” Participants from each country expressed it was “exactly what they needed.” All glory to God!
This new teaching includes content from GTP webinars and fresh material. It starts with the challenges in people’s situation and teaches them to use what they have instead of focusing on what they don’t have. Then, it explores a biblical view of sustainability from Jesus and shows them how to engage others with them. Then, it features how Paul used standards to serve the churches, and inspires participants to play their part as faithful stewards.
For practical application, we pointed people to GTP resources and AfCAA standards. People said they felt empowered to share the content with others and excited to work toward compliance with AfCAA standards. It was only the beginning of God’s work on this trip. We felt like Paul and Silas in Acts 16, changing plans and pivoting from one place to another. God also raised up GTP country representatives (like Timothy in the biblical text) and teams. Come and see!
Malawi / Tent Event and Palmful of Maize
John Msowoya of STUM (Sunday School Teachers United Movement) created a GTP Malawi team and hosted us in Lilongwe. They helped us pull off a great event on 11 December 2021 for God’s workers in their country. With only a week’s notice, God brought us 133 bishops, pastors, and ministry workers to onsite teaching time. The response exceeded all expectations.
We also got a vision for next steps. GTP plans to do a GDL (Generosity Design Lab) with STUM to create a generosity curriculum for the churches in Malawi to teach people to give from what they have. Inspired by the “Handful of Rice” video they want to do “Palmful of Maize” in 2022. We will help John Msowoya (GTP Country Representative) and the GTP Malawi team do this.
Mozambique / Radio and Portuguese Resources
Nelson Pereira of Alpha and Omega Radio pulled together a GTP Mozambique team with Maya Angela and Vilma Massinga, and hosted us in Maputo. Though lockdown limited attendance, we did the GTP event on 16 December 2021 at the Assemblies of God Bible School for 20 pastors and ministry workers and aired it on Facebook Live and YouTube Live for a broad audience.
It went so well that Nelson agreed to serve as GTP Country Representative. He and Maya plan to join us in Zimbabwe for JOE (Journey of Empowerment) Victoria Falls when we reschedule the regional training in 2022. As GTP produces content in Portuguese, they will happily spread it to the 10 provinces of Mozambique and beyond with radio and other media channels.
Eswatini / Replication, Lesotho, and T4T
Mathokoza Mtetwa, a key servant in the African Evangelical Church, formed the GTP Eswatini team that hosted us in Manzini. We served 86 pastors and ministry workers at our event on 18 December 2021. Attendees received the sustainability message so enthusiastically that some will replicate it at the local Bible school and in churches. They also want us to take it to Lesotho.
During meals with the GTP Eswatini team, we learned that the rise in poverty has led pastors to feed hungry children daily. But they also need spiritual food. So, Chris, who also serves as Southern Africa regional manager for Today for Tomorrow (T4T), and his team will work with Mathokoza Mtetwa, the GTP Country Representative, to spread T4T trainings for children, too.
South Africa / Key Trainers and Cape Town Conversation
Donald Mqwathi and Lungile Ntshangase traveled many kilometers by car and public transport from South Africa to Manzini to attend the Eswatini event. They serve as two key trainers with Chris Maphosa in the T4T network. Both had also planned to attend the JOE Victoria Falls regional event. God knit our hearts together over meals. It was great to get to know each other.
Donald agreed to work with Chris as GTP Country Representative for South Africa. We are so excited about the possibilities, though we do not have any events planned at this time. They did express that they hope that next IAS (International Accountability Summit) happens in Cape Town so that they and delegates from all of Southern Africa might be able to attend.
Chris is grateful to God for this visit which activated GTP efforts in the EPSA region, advanced AfCAA standards, and surfaced Country Representatives with whom he will collaborate in Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini, and South Africa. Gary thanks the Holy Spirit for helping us navigate various challenges and uniting our hearts together to empower national workers.
Please pray for the seeds of biblical truth sowed in hearts to take root and bear fruit. Celebrate the receptivity to GTP teaching and the desire to work toward compliance with AfCAA standards. Ask God to complete the work that He started in each context and to give us wisdom on others to engage so the impact multiplies for His glory.