EMS Urgent Prayer Needs and Financial Appeal

by Rev. Simon Yako | For more than three decades, the education of EMS Missionaries Children became a major issue to the Ministry. In the early sixties, an EMS Children School was built in Wushishi, Niger State and later in Miango Plateau State, but could not survive due to poor funding.

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EMS of ECWA which is one of the largest indigenous mission agencies in Africa started when the then Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) now Serving in Missions (SIM) saw the need of involving Nigerian indigenes in planting churches across the country and beyond. Therefore, in 1948 a movement began by the name African Missionary Society (AMS) and after ECWA was registered, the name AMS was changed to EMS in 1964.

EMS of ECWA is a faith-based agency as well as a non-profit organization. Presently, EMS has about 1800 missionary couples that are serving in different location in Nigeria and beyond.


Though many of our EMS missionaries are facing enormous security challenges of attacks from Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, Bandits and Abductors, yet, they are willing to serve until Jesus takes them home to be with Him; this is at the detriment of their lives.


Many of our EMS missionaries are facing health challenges of different types because of the nature of the areas they are Many are serving where there is no good drinking water. Recently, many of our missionaries were examined and it was discovered that many have Hepatitis and from 2018, the Head Office spent over 9.1 million Naira on medical treatment alone. We have also lost 5 missionaries in the last 2 years as a result of that.


For more than three decades, the education of EMS Missionaries Children became a major issue to the Ministry. In the early sixties, an EMS Children School was built in Wushishi, Niger State and later in Miango Plateau State, but could not survive due to poor funding.

As years passed by, missionaries became more concerned about the plight of their children’s education, and this resulted to the attrition of many missionaries. In 1996, EMS took the challenge to open the EMS Children School in Jos, EMS Children School Lakwame, EMS Children School Kufana, trusting God to help expand the scope, and to reduce the risk of travelling long distances with the insecurity challenge from Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen etc. For there would be no better successors of the missionaries in future than their own children. Praise God that despite the field challenges the missionaries are still in their duty post.

Currently, EMS Children School Jos has about 398 pupils with 40 orphans. It was started to meet the educational need of children of missionaries who are working in Central Region of Nigeria where we have had a lot of insurgency attacks in areas where our missionaries are serving.

EMS Children School Lakwame has about 156 children with 16 orphans. This was started to meet educational need of children of missionaries who are working in the Eastern part of Nigeria where we have the activities of the Boko Haram going on.

EMS Children School Kufana has about 90 pupils with 8 orphans. The school was also started to meet the educational needs of our missionary children whose parents are serving in the core-north of Nigeria where we have a lot of persecution.

EMS Urgent Prayer Needs and Financial AppealThe ongoing Jos campus EMS children school dining hall building project
Therefore, as you pray, we are also appealing for financial support towards the following projects:

  1. For God to provide funds to complete the dining hall building project costing N5, 000,000(N5M) Naira or $14,000 before the rains
  2. To help pay outstanding medical bills of our missionaries costing N 5m to 6m or $14,000 yearly
  3. To help in buying more grains to feed the EMS missionary children in the three schools costing N9m or $25,000
  4. To dig more wells in our mission fields costing N50 to 100 thousand naira per well or $ 300 to 400

Rev. Simon Yako is the Director of EMS of ECWA. He was the Foreign Missions Coordinator
for EMS OF ECWA for almost 31 years beginning in July 1988 in Jos, Plateau Sate Nigeria. Rev. Yako received his Bachelor’s degree in Missions in 1992 and M.A in Missions and Evangelism in 1995 from ECWA Seminary Jos.

Why Plant Churches in the USA?

by Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo M.Div, Th.M | The Psalmist urges us to declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Ps.96:3

America, with her approximately 350 million people, has the third largest population of any nation in the world. Although this number represents only about 4.28% of the entire world population, it comprises the highest number of the largest ethnic and groups of people in the world. Further, America has the highest number of growing immigrant population in the world, thus making it the greatest mission field in the world. These are not new facts. Missiologists established these statistics more than a quarter of a century ago.

Immigrants accounted for 4.7% of US population in 1970 and rising to 6.2% in 1980 and up to 12.5% in 2009. Since 2000 America absorbs at least 1 million immigrants annually. (Note that this excludes undocumented immigrants).

Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, charged His disciples thus saying, Do you not say, ’Four months more and then the harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest (Jn. 4:34). In His compassion for a desperate and distressed world, He urged them (us— ECWAUSA) … The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field Matt. 9:37-38.

Though record indicates that about 30,000 Churches shut their doors between 2006 to 2012; a study reported by the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion states that there has been a general increase in the number of Churches in the US since 1998. The National Congregations Study (NCS) conducted between 2006 and 2012 also indicates an increase from about 336,000 congregations in 1998 to about 414,000 in 2006 and perhaps leveled off at 338,00 in 2012. The Southern Baptist Church(SBC); America’s largest denomination, has about 50,000 congregations.

However, consider that these overall statistics include those denominations that have become apostate (denying the five Cardinal doctrines of the Bible), including the inspiration of the Bible and authority of the Scriptures and ordination of openly gay and homosexual individuals.

In Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, the situation is more bemoanable. The seemingly out of control upsurge of the Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic movement has become a reproach to the cause Christianity in Nigeria. Fake miracles, Occult practices, False and demonic doctrines, bogus titles by “ministers of God” (MOGs), excessive lavish lifestyles and materialism etc. (Reading material, The Seduction of the Nigerian Church by Gary Maxey and Peter Ozodo and The Modern Theology versus Biblical Theology by an ECWA pastor, Daniel Sopuru). According to Pew Research, Nigeria is the second most religious country in the world.

Apostle Paul stated the integrity that governed his ministry and should be the goal of every ministry in these words, “unlike so many we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ, we speak with sincerity, like men sent from God” “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have received this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 2:17;4:1-3).

For those who canvass in Philosophy, this is an upgrade from the Age of the Enlightenment of 17th and 18th Centuries. Author and pastor David Roper gives the following description of this period: we are living in what many have described as a Post-Christian era. That doesn’t mean there are no longer many Christians around; there may in fact be more true believers than ever before. ‘Post–Christian’ era means that Christian faith no longer plays a role in shaping public opinion and policy. Christian assumptions and commitments once widely held no longer have the presence and impact they once had.

A new hallmark of this period is characterized by the rise the “Nones.” The “Nones” are the new segment of the American population who identify themselves as religiously unaffiliated. And they are growing by the numbers. According to a study, in the 1950s, around 3% of Americans checked the “None” box when asked about their religious affiliation. That number has grown especially in the last decade to 20%. This group, according to Pew Research Center, makes up for about 23% of US adult population. About 33% of Millennial’s population fall into this category. In the last five years, this population grew from 15% to 20%.

Paul’s admonition to his protégé, Titus behooves us. …that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive (NIV) Tit. 2:10. The word attractive adorn (NKJV) kosmeo in Greek. The idea is to beautify or make beautiful in order to draw attention. The Gospel has become the object of ridicule and caricature in many quarters today for the reasons mentioned above especially when considering the state of the Church in both the United States and Nigeria. Judging by population and size ratio, Nigeria has the largest number of Churches and Christian population of any country in the world. United States and Nigeria are the two countries with the highest number of Church attendance population in the world.

May we aspire to spread the aroma of Christ as we are urged for we are to God the aroma of Christ.

The Psalmist urges declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples Ps.96:3. The Great Commission is preceded by Christ’s declaration of His possession of All authority in heaven and on earth (Matt.28:18) Contextually, therefore when we obey the Great Commission, we march under that divine authority and the promise of His company and abiding presence (vss.19-20). Also, the blessing of those who proclaim the God news would be abundantly ours (Isa.52:7).

Rev. Joseph EzeigboRev. Joseph Okechukwu Ezeigbo is a Bible teacher for the weekly Bible study at ECWA Maryland. He is also a part of the National Day of Prayer and the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted.

Biblical Mandate for Church Planting

by Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo M.Div, Th.M |It is through the Church that Christ intends to reign on earth, because the church is the visible manifestation of His mystical body . Eph.1:22-23. Col.1:18 (image: Grow Baby Grow, R. James Shupp).

The Biblical mandate for Church planting is inextricably interwoven with the Great Commission. This burden was uppermost in the Lord’s heart that it is repeated in all the four Gospels and in Acts.

The Church is not an afterthought but has been in the mind of God since eternity. Eph.1:4,;3:2-6. For this purpose we shall concentrate on Matthew 28:18-20. The apostles carried out this mandate immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts1:5-8,2:41-47. The mandate spells out what should be the stance of the church.  “ A church on the go”. The Church is a movement not a monument. Not just a movement, but a missionary movement. Matt.28:19-20; Acts 1:8.

It is a transformational movement ( make disciples of the nations) Matt.28:19

It is an educational/teaching movement. ( teaching them…) Matt.28:20.

Greater Purpose

There is yet a greater purpose for the mandate to plant churches.

  1. To declare the praises of Christ for our salvation 1 Pet.2:9
  2. To declare His glory through a life of holiness Eph.1:4,6;1 Pet.2:10-12.
  3. It is through the Church that Christ intends to reign on earth, because the church is the visible manifestation of His mystical body . Eph.1:22-23. Col.1:18.
  4. The Church is also the fullness of her Head (Christ) Eph.1:22-23.
  5. It is through the Church that Christ declares His reconciliation with mankind and between mankind. Eph.2:11-22; Col.2:18-22.
  6. It is the Church that makes manifest the mystery of the ages and through which the manifold wisdom of God is declared to the kingdom of darkness. Eph.3:9-10.
  7. The Church is God’s designated change-agent in the world Acts 17:6;2 Cor.2:14-16.( I recommend Christian Counter Culture, A Message of the Sermon on the Mount. (Inter-Varsity Press) by John Stott. Kingdom Disciples ( Moody Publishers) by Tony Evans.

First Century Examples

a. The early Christians obeyed this mandate Acts 8:4-7;11:19-21.

b. The apostle Paul carried out this mandate as he traveled and evangelized the Mediterranean world.Acts 14:21-23;16-20;1 Tim.1:3;Tit.1:5.

c. The Body of Christ is not a vague, amorphous visualization or imagination, but a tangible reality represented by a local church.

