The Lord be with you.
I have returned from Liberia after three months working with Victory Ministry. Please find below a report and some pictures. (Here is the phase one report from earlier.) God has been very gracious to us on the second phase of ministry.
I continue to enjoy the fruits of your prayers and support. I am very grateful for such expression of your love and care for the people in West Africa and lost souls. My vocabulary is limited to fully express the appreciation of the people we work with, my teams, pastors, and myself.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Samar Ghandour
209 Cedarwood Dr., Salisbury, NC 28147 • (704) 645-0006
Daily Becoming A Better Slave For Jesus Christ • Serving West Africa: Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone with Victory International Ministry
Phase Two Of Victory Ministry Operations Summary
1. Assisted in the structuring of an administrative or leadership council for the churches in Liberia for now. Provided training in theology, church administration, biblical interpretation, preaching, Bible study, specific instructions on the communion, and worship.
2. Assisted the process of deciding on a national convocation
3. Commissioned Pastors and missionaries to lead the churches and expand the gospel in their localities.
4. Facilitated the planting of thirteen churches during this second phase
5. Guided the transition of leadership of the council in a peaceful
6. Commissioned the first female pastor
7. Reviewed the theological school in Sanniqullie
8. Broke grounds for the church in Zuah Town
9. Provided financial assistance for some pastors and church members
10. Met with the relatives of the late Pastor Gboveh concerning his children and their school.
11. Provided evangelism and missions: tools, equipment, and challenges
12. Provided used laptops donated by a friend of Pastor Charles Aurand, Abiding Presence Lutheran Church (LCMC)
Upon my arrival in Liberia, the pastors of several churches assembled together and decided that they want to form the churches into a denomination in Liberia. We studied and prayed about it. Finally, at 4:30 am, April 18, 2014, they all agreed to be a denomination called Victory Ministry, refusing to change the name.
Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast were divided into eight regions with several subsections called districts. Deans were elected to head the four active regions: Region one: Albert Gwain—Ivory Coast, Guinea, Nimba, and Upper Bong. Region two: Edwin Sumo—Lower Bong, Margibi, and Eastern Montserrado. John Koenig: Region three—Western Montserrado, Eastern Bomi, Gbapolu, and Lofa. Gbessie Dassen: Region four—Western Bomi, Capemount, and Sierra Leone. The remaining regions don’t have any churches for now. The current regions may also split if there are more churches in any one of them.
They have a council consisting of deans, secretary, treasurer, and financial secretary. Later they plan to expand the council to the men president, youth president, women president, and an administrator that takes cares of all temporal matters. Leadership of the council is headed by deans on a quarterly basis. Koenig first for three months, Sumo for the next three months, followed by another person to be elected.
To facilitate an effective leadership service to the people and churches, we conducted a church administration training, training in doctrines, emphasizing scripture, faith and salvation, and correcting the difference between syncretism and biblical application.
The council has decided to hold the church first national convocation on February 4, 2016 in Sanniqullie, Nimba County, Liberia. They are praying for the completion of a five hundred and fifty seat church to host the convocation. Please pray with them
We were blessed to have returned to Nimba County, where majority of the churches are. We traveled to seven towns: Logatue, Zienglay, Lolay, Karnplay (house Church, Zeahplay, Gar Zulue, and Wienta Town to show the Jesus film in the Dan and Mano languages. Through God’s grace several people came to express faith in Christ, and the follow-up teams have gone into the towns to plant churches in each of them.
We were also able to review the operations of the theological school to ensure theological and academic integrity in the process.
Two towns were originally not on the plan for visits but while returning to Monrovia from Tienii’s groundbreaking, the Spirit of God led me to stop in Nangana to abruptly stop and ask for permission to show the Jesus film. The Cape Mount team reminded me that this town was not on the plan. I told them God has spoken to me that there is no church in the town so we need to stop and show the Jesus film in the local language. They hesitantly agreed and we asked the chief’s permission. She was gracious to give us permission. I asked her if she would consider having Jesus as her Lord and Savior, she told me permission was only granted for the film show and not to witness to the chief.
At the end of the film show, twenty seven people expressed faith in Christ. This posed a big challenge for me to have a team to come in and execute the church planting process. I asked the dean of the region if he could work out something from the Tienii Church and the Kinjor church to form a team along with region two to follow-up in the town. God blessed us with a very effective team and a church is started in the town as we write this report.
The second town of miracle was Gehwee, in Nimba County, close to Sanniqullie. I arrived in Sanniqullie and I asked the dean of Region one if a church was in that town. He informed that there two churches in the town: Catholic and Inland, both teaching traditions instead of salvation through faith in Christ. I informed him that God is leading me to start a church in the town. He told me it is not a part of our plan but I was quick to remind him that this one is God’s plan. We went in and about forty-six people expressed faith in Christ. A team from region one went in with discipleship training and started a church. Today Gehwee has a church that meets in a house.
