It's hard to put into words what has happened in the last three days. But I must try!
Sally and I just returned an hour ago from three wonderful days with our All Nations leaders from around South Africa and Mozambique. There are are a little more than 50 staff and volunteers working with All Nations in this part of the world. They are involved in 21 different church plants and some amazing ministries to the poor. The churches range in size from a new church in Maputo, Mozambique of three young men who are being discipled in a "simple" church, to a thriving house church that has just sent out four teams to the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.
We came away from these three days tremendously encouraged because of the unity between our workers, the vision they have for discipleship and reaching the nations, the maturity level of our leaders, and the passion they carry for Jesus. After the team that went to Lebanon (there were 32 people on the team divided up into five locations around the country) gave a report on their time of ministering to children, counseling and praying with parents who were traumatized by the war, doing construction on a lone church building in the Hezbollah dominated south of Lebanon, we had an awesome time of prayer for that war torn country. There were many tears shed, and some people who made commitments to go back full time. We have been invited to start a full time leadership training program (CPx) in Lebanon and we are taking steps to accept the invitation.
We also spent time discussing and strategizing how to respond to the AIDS crisis in Africa and how that works with our vision to build church planting movements. We agreed that we must respond to the widows and orphans who are left behind when mothers and fathers with AIDS die. This often means there is no hope of work, food or medicines for those left behind. We have adopted a new strategy as our main thrust of caring for AIDS impacted widows and orphans. That is to support the grandmothers and grandfathers left behind who are caring for their grandchildren, to train them about AIDS, get them food, and help them qualify for ARV's (anti-retroviral drugs). We will train long term workers to equip the "grannies" who are left to care for the children, enlist the help of the village heads or local social agencies and humanitarian organizations, and follow up with church planting teams to win and gather a supportive community of believers who will gather around them. In this way we are working through the existing African social structures, co-operating with the village and township leaders as they seek to care for their own people, and start small churches in each community that will carry on the work of loving those in need.
We will continue to operate baby houses for crisis situations where there is no one to take care of an orphaned child, but we feel in the long run we can do much more by working through the existing African social structures instead of creating new structures (orphanages) that are totally dependent on outside money and expertise.
Of course, the key to all of this is mobilizing and equipping workers who will lay down their lives to bring the good news of Jesus in word and deed. Pray with us for those workers, will you? Our commitment is to train them, partner with local churches to send them, and coach and care for them as they serve on the front lines.
Pictures From Our Retreat
Would you like to visit the recent retreat through viewing a few pictures? Click here to view the pictures
Thank you for your interest of our work in this wonderful continent. God loves Africa... and so do we!
Floyd and Sally McClung