Rev. Joseph EzeigboRev. Joseph Okechukwu Ezeigbo is a Bible teacher for the weekly Bible study at ECWA Maryland. He is also a part of the National Day of Prayer and the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted.

Mission: Update from Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Dennis and Coletta Shelly, with Special Prayer Request

by Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Dennis Shelly | Hello from Kagoro, where we’re beginning to see some rains falling again. Thanks for your prayers and support.

One big challenge we’ve faced this past week is with my (Dennis’) health. I’m having atrial fibrillation, with a very irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, and a low pulse. This began mid-last week, but caused my chest to be very tight during Sunday’s morning church service. Coletta then called our SIM mate here at Kagoro Seminary, Dr. Alexis Stokes. She came and conferred what Coletta had found. Monday morning we cancelled our classes and had our Seminary driver take us in our Rav4 to Abuja (about 4 hours away on some very bad roads) for testing at the Nizamiye (Turkish) Hospital to see one Turkish interventional cardiologist. I had blood work, an X-ray, one ECG and one Ecocardiogram done. He confirmed what Dr. Alexis and Coletta had seen. I’m now taking one anti-coagulant.

Our home mission, Fellowship International Mission (FIM), along with SIM in Jos and our home church, Calvary Church, Lancaster, PA, all fully support our plan to go home promptly to get more medical assistance. Here at the Seminary we still have one week of classes this week, and then a week of finals from May 9-16, before the semester ends on May 16. “Our” original plan was to stay at Kagoro for one month to oversee our final exams and correct them and our papers before coming to the US on June 11 for a one-month medical home assignment. Now “God’s” plan is leading us to go to the US over one month earlier.

So we’ve booked flights on Air France to fly from Abuja this coming Monday night, May 7 (at 11 pm Nigerian time, 5 pm EST), to Paris, then on to Atlanta, Georgia, before we end in Philadelphia, PA, on Tuesday evening, May 8 (at 6:44 pm EST, 11:44 pm Nigerian time). We’ll stay overnight with Coletta’s sister and brother-in-law, Dee and Mike Lindsey, in Philadelphia on Tuesday, before Dee will drive us to Lancaster on Wednesday, May 9. We already have an appointment for me to see a heart specialist next Friday, May 11.

Special Prayer Request
1. For us to be confident in God’s direction and comfort during these next days of travel to the US, changed schedules, and going through the process of seeing US doctors, etc., to get Dennis’ medical problems solved without any crises.
2. For good final days of classes this week and during final exams May 9-16.
3. God’s provision of more school fees for many students before final exams begin next week. Students can’t take exams unless their school fees are fully paid for.
4. For God’s continued protection over ETSK and various areas of Nigeria from clashes between Fulani cattle herdsmen and local villagers, as well as continued suicide bombings in northeastern Nigeria.
5. For God’s choice of another Ph.D. holder in Intercultural Studies (Missions) to join me as ETSK as we began a new M.A. in Missions program this past semester.
6. For God to enable Dwight and Amy to round up their ministries at Hillcrest School well and return to the US on June 8th. They still need a job for Dwight, housing, etc.
7. For Stephanie to be in good health and a good witness as she works at two Urgent Care Centers in Rohrerstown and Ephrata, PA.

Thanks for your part in the ministries here at ETSK, especially as you pray for us and our medical situation now. “God’s” plans and timing are definitely much different than “ours,” but “His” are “best.” We’ll have new lessons to learn as we move ahead and trust the Lord the next few weeks. We’ll keep in touch.

Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Dennis and Coletta Shelly


Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Dennis and Coletta Shelly serve as faculty at EWCA Theological Seminary in Ka-goro, Nigeria. Connect via dennisshelly@uuplus.net

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko, SIM International Director | In joyful obedience, SIM workers continue to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Come, follow me!”
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.

Entering the season of Christmas, I am reminded of the words of the hymn, “O come, let us adore Him” and “Come, and behold Him!”, referring to the newborn King. Jesus would later speak the word come when he said, “Come, follow me.”

The invitation to Come!, available to us every day, is all the more poignant during the season of Christmas. Shepherds and foreign magi came to worship the incarnated Christ Child upon his arrival into human history. Through the ages, believers from numerous ethnic groups and nations have continued coming to worship and adore.

But this invitation is not heard by everyone on earth. Many are living and dying today behind barriers to the gospel that silence and block the come! And so we go to the ends of the earth so that many more may come to worship Him.

In 2018, SIM will celebrate its 125th anniversary. Our purpose and vision remains constant. Even as I write, many living in darkness are responding to the Christmas invitation to “Come, adore Him!” In joyful obedience, SIM workers continue to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Come, follow me!”.

Thank you for your prayers, gifts, support, friendship and service with, and alongside of, us, our family and SIM. Come, let us adore Him together!

Purpose & Mission

Convinced that no one should live and die without hearing God’s good news, we believe that He has called us to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in communities where He is least known.

