mercredi 5 novembre 2014


Canaan Parish of Bouake
The Bouake Program

We were joined for this program by our beloved brother Armando Gomes arrived in the night on Sunday to Monday. We met him the next morning at the hotel where he was hosted by our welcoming committee at his arrival. There we learned that we could not get to Bouake without meeting first with national leaders of the United Methodist Church of Cote d’Ivoire (EMU-CI). So we first met with the General Secretary and then with the Very Reverend National Manger for Evangelism with whom we had a cordial and informative interview. We were to meet the next day before we leave, with the whole management team but the Bishop who was on a mission trip in Cameroon. The following morning we left the hotel at dawn and we went to attend the prayer meeting of the Headquarter of the EMU-CI. We were subsequently invited to take part in a meeting in the office of a senior official. At the meeting we discussed about expanding the evangelistic program to neighbouring localities such as Tchimou, Assékro, Beoumi and Sakassou. This solution was not suitable for the leaders of the Bouake District who had invited us for a program in their city, but a compromised was reached in view of what the evangelists operating in these villages had been sent by their leaders to take part in the training. We’ll talk about later.

After the meeting during which we once again shared the project and our goals, we got the agreement and we finally hit the road to Bouaké we arrived at midday. We were day and a half delayed and the original program was to be modified. The initial program included three days of leadership training from Monday to Wednesday evening followed by the evangelists training course from Monday to Saturday during the first week. The evangelistic campaign was to start on Sunday with a launching of the campaign during the worship service and continue outdoors every evening from Monday until Saturday. This had to be preceded by door to door actions in neighbourhoods with previously trained evangelists.

After lunch with the local team, we discussed the new program. We were two days late and I thought we could start the same evening with the leadership training, but our hosts had compassion on us and thought it best that we dedicate the afternoon to install and rest to be ready to start on Wednesday, the following day. Then they drove us to the EMU-CI guest accommodation, a villa not far from the Canaan parish. The first amendment was proposed by our guests: because of the rain, they planned to cancel outdoor meetings, given the torrential rains that announced the weather forecast. But our team objected that solution. We insisted that all the meetings should be maintained and we suggested to pray so that the rains stops during the actions in the neighbourhood and in the evening outdoors meetings. Finally we decided together to hold four meetings among them three in a public place and the last one in the church compound of Canaan parish. We sent this prayer request to all our prayer teams in Africa and France: we needed prayer for no rain during the outdoors activities.

Then the tasks were distributed as follow: Daniel Mpondo had in charge the trainings, Emmanuel Koum and Armando Gomes the public meetings.

The trainings

It was indeed a teamwork. During training, Emmanuel and Armando used to intervene whenever the opportunity arose. Also when I trained the evangelists, each of them spoke with a presentation of at least one hour based on their experiences in the field of evangelization. The discussions at the end of the period were conducted by the three members of our team. This was facilitated by the habit of working together for over thirty years with Emmanuel and for some years with Armando. I particularly enjoyed their collaboration.

The Evangelist and Adviser training was the most exciting. It was absolutely necessary because we
saw how much it was needed before field work, because of lack of experience of most of the participants. We were also encouraged by the potential, despite the small number of participants (about thirty as we were hoping a minimum of fifty), consisting of university students and school Bible study groups, with their thirst of knowledge and action. Many questions were raised for which we had précised answers. We provided three full days from about 9am to 5pm with a break of at least an hour for our lunch we shared in the Church compound. We devoted the end of the third day to the conception of the documents necessary to coach the newly converted. It was in the form of practical workshop. These documents had to be printed to serve in the field the following day. On the fourth day, Saturday June 21st was devoted to the work in the field. After a short briefing, local officials undertook the distribution of teams, then their sent them by sector. The teams left around 9am and were expected back around 2pm. When back, we had lunch together before we returned to classroom to analyse the results. The debriefing was extraordinary. The evangelists were themselves surprised by the experiences they have had. One of them, a young lady, gave us the following testimony; “when you sent us in the field I prayed God not to send me to Muslims but it’s the opposite that happened to me? I only met Muslims and they were opened to the Gospel! Contacts were so easy and so extraordinary that I just couldn’t believe… only God could do that!” she concluded. They left with anxiety in their stomach, they came back exited telling what the Lord had done through them! It was the same all the week long.

The following day, Sunday 22nd was the Bouake District’s Superintendent installation service. A
delegation came from Abidjan for this purpose, including senior officers off the EMU-CI Directorate, the General Secretary and the National leader of the evangelism department, the Very Reverend Marcel SACHOU. It was a grand worship service during which I had the opportunity to give her Bible to a very young girl who won a prize she did not receive on my last visit in April. Armando Gomes, the evangelist and singer member of our visiting team intervened twice during the service. The service lasted more than four hours.


