Thank you to all our prayer partners during the conference this week. We could truly feel the reality of your prayers! Here’s a summary of how we spent out time with the African leaders at this conference.

Summit Day One

Pastor Moses gave us a report from South Sudan. It was heart wrenching but inspiring at the same time. God is alive and well and is doing a miraculous work here. MTS now has a key denominational partnership through Bishop Jumah and Pastor Moses, the evangelical free church. Just last year this denomination planted 32 new churches in South Sudan alone! They’re waiting on our MTS training teams to come this May. Please be in prayer for the key trainers God is prompting to serve Him there.

Today there are 3,000,000 refugees in northern Uganda and these compassionate leaders are moving forward to bring them trauma care through the peace and hope of Christ’s love. Please pray for these courageous, compassionate men as they move forward in faith.

From Bishop Jumah:

In Rwanda we were invited to come and taste and test. We are wanting the whole MTS model for our churches and refugee camps because:

  • People are divided around tribal lines
  • Families are divided because of poverty
  • Children stand in line all day for one meal
  • Women are raped while waiting in line for water
  • There are 3,000 children in one classroom
  • Men are shot and killed right in the street

MTS is helping us know God as the One to help us recover. We have lost everything, but God is still on the throne. We Christians must act love and not just talk it.

We will form training teams that can then move around and train others. This will move trauma care through our churches and camps. We will organize the trainers into departments. People are dying of cancer in the camps because it is not caught early. MTS is our solution and will equip our people and we’ll find hope and help. God is the God of the miraculous and we’ll trust Him for the saving work He is preparing us to do.

God’s time for us is now. We’re not beginning we’re continuing!

What other African leaders shared at the conference…

“I first attended By His Wounds Training in Rwanda, and was like a butterfly drinking from water from the Nile. Where to start? I decided to start with my family. I realized that I was an abuser as a father and husband. My child was failing in school and I was the problem. Then I began confessing, first in my family, then in our churches. Then Jumah came to do the MTS training for our leaders. I was learning how to listen and to know how to facilitate healing for them. We was more! MTS will be coming in spring 2018 to our refugee camps in northern Uganda. MTS brings peace and healing and begins with me.”

“In 2013 I found myself in a refugee camp. What am I? Am I Ugandan or Sudanese? Why? Where do I get medicine for my heart and mind? MTS… they are bringing us medicine.”

“We have now taken in 18 children from the camps. MTS helped heal my temper and has given me capacity to care for my extended family and ministry. MTS is helping me solve my problems personally and in ministry. The Holy Spirit’s presence is there.”

“I’ve now incorporated MTS resources into our ministry for children and adults. People who don’t know the gospel are burning up.”

Summit Day Two

Thanks so much for your prayers. It’s incredibly humbling serving these East African caregivers. There are four countries represented: Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

We begin each day with worship. Here is a short clip of worship so you can get a glimpse of the joy and passion in this room.

Most of the participants needed armed escort to get to the conference center on day one. Bishop Jumah, from South Sudan shared how he passed just minutes after ten soldiers were killed beside the road. Most of the leaders at this summit have lost multiple family members due to war and violence, and yet they still stand in faith, declaring the goodness of God. They’re compassionate caregivers who put their lives on the line to offer trauma care in the name of Jesus.

Bishop Jumah is also a denominational officer for the evangelical free church. He describes MTS  and By His Wounds as the gospel of healing.

“I’ve tried and tested it and am thankful MTS has helped me. Now I want it for my teams, my pastors and then for my churches. I thank you for coming!”

Thank you for helping us serve them. Because of your support MTS can offer these 25 top tier MTS trainers who have come to this conference compassionate care, good food, beautiful lodging, pastoral and clinical support, and advanced training. How right this is!

Summit Day Three

Mama Abia has been one of our partners for the last decade, and has attended every training we’ve offered in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2007. She is the founder of CEPIMA which runs five mental health rehabilitation clinics in Butembo, Beni, Oicha, and Bunia, all within the “triangle of death” in the DRC.