Therefore, compelled by God’s great love and empowered by the Holy Spirit…

  • We cross barriers to proclaim the crucified and risen Christ, expressing His love and compassion among those who live and die without Him
  • We make disciples who will trust and obey Jesus, and become part of Christ-centered churches
  • We work together with churches to fulfill God’s mission across cultures locally and globally
  • We facilitate the participation in cross-cultural ministry of those whom God is calling.


The vision of SIM is to see a witness to Christ’s love where He is least known, disciples of Jesus expressing God’s love in their communities, and Christ-centred churches among all peoples.

By faith we see…
in the world: A vibrant testimony to the gospel through character, word and action among communities where currently Jesus is least known. Followers of Jesus living out the gospel in unity and in the power of the Holy Spirit, making disciples who trust Him, obey him, and play a full part in church life. Churches serving their communities and reaching out with the gospel locally and globally.

in SIM: A community growing in faith, in obedience to Jesus, and in ministry competence. Workers crossing barriers with the gospel, being and making disciples of Jesus, expressing His love and compassion. Multi-ethnic and multi-skilled teams serving together in love and harmony. Courageous leaders investing in the development of others for life transforming ministries. Effective partnerships with Christ-centered churches and organizations facilitating the spread of the Gospel.

in eternity: The redeemed from all tribes, languages, peoples and nations worshiping the Living God.


Rev. Dr. Panya Dabo Baba: A Man Apart

by Dr. Musa A. B. Gaiya | Panya personally founded the Nigeria Evangelical Mission Association (NEMA) that brought together all evangelical mission bodies (image courtesy of SIM/ECWA)

Rev. Dr. Panya Dabo Baba, a resident of the Overseas Ministry Study Center from 1996 to 1997, has been described as the greatest missiologist of the ECWA (formerly Evangelical Church of West Africa founded by the Sudan Interior Mission but now Evangelical Church Winning All). His tenure as director of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS) was outstanding and he raised the mission to an international level. The growth of the ECWA in Nigeria and abroad was mostly due to his ingenious mission strategy.

Panya was born in Karu on January 20, 1932 to Baba and Gnubwanyi, both of them Gbayi of Nasarawa State on Nigeria. Panya's parents were Christians, so he grew up in a Christian family. Baba was the chief of the Karu or the Estu Karu. At his birth Panya was named Panyadabo, which means "remember God the owner"–advice to Panya to remember God who made him. Panya did. When Panya sustained an injury that broke his skull as a toddler, his parents thought he would never survive. He survived but still carries a visible scar–a recovery which Panya considers miraculous. Later in his life, God also healed him of a very serious stomach ailment that almost killed him when he was working as a missionary.

Past and Current Involvement in Church Ministry

He began his early education by enrolling in the Karu SIM Primary School where he studied from 1942 to 1945. Panya heard the gospel from SIM missionary Mrs. H. W. Caster but did not understand it initially. In 1945, though, Panya clearly heard the gospel and received Christ as his personal Savior through Malam Sabuda, a student at the Karu Bible School who hailed from Kaltungo, in northeastern Nigeria. As Panya testified, "Kneeling to God in my small room, I told Him I was sorry for my sins and asked for His forgiveness. I told God I wanted to be one of His children. The moment I finished that prayer, I felt different…that was the day and time Jesus came into my life." Panya was baptized in 1946.

Having heard the call of God to go into full time Christian service, Panya studied at the Karu Vernacular Bible Training School from 1946 to 1947. In 1949 he accepted the challenge to become a missionary among his people, the Gbagyi, in Sarkin Pawa (Niger Province) in northern Nigeria to teach them the Bible. His desire to do mission work continued to grow. He returned to Karu in 1951 and was admitted to Karu Bible Training School for additional training in 1952. In 1954 he was called by the ECWA church in Karu to be a pastor starting in 1957 and was licensed and ordained in 1960. In 1961 Panya went to Kagoro Bible College where he earned a certificate in Bible. He returned to Karu in 1963 to continue as pastor of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) church there. But Panya's heart was more in missions. While Panya was pastoring this church he was appointed director of the Evangelical Missionary Society, where he made his most significant contribution to the course of evangelization of Africa.

Panya married Tayado Dokwadayi in February of 1951. Tayado means "Never depart"–perhaps a prayer that she not die. They had six children–three girls and three boys. They adopted an orphan boy named Ishaya at the age of six. Tayado died in childbirth on April 23, 1963.

Afterwards Panya married Ruth Lami Ataku on February 22, 1964. She gave birth to seven children, two of whom died. All together Panya had fourteen children including one adopted son. One of his sons, Luka, is now (2006) the Estu Karu or paramount chief of Karu.

Panya's growing interest in missions led him to apply to All Nations Christian College in England where he was accepted and studied from 1969 to 1970. When he returned to Nigeria he was the best person to take charge of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS)–at that time the only indigenous mission organization in Nigeria. His training at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, U.S.A. further enriched his understanding of missions and evangelism. He brought his knowledge, experience, leadership abilities, and zeal to EMS. He encouraged young graduates from Bible colleges and seminaries to join the mission, and as a result the number of missionaries increased from 194 in 1970 when he took over to 750 in 1988 when he left office as director.