Next day, on Monday June 23rd, we started door to door evangelism in neighbourhood until the last day of public meetings, Friday June 27th. The first day was entirely devoted to work in the streets, door to door. We met the evangelists in the church every morning at 8:30 and after a briefing
followed by a time of prayer and praise, we sent them to the field in the area of the day. They were back to headquarter around 1:30pm ad we shared they field work in reports they did. After we had analysed these reports, we made necessary corrections and gave them additional information to help them improve their job. Evangelist Emmanuel Koum each time emphasized the need to monitor saved souls and contacted people. He insisted on the importance of the appointments and interviews that should be almost every day with them until their integration into a community. Some people interviewed belonged to other local churches. For these cases we advised them to contact the leaders of their churches and after a required follow-up, they should give them back to their churches. It could be an incentive for future collaboration with these churches and a basis for cross relationship between churches in the area. It would be good for this Region which Christian population 80% before the civil war, a tragic event experienced by this country, is reduced to less than 20% now, that Christians work in partnership for regional evangelism.

Public evening meetings began on Tuesday, June 24th at the main square of the city. It is our
evangelist and singer Armado Gomes who launched the campaign. We had a handicap that night due to the World Cup in the television with the Ivorian team playing that night. However a soul was won that night and the Bible says the Angels rejoice in heaven in this occasion. Praise God! Next day, Wednesday 25th, Emmanuel Koum was the speaker and on Thursday 26th again Armando. He concluded the outdoor public meeting. The last public meeting on Friday 27th was held in the courtyard of the church Canaan with Emmanuel as speaker. Throughout the evening the Lord was with us. Overall, many souls came to the Lord. We prayed for the sick and needs. Armando was of great demand for his evangelistic songs and this happened every evening and we enjoyed his performances. The Lord has blessed, His name be glorified!

On Saturday 27th, we gathered at Canaan parish with the evangelists who took part to the actions and the officers of the EMU-CI for an evaluation meeting with the purpose to make some recommendations. We thus analysed the results of our mission to Bouake we found globally positive. We regret that there was such a low participation of people in the training seminar for evangelists. We were hoping for a minimum of 50 participants and we have only trained a 30’s. In addition, evangelists from the neighbouring villages being returned to their respective localities after practice on Saturday, in evangelism in Bouake. This greatly reduced the team who did the door to door in the field and made I difficult the survey of those who were contacted during the door to door and street evangelism as we would have liked. We then complained that church leaders have deserted the leadership training seminar, when it was provided free of charge. We warned that next time this seminar for the leadership is not going to be entirely free of charge. We also found that the majority of people contacted by the evangelists were Muslims. Therefore we came to conclusion that there was an obvious need availability and a real need at that side and that a special and adequate training is necessary. We couldn’t take actions in the localities the national leaders wanted to add to our mission. With these findings we made the following recommendations. We recommend to the officers, namely the national leader in charge of the department of evangelism and local church leaders:
-      To meet the need of transportation for the trained evangelists so that they honour they their appointments for mentoring won souls until their inclusion in the churches of their localities
-        To provide additional and specific training for evangelisation of Muslims
-      To encourage trained evangelists to continue the field work in neighbourhoods and to join the trained evangelists of the villages we couldn’t reach, namely of Tchimou, Assekkro, Beoumi and Sakassou in order to undertake together outreach in these localities. This could be done on a rotating program, a locality after another so that the evangelists yet few in number could join their forces to make simultaneous campaign and perform these actions.
-   To continue the training after our mission comes to an end, encouraging the transmission by officials who have completed this training.

We assured them of our readiness, if our respective programs allow, and if we are given adequate time to organize ourselves, to give them back a hand of fellowship for future training and field actions. The national leader for evangelism promised to speak to the committee. In addition, he encouraged Dr Kebe-Mambo who is the promoter of our mission to follow our program and keep contacts.

The afternoon was devoted to evangelistic concert with a well-known Christian Singer in the country, with contributions of other local Christian Singers. On this occasion also, our colleague Armando Gomes was invited to join the team for a singing tour. It was a memorable moment which concluded two weeks of actions that we led in Bouake.

Next day, Monday June 29th, we took the bus that led s to Abidjan where Armando had his flight back to Europe the same night, and I had mine next day. Pastor Emmanuel Koum had his, back to Cameroon, two days later.

We want to thank all those who prayed for this mission to succeed despite the rain. The Lord answer our prayers: when we arrived, it was raining cats a dogs, some programs in Dabou had been cancelled for these reason. When we arrive Bouake, we opposed the cancellation of any part of the program outdoor and we asked our prayers support teams to pray that rain stops whenever we send the evangelists out in the field until they come back, and also during the public meetings in the evenings. It was what happened: when the storm threatened, we received only a few drops and it stopped. But the day we took the bus to go back to Abidjan, after a few miles it started to rain spouts so that the floods prevented our friends in Dabou to come as we planned, to keep us company and accompany us to the airport. Pastor E. Koum I had on the phone two days after we left told me it was raining continuously since our departure. May the Lord be glorified!