She is full of joy and overcomes fear daily as she offers trauma care in the context of war and violence. On day one of the conference, she described the relief she felt crossing the Congo border into Uganda; it was the first time she felt physically safe in years.

Mama Abia thanked us repeatedly for investing in her and her staff, who are now trained in MTS and By His Wounds, so they can care for and treat 3000 patients in CEPIMA’s five clinics each year.

On day three of the conference, she shared about the significant difference MTS trainings and resources have made in her in-patient population. In the last two years, the average inpatient stay has decreased from three months to two weeks!

Mama Abia is now one of our MTS trainers and facilitates trainings in hospitals, churches, and nongovernment organizations. She asked us to come to Bunia, the corrupt border city of the DRC, next year and train the pastors, doctors, and nurses in that area. Of course, we told her in faith, that YES, we will come. God will make a way.

What a joy it has been to offer these heroes of faith refuge, healthy food, beautiful clean beds, and advanced training. Half of the participants have been MTS partners for eleven years, and the other half are new since bringing Jumah on full time as our African director.

Jumah now has a small team of trainers, and they continually train leaders of faith and government organizations in both By His Wounds and Vulnerable Child (VC). The demand for VC is very high in Africa, since 60% of Congo’s population are children. Being at this conference and hearing these stories drives us forward to finish the Vulnerable Child curriculum as quickly as we can. We are currently piloting it in Uganda and Congo, which will help us to finish the final contextualization for all of Africa once we have published VC in Spanish and city and faith versions next November, Lord willing.

Who would have dreamed that MTS would be chosen by God to provide trauma training and biblical resources for God’s choice leaders? Thank you for your support and for helping us help them.

He himself bore our sins on His body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed
(Peter 2:24)

Summit Day Four

The South Sudanese pastors, Jumah and Moses, led worship to begin the day. It was quite an experience having two pastors who have literally lost everything they own and live in impoverished refugee camps, sing of Jesus’ goodness. They were both ecstatic about the conference, saying it has given them training they’ve never received to help them heal from trauma they’ve carried their whole lives.

Pastor Jumah oversees dozens of churches. He was so grateful to get the reference books we gave him. He told me he lost his entire library when he fled South Sudan, and has so missed having books to prepare his sermons and lessons.

Jumah and Moses can’t wait for us to come back and train their pastors in the camps this May. Jumah had to leave early to travel back to South Sudan to help with some severe church needs. This is an incredibly dangerous trip, and many have told him not to go, but he says Jesus said he must go so he will. We so admire their faith, and we are honored to assist them in every way we can!

Summit Day Five

We finished our five-day Africa summit with 24 attendees from four countries, representing 16 different ministries! Collectively these organizations minister directly to thousands of people each month. Thanks so much for your prayers for the attendees’  safety as they traveled to and from the conference, and for your financial support. It was off-the-charts successful!

Dr. Gerry Breshears taught each day on the Psalms, and Kelsey Hawk taught on trauma, and the front-line workers in attendance ate up the teaching. As one of our Congo partners put it “we will scoop out all of this MTS training and use it for our people.”

The timing was perfect for them. Congo and South Sudan keep getting worse, and they so needed the encouragement and training. David who came from Beni, Congo missed a fatal rebel attack on the road near the Ugandan border by mere hours. Please pray for them as the travel back home.

Over and over all who attended thanked us, and said they felt so loved by God that we would come give them this training. Every single person shared how MTS curriculum has miraculously helped them heal, and so many spoke of the amazing fruit they are seeing in their ministries, attributed it directly to your prayers. Thanks for standing with us.

Thank you for supporting this summit with prayer and financial investment. God is rapidly expanding MTS borders. The fruit of our investment in East Africa in the last ten years is increasingly evident. May God direct us in the days ahead to know how best to support these MTS teams.

Celebrating a faithful and compassionate God!

With gratitude and love,

Steve & Celestia

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Posted: January 26, 2018