He also believed in sending missionaries abroad as he felt Nigeria had come to that stage. As a result, EMS missionaries were sent out from two West African countries to five other countries including the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Panya believed in the interdependence between the developed world and the underdeveloped world in mission. He believed the developed West had a lot to give Africa in terms of finances, specialized personnel, and technical assistance, and Africa had a lot to give the West in terms of evangelism and mission. That is why when he stepped down as ECWA president in 1994 and he started the Foreign Mission of EMS.

Panya personally founded the Nigeria Evangelical Mission Association (NEMA) that brought together all evangelical mission bodies. Out of NEMA the Nigeria Evangelical Missionary Institute was created to train young men and women for cross-cultural mission work and the NEMA Searchlight Project designed to research unreached peoples groups. Through the Searchlight Project Panya discovered a number of ethnic groups in Nigeria that had not heard the gospel. These were the Koma, the Boko, the Dakawa, the Kambari, the Undir, the Dirim, and the Bolewa.

Panya was not only a missionary administrator and a strategist; he was also a missionary advocate. Everywhere he went he spoke on missions. At all the international conferences he attended any papers he gave were on the topic of mission. Panya was a member of several international missionary organizations and associations. Ruth Cox, his secretary while he was director of EMS, said of him, "He is always looking for ways to spread the gospel, looking for areas where it has not been preached. He doesn't know the difference between work and pleasure…to him they are the same. He has put missions and the gospel first…this is his life."

When Panya was elected president of the ECWA in 1988 it meant he would have to leave EMS, the place he loved so much. He served as president of ECWA for six years but although he did his work well he did not love it as much as being a missions' administrator. Also, it was very difficult to find someone to fill the vacuum created after Panya left EMS.

As a result of Panya's immense service in the ECWA, especially as EMS director, the governing council and faculty of the ECWA Seminary, Igbaja, awarded him a doctorate of divinity honoraris causa on May 18, 1991. In addition, the West African Theological Seminary gave Panya the Akanu Ibiam Award "for excellence in cross-cultural mission".

Panya Baba retired from active service in the ECWA in 1998. He returned home to Karu and has been preoccupied with writing his thoughts about mission, giving lectures at mission conferences, preaching, offering counseling and helping in any way he can in the local ECWA church in Karu.


Senegal Mission Initiative

Global Ministries began its work in Senegal in 1989, deploying missionaries to help start social programs in a mission in this small francophone country on the west coast of Africa (Global Ministries & the Senegal United Methodist Mission)

The strong lay and clergy leadership lead the Senegal church closer to self-sufficiency each year. They plan to be established as a United Methodist provisional annual conference or a district of an existing annual conference by 2020.

There are 19 churches and six faith communities in Senegal, with eight ordained pastors and 12 lay pastors. The congrega­tions in Senegal are vibrant and the government partners with some of the work of the mission. Leaders from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, the General Board of Global Ministries, and mission partners train pastors, educate children, raise funds to purchase land for the new mission center, and purchase land for church construction. In addition, an agricultural missionary is working with the communities around the churches to develop gardens and provide training. A young adult intern and a National in Mission support these efforts.

Global Ministries began its work in Senegal in 1989, deploying missionaries to help start social programs in a mission in this small francophone country on the west coast of Africa. Bishop Benjamin Boni of the Côte d’Ivoire Episcopal Area provides episcopal oversight for the mission.


The United Methodist Church is one of the minority denominations and remains largely unknown in Senegal. It collaborates with Muslim leaders, who represent 80 percent of the population. Some programs are familiar because the mission was initially set up as a nongovernmental organization. Growth has been slow and poverty within the membership has made it difficult to support the mission financially. There are a few ordained pastors and no worship center in Dakar, the capital city.


Missionaries have played multiple roles in Senegal, such as preacher, teacher, church planter, entrepreneur, healer, organizer, agronomist, and evangelist.

David Makobo N'shikala
Serving At: Senegal United Methodist Mission
Location: Senegal, Africa
Home Country: DRCongo, Africa
#3021869 - David Makobo N’Shikala is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving as an agriculturalist with the Senegal United Methodist Mission, based in Dakar.David Makobo N’Shikala is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as an agriculturalist with the Senegal United Methodist Mission, based in Dakar. He was commissioned in October 2013.
His work in Senegal involves assistance to farmers in making their labor and the land more productive. Senegal is a small country on the west coast of Africa. It lacks significant natural resources but is adaptable to the cultivation of millet and peanuts and the raising of livestock. The Senegal United Methodist Mission dates to 1989 and has some 19 congregations. Membership has grown steadily in the predominantly Muslim country.
David is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is a member of the Jerusalem Francophone Church in Lubumbashi in the South Congo Annual Conference. He was born at Mwajinga, a United Methodist mission where his parents have been teachers for more than 40 years. His elementary and secondary education was accomplished at Mwajinga, as was his early leadership training in the church. David received a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and a Master of Science degree in crop production from Africa University, a United Methodist institution, in Mutare, Zimbabwe. In 2010, he became the founding dean of the School of Agriculture at Katanga Methodist University in the DRC.
In Senegal, he teaches farmers how to “grow food in poor soil and how to use modern technologies to produce more.” He also works with church leaders to assist the mission in realizing its goal of becoming economically self-sufficient through the use of modern agricultural tools and methods. He also works with visiting Volunteer-in-Mission teams.
He has wide experience in The United Methodist Church on the local and connectional levels. He served as evangelist and spiritual leader of the praise band in the Jerusalem Francophone Church. He has received special training as an evangelist. At Africa University, he served on the chapel team and served as a French-English translator at local and international church events, including the Global Young People Convocation in South Africa.
David says that his dream is to help his fellow Africans through agriculture to become empowered and ward off poverty. “People in the rural areas are the most impoverished,” he says, “because access to education and other self-improvement opportunities” is lacking. He wants to expand those opportunities.
David is married to Solange Makobo.