I visited Karnplay church to help strengthen the brethren there. This church was started by a village church, the first church we planted in 2011, Marbor. Pastor Anthony Boah, a man zealous to preach the Gospel challenged a member of the church to go as a missionary to Karnplay. God bless the effort and they are meeting in a house where the church is growing and they may soon not be able to meet in the house.
The Kakata team in region two was able to start the church with some guidance and further training. The church has been meeting for a month but growth is a struggle. The dean, Pastor Edwin Sumo, is working on training leaders in discipleship and lay gospel preaching. The Ganta team, who was unable to begin work but is still in the process of equipping itself with the help of the dean, Pastor Albert Gwain, and district leader, Pastor Albert Suah, to work with the team leader Pastor Jefferson Lekpeh for the church to be planted. Please pray for them.
We returned to region two along with the dean and other team members to execute the plan to start five churches in the Todee area, strengthened one in Zuah Town, where we broke ground for a church edifice. Through the power of God, some towns flatly refused us but five embraced us: Jones Town, Zannah Town, Yawayeh, Gbeno Town, and Plemu Town.
At the groundbreaking service for the Zuah Town church, the following people were commissioned: Pastor Patrick Sesay, pastor Zuah Town; Pastor Sims, Pastor Plemu Town; Pastor Flomo, Pastor Gbeno Town, and Pastor Suah, assistant pastor, Zuah town.
On April 13, 2014, a rotational leadership service was held at the Paynesville, Pipeline church. Pastor John Koenig, Dean of Region three handed council leadership to Pastor Edwin Sumo, Dean of region two. At this service Bros. Pewu Cordor and Emmanuel Tumay were commissioned missionaries to Todee for the expansion and strengthening of the work in that area. Other commissioned are Pastor Agnes Smith (only female preacher), assistant pastor, Pipeline church, Pastor Moses Senmie, Pastor Kakata church.
God blessed us with three used laptops. They were provided to regions one and two, and one to the secretary. This will provide an effective way to communicate with me, their people and other leadership. Emails, photos, video, letters, souvenir program design, and other would be handled more effectively without the cost of going to a computer shop to have them prepared at a large amount.
The remaining time was devoted to the struggle to establish myself as a Liberian. I was denied the renewal of my passport because of the misinterpretation of a clause in the Liberian constitution, declaring me a non-Liberia. I had to go through many tedious security, and legal processes to reestablish my citizenship.
I saw it as the work of the enemy, who is seeking to prevent me from spreading the gospel. I would have to pay $618.00 to reschedule my flight, in addition to all the other monies spent for the process. Thanks God I was blessed to have received the passport the very day I was travelling, one hour away from the airport and late one hour for check in. God blessed me and I was there on time enough where the plane itself delayed a little before arrival. I was not discouraged and scared. I will continue to do what God has called me to do in West Africa or anywhere else.
My car was rammed into by a commercial motorcyclist. The owner of the motorcycle came and threatened to burn my car and kill me. It was such a time that God gave me boldness to tell him that I challenge him to do it, insisting he is not able attempt it, that scared him off with his gang.
We went to the police station, they were wrong. They pleaded with me to forgive them. I waived all my rights and offer to fix my car myself. They being penniless, I offered them money to attend to the child that was wounded on the motorcycle. They began to call me their father but I wanted to move on to Sanniqullie, an hour’s drive from Ganta. It was early in the morning but I insisted to move forward with the broken glass and damaged doors on the driver side. Fortunately for me, I had Dean Sumo with me and the pastor at Sopea Town came to see his uncle and met me there. In fact, when the pastor informed his uncle, the commander that I am his boss, the opted to jail all the family members who had come to station. I had to plead for them in a typical Liberian setting. Nothing will discourage me. “The church must be planted” is my theme and my song. It shall always be till God calls me otherwise.
Some of the biggest challenges that I have are transportation for the deans to move around their region and teach their people; some remuneration or some financial assistance for them to assistant in providing some lively hood for them and their families.
Others are the equipment we use to do the work are very limited. I was blessed with an amplifier and speakers from Salem used a small generator at the onset of the work, it damaged the amplifier. It made it difficult or sometimes impossible to work. I had to resort to using a micro projector with an mp4 formatted version of the Jesus film. With some wisdom from above, I used the micro projector along with a local sound system that uses regular batteries. This was effective for us up to my departure.
I will be seeking funding to purchase four micro projectors and motorcycles for the deans for each of the regions and four sound system to be used for the work until such a time when we can move with a larger generator.