Missions Survey Trip to Togo

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[ezcol_2third]Our missions committee sent me to survey the status of Christianity in Togo specifically through the mission board ABWE, and find how we can better engage with the work there. I found Christianity flourishing and reproducing church after church as they continue to reach the most remote parts of Togo. People are being saved. Churches are being planted. Pastors are being trained. It is exciting stuff. The influence of AWBE in Togo spans from hospitals to Bible institutes to christian schools to health evangelism organizations and more. As a church, we can learn, pray, give and go.

LEARN about the needs and opportunities in Togo 
See my pictures and descriptions in a Facebook album.

PRAY specifically for the Togolese and missionaries
GIVE wisely by funding the effective and sustainable ministries in Togo
GO on a short term trip as a pastoral trainer or medical physician

My biggest lessons from the trip:
1. Large-team missions brings advantages and disadvantages

The work required to maintain a modern hospital in Togo is incredible. Numerous full-time missionaries are required for the extensive needs of the hospital compound, but these US missionaries may be spending little or none of their time building up the local churches. That being said, the hospital specifically (along with the many other ministries) has had an incredible influence on building Christianity in Togo. The number of churches that have started out of the Bible studies begun after a hospital visit is staggering and beautiful.

DSC_18022. Effective missions requires a long term commitment

The hospital sees thousands of decisions for Christ each year, but the Togolese people are very compliant, particularly with foreigners. With the added complexities of Togo’s low literacy rates and being a developing nation, building healthy churches in Togo requires several generations of Biblical teaching that will grow into and revolutionize their culture. A simple prayer in a hospital bed is not enough.

3. Pastors must be well trained for their circumstance

The average village pastor may not need a PhD in Theology to effectively minister the Scriptures to his people. He will however need to be able to articulate the story of humanity Bible, the exclusiveness of Jesus the Christ, and what Christ-like living looks like in his culture. He must overcome several hurtles to learn how to study and preach, like getting time away from the family farm, improving his second language (French) enough to read theological resources, and raise enough money to pay for travel and tuition. A pastor remarked to me that Togo’s greatest need is quality pastoral trainers.

DSC_17314. The world needs to send more missionaries

Togo is a tiny country on the massive continent of Africa (about .18% of its area and .6% of its population). Two main pockets of the country are still considered “unreached.” With help training and raising up new pastors, the Togolese can eventually reach those pockets. But the churches in Togo are already strategizing about how to send out their own missionaries because the surrounding countries (Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso) have enormous numbers of unreached people.

5. Mission boards have their place

The work God has accomplished in Togo through the influence of ABWE missionaries is simply astonishing. Togo has been healed physically, reached spiritually and trained pastorally through the coordinated efforts of this team. It has plenty of overhead and administrative oversight, but no one can doubt how thoroughly God has and is using ABWE to build a healthy Togolese church.

 

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Togo

Togo shares the African coast of the North Atlantic Ocean.

  • Population: 7 million
  • 35,000 sq mi (about the size of Indiana)
  • Doctor-per-patient ratio: 1 to 25,000 (US: 1 to 390)
  • 10% of population infected with HIV
  • 152: Human Development Index (US: 12)
  • 78/1,000: Infant Mortality Rate (US: 7/1,000)
  • 510/100,000 (US: 11/100,000)
  • 1-in-3: Togolese Practice some form of animism
  • Least happy country in the world: UN’s World Happiness Report
  • Official Language: French
  • 43 languages (only 6 have Bibles)

TOGO VISIT

Mango, Kara, Kpalime. (top to bottom)

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