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William (Bill) Gibson
Serving At: United Methodist Mission in Senegal
Location: Senegal, Africa


#3021475 - William (Bill) H. Gibson, Jr. is a missionary serving as mission director of the United Methodist Mission in Senegal.William (Bill) H. Gibson, Jr. is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as mission director of the United Methodist Mission in Senegal.
The United Methodist presence in Senegal, a predominantly Muslim nation, began in 1989 through disaster relief efforts of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The church, a formal United Methodist Mission, was registered by the government in 1995, and is now engaged in organizing congregations and equipping pastors. Bill and his wife, Gwendolyn, formerly a missionary, traveled to Senegal in 2011 with the International Volunteers in Mission program.
Bill Gibson is a microbiologist with a passion for mission. Dr. Gibson—he holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois—is a native of Tennessee, where he attended high school and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Knoxville College. He earned a Master’s degree and doctorate in 1972 and 1975, respectively.
Bill was raised in Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian homes. He became a United Methodist when he and Gwen joined The United Methodist Church in Highland Park, New Jersey. His career path was marked by several relocations, which resulted in membership transfers. Each new church family received the Gibsons warmly. Home is currently Appleton, Wisconsin, where Bill is a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church and a lay member of the Wisconsin Annual Conference.
Bill has taught Sunday school, led Disciple Bible studies, worked on church fundraising drives, participated in the Emmaus community, supported UMCOR campaigns, taken part in CROP Walks Against Hunger, and chaired numerous church and district committees. His motto for life is, “Loving God is Loving People,” which was also the name of a workshop he led for the Aurora District Committee on Religion and Race (Northern Illinois Conference).
A sense of mission has been with William all his life. He was influenced by the example of his Methodist great-grandmother, his Cumberland Presbyterian grandmother, and the elders in his childhood church. He says that he found maturity in the teachings of John Wesley. “My work and associations through the Walk to Emmaus have helped me appreciate and accept the call to mission and discipleship and help prepare me for a life of faith and service.”
Bill and Gwendolyn are the parents of four adult children. They have three grandchildren.
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Supporting Conferences: Wisconsin Annual Conference


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  • Make an online donation to: #3021475.
  • Missionary Support Code: 3021475
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  • Last profile update: 15 Jan 2016

In Mission Together Partnerships

The In Mission Together coordinator provides training for U.S. churches to develop healthy partnerships as they move from short-term ministry to long-term relationships that build the capacity of the church in Senegal. The coordinator also connects the church in the United States with ministry in Senegal and assists with communication between the two. The In Mission Together coordinator for Senegal is David Phipps (imtwestafrica@gmail.com). Share your prayers and get real time updates by joining the Facebook group page for this Mission Initiative. Visit the page and click on “Join Group” to become a part of the conversation.

Be Involved

For more information or to become involved please contact Rev. Eunice Iliya, regional executive for Senegal (eiliya@umcmission.org), or you can give to the Senegal Mission Initiative, Advance #12594A.

Which Side of Acts 1 Are You On?

Which side of Acts 1 are you living on when you wake up each morning? (Photo| ECWA Archieve)

Are you living on the right side of Acts 1? The answer will determine the course of your life.

Every morning when we awaken from a long night of sleep, we stretch, yawn and eventually step into a new day. In the natural we are functioning from a collection of experiences, training, opportunities, challenges and other influences that have helped determine our current experience. Some are waking up in the morning to get ready to operate on somebody’s heart because his natural training provided him that opportunity. Others are headed to classes in a university as a result of healthy planning. Still others are depressed, lonely, fearful, expectant, determined or are experiencing a myriad of other very real feelings due to their position in life. Their natural position.

Spiritually, where are you? Specifically, which side of Acts chapter one are you living on when you wake up each morning?

Acts Chapter 1

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11 (ESV)

Of course, the first chapter of Act’s position on the historical timeline comes after the death and victorious resurrection of Jesus. The question I’m asking is directed toward those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb—Christians—those who have responded to the greatest gift man has ever been offered. Christian friend, it’s possible to be functioning on the right side of the cross and on the wrong side of the rest of the story.

Read the short passage in Acts 1:6-11 again. Let the power of that dramatic moment impact you. Put yourself in the position of the disciples of Jesus.

