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UPDATE! June 2019 - Praise God for the donation of $10,000 received that will cover the needs explained below. Please continue praying for this project.
There is a small town situated in the far North of Togo, hundreds of kilometres from the capital Lome. People have a constant fear of the wrath of evil spirits, so they appease them through continual sacrifices. Even in churches, biblical doctrine is often mixed with traditional practices of idolatry and devil worship. The people of this region although courteous are closed to the Gospel. Nevertheless, many want deliverance from the fear and control of the evil spirits.
For the next 2 years, our focus is to concentrate our efforts on recordings and distribution in this region. We aim to introduce Jesus to these people and see their lives transformed.
The beginning: Assam*
Recordist Atta and Director John from GRN Togo visited the village. At first sight, it looks beautiful and peaceful. A clear lowland with beautiful scenery, far away mountains next to Ghana, smiling people warmly welcoming the visitors, and above all, the absence of noticeable idols, give the travelers a false sense of tranquility. Yet, some nickname this village "the village of assassins" because the inhabitants use sorcery to kill one another. Here, the idols (or fetishes) are buried or hidden. Elders of the village perform their rituals at the fetish tree (shrine) even during the day.
GRN has no messages recorded in the local dialects.
Ministry partner Assam, a local evangelist working in the village, confirmed '98% of the population don't understand any other language than theirs'.
GRN Togo's priority is the recording of these two languages.
Assam's assistant and interpreter, a young man who speaks some French explained: 'there is no true Christians here. The first missionary who came here got sick and died. His wife took over and died also. After their two children tried to continue the work of their parents and they died also' . . . 'That's why nobody talks about Jesus here.'
The villagers are afraid that if they come to Christ, they would experience the same fate as the missionary family. They are afraid of the evil spirits they serve and losing the protection of these spirits. Those who detach themselves from the fetishes are subject to evil spiritual attacks from everywhere, especially their own family.
Assam finances most of his activities through his job as a carpenter. He saves enough money to return to the village to serve the Lord.
After a year, some of the villagers accepted Jesus. The number attending church on Sunday reached 50 women and children and attendance is increasing. Most had never heard about Jesus before. Only women and children attend, the men do not want to make the step to embrace a new faith. Even though we can rejoice in the "conversions", almost all maintain a tie with a fetish or occult practice or ritual. They are ready to listen to the messages and go to church religiously, yet they have a hard time letting go of some of the old practices.
We believe that this is just a beginning and much work needs to be done to change lives. Not only we must present them Jesus, but also help them to be grounded in their new faith.
Partners: Baptist Mission and Radio of Hope
The Baptist Mission's Hospital opened in the region a few years ago. The patients of the hospital come from Togo and the neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Niger. The hospital chaplains use GRN materials to share Jesus with patients and workers every day. Sometimes they show GRN videos to groups of people. Jesus meets these people in their misery and lives are transformed.
The Baptist Mission wants to use the radio to broadcast biblical messages in local languages and are interested in broadcasting GRN recordings. The radio station is in its final stage of construction and the leaders are willing to work with GRN.
We are encouraged by the stories and activities of Assam and the opportunity to partner with the Baptist Mission and their radio station.
Provision of financial support for Assam for the next 6 months (1000 USD) to continue his activities uninterrupted. His continual presence enables him to engage with the local people regularly as well as with local pastors, maintaining communication with them.
- To identify and understand the needs of the people group through evaluation visits and pastoral care.
- To record messages that address specific needs in all the languages in the region.
- Distribution of recordings through the villages and broadcasts on the radio.
- Follow up visits to:
- monitor and encourage their spiritual progress
- gain an accurate idea of the need for new recordings
- encourage pastors in the villages where there are churches
- and train evangelists.
This is the first time GRN Togo has conducted a long-term project in the far north, far away from our home base in the south. The long distance and regular travel make the cost of this project higher than usual.
Through perseverance, long-term commitment and prayers, this project will have an impact.
To support this project in Togo please email Christine Platt in the Australian office.
Or you can give here designating your gift to "Freedom from Fear in Togo".
Assam* is not his real name