They had just experienced, to put it lightly, a dramatic season of life that culminated with their hero, their friend, God himself being brutally, savagely tortured and mutilated. They were suddenly alone, fearful and confused. Their holy hope was gone forever—so it seemed. Dead people don’t just wake up and walk out of their tombs after all, right?

Lazarus might disagree with that. So would Jesus. The disciple’s overwhelming hopelessness was miraculously displaced by the impossible. Jesus walked out his tomb.

They were fearful, alone and confused no more. Now the celebration begins! Now plans for the future can be discussed! This was the day the Lord Jesus himself created and it was time to rejoice and be glad!

The obvious next step was for Jesus to set up his Kingdom and to reign! The disciple’s question was an honest yet misguided one:

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 (ESV)

They didn’t understand at all what the future held. The victory on the cross, in their minds, would result in Jesus doing much more of what they saw him do previously. Jesus was the man of the hour and they wanted to be in the front row for the show.

After all, Jesus had just spent 40 days talking to them about the Kingdom, right?

3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 (ESV)

Yes, the Kingdom was coming, but not at all the way everyone had presumed. Jesus was about to launch them out of Acts chapter one and into Acts chapter two.

If you’ll remember, Jesus had already given them a mandate that it seems they casually overlooked:

4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 (ESV)

The disciples had necessary teaching about the Kingdom and a mandate to wait for a promise that would enable them to initiate a world shaking mission.

However, in their minds they wondered why they would need a Promise if Jesus was there with them. Why would they need anything else? Jesus was going to work wonders and they would be there as his most fervent supporters!

Jesus Left—AGAIN

9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1:9 (ESV)

Again, put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. What type of emotional crisis were they going through? First Jesus died, then he defied all odds and returned in victory. Now their plans for Jesus to build his Kingdom were cut down as they received an inconvenient mandate to pray and wait for some nondescript Promise—as Jesus again left them.

Now, their close friend, their superhero who would protect them from the threats of the many enemies in the land, was gone from them a second time—this time for good (at least in their lifetimes).

The Bible says that they were just standing there gazing into heaven.

My question to you is this: Are you gazing into heaven waiting for Jesus to show up and do what you are yearning for him to do? Or, are you taking action in the power of the Holy Spirit to do it yourself?

On the cross Jesus famously said, “It is finished!” His part is done. We have been left with an extreme mandate and a costly mission that must be in front of us every morning when we awaken, stretch and yawn and move into our day.

So often we are crying out for Jesus to heal the sick when he commanded us to heal the sick. Those on the wrong side of Acts chapter one will gaze into heaven waiting for Jesus to do it. Those who have been baptized with power and who have embraced their spiritual mission will function in the power of the resurrection by looking at someone and commanding that they take up their mat and walk!

True baptism in power results in an inconvenient life.

I’m convinced that casual ‘gazing into heaven’ type prayer is often unanswered because Jesus is putting the pressure on us to get into the prayer rooms where supernatural baptism can be found.

The angelic question in Acts 2 remains for us today:

11 …“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?” Acts 1:11a (ESV)

Those who are living on the wrong side of Acts chapter one have bought into the resurrection power of the cross but have yet to step into their life mission that requires a devotion that will put every other life focus at risk. They want to continue in their day-to-day life hoping that Jesus will be the hero and rescuer they might need in times of trouble. The call to greater consecration is unnecessary since they are already saved and the victory of the cross was complete.

The truth is that the victory of the cross launches our mission. It doesn’t end it. When Jesus said “it is finished,” for us it meant, “it has begun.”

The enemy is moving across the earth stealing, killing and destroying. How could we even begin to think our work is done or unnecessary?

The blood of Jesus doesn’t grant us immunity, it grants us authority—authority to tread on serpents, authority to heal the sick, authority to advance the Kingdom, authority to go and make disciples.

Those living on the right side of the chapter are burning with that mission every single day. They wake up on fire with an urgency to fulfill their extremely important commission.

The life of someone living in Acts chapter two and beyond looks radically different than the lives of other Christians.


The call to prayer was too inconvenient for most everybody who saw Jesus alive after the resurrection. Only 120 showed up in that room. Only 120 determined it was necessary to actually obey Jesus. To them Jesus was more Savior than Lord.

Living on the right side of Acts one requires obedience. It requires us to be people of extravagant, inconvenient prayer.

Acts two started with prayer in an Upper Room and it continued with prayer daily in the temple.

17 pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)

Today we have innumerable people who are naming the name of Christ who are living in constant disobedience by refusing to live a life of continual prayer.

Corporate prayer is such a clear and obvious mandate for Christians that it is beyond shocking and nonsensical that so many are not investing in it. They are living after the resurrection but before Acts, presuming that all is well and there is nothing left to be done. Both Resurrection power and Holy Spirit power are required before we can even begin to understand our life purpose—much less fulfill it.

The corporate prayer meetings are the most important meeting and every Christian must be in attendance. In fact, In Acts 2 corporate prayer was a daily occurrence. This is what must return to our churches today.

46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day… Acts 2:46 (NLT)

This means we can no longer continue without coming together for Holy Spirit infused prayer every day and presume it’s okay or normal. It’s not. Those living on the right side of Acts one can’t stand the thought of going a day without encountering God in prayer with other Believers.


Acts Christians were radically invested in both corporate church gatherings and planting of new churches.

I’m grieved at the number of Christian “church haters” (is that even possible?) that are on the rise. People are creating theologies that argue against the corporate church setting that are laughable.

Consider Chinese Christians who gather together every morning at 4:30am, seven days a week, to pray and worship together as the church before they begin their day. In America we think a couple hours a week is too inconvenient!

Can somebody explain to me how coming together with other Christians every day to pray on fire is a bad thing? How is that something that doctrines are being created to oppose? Truly those are doctrines of demons.

Some might say that they don’t need to attend church because “they are the church.” They would be incorrect.

From my article, You are not the church:

If we understand the meaning of the word ‘church’ we could never presume that we alone are the church. That idea is contrary to the origin of the word (ekklesia, meaning “assembly”). In fact, that word has secular origins. It literally means an assembly of people who have been called together by an authority in the city or region. Wow! That sheds a lot of light on what the church is.

The church is an assembly of people organized under defined governmental leadership. It’s a regular gathering of people who are deeply agreed and in pursuit of mission advance under God’s apostles, prophets and other governmental leaders.

Further, the pure definition of the word reveals that it isn’t used as easily in the context of the global company of believers as it is in the regional and local gathering of believers.

The definition reveals that it’s a well defined local group vs. a loosely defined larger group of people (who mostly don’t know each other at all). We can’t be a part of the church if we aren’t gathered together with other parts of the church. Church is corporate.

Additionally, the church is a group of people who assemble, fellowship, pray and respond together to apostolic teaching. That can’t happen in a more nebulous global context.

The church has inherent in it’s core call the expectation of assembly and a corporate response so as to ensure the local mission is fulfilled. Again, a fulfilled mission can’t be realized without this type of intentional and faithful participation at a local level where communication and commonality are clearly defined.

Those living in Acts Holy Spirit power understand the need to be rightly aligned with men and women of God. They understand the church gathering isn’t foundationally a social one. It’s a strategic one. Great numbers of people coming together to pray and to receive apostolic instruction is necessary on a daily basis if we are to advance the gospel in victorious fashion.

The church is a military. It has a mission.

Church haters have gripes about how they were treated, about disagreements with focus, about not being recognized, about most anything. True biblical Holy Spirit empowered Christians are ready to die to their own opinions and serve. Today when people are rejected they run from the church with complaints in their hearts. Two thousand years ago when Jesus was rejected he died for the church with love in his heart.


Acts Christians are not flowing under the radar, blending in with their culture. They are causing controversies and inciting riots!

40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” Acts 19:40 (ESV)

It angers me that so many supposed Christians refuse to declare the offensive Gospel message out of fear that they may lose friends, offend family or put their financial security at risk!

Did you know that’s why there was a riot in Ephesus? People’s financial well being was compromised when Paul and his team of firebrands arrived on the scene!

23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” 28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. Acts 19:23-29 (NIV)

I absolutely love Acts 19 verse 23:

23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. Acts 19:23 (NIV)

Where is such a disturbance today?

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” is not the gospel message! It’s a true message, but it’s not the gospel message. When we start preaching about man’s depravity, our darkness, and God’s holiness and Lordship and his extreme sacrifice on the cross we will begin preaching the gospel. Anything that does not upset culture as it sets people free is suspect as a true message.


People on the right side of Acts chapter one will burn with a mission. Others will live normal, low impact lives. Sure, they may enjoy God, say their prayers, go to church, worship him, read their bibles and be people of great conviction. However, the very reason they were born eludes them. The tears over the lost and the zeal for intercession are absent. An aggressive, unwavering daily pursuit of humanly impossible God given projects and assignments is nowhere to be found.

The primary purpose of the Promise in the Upper Room was not to make us feel better as we worship or to help us in our daily lives. The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to live free from sin (He’s the HOLY Spirit) and to preach the message of the cross to the world; to expand the Kingdom. How different this is than what the disciples presumed in Acts one!

The Holy Spirit enables us to work and to advance in mission in ways that are not possible via human determination. Jesus is physically gone and we are the ones to do the work!

12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12 (NIV)

When on the earth, Jesus was about his Father’s business. Now that he is gone we are to be about our Father’s business!

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Luke 2:49-50 (NKJV)

I propose there are many post-resurrection/pre-Upper Room Christians today who also don’t understand what it is to be about our Father’s business.

Acts chapter one where we see disciples of Jesus transition into apostles. In a moment, they went from followers to ‘sent ones’ with a mission.

I want to encourage you, when you wake up each morning, stretch and yawn and get ready for the day that you function as a sent one. Burn with a passion for Jesus and the advance of his Kingdom. Embrace the impossible assignments that God has for you. Pray continually with others. Live and walk in the Spirit. Disrupt the culture you live in. Trouble the lukewarm and awaken the sleepers. Live in great power—power that’s found on the other side of Acts chapter one.

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer- and revival-focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel and so on) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship.

For the original article, visit johnburton.net.


Daniel Kolenda: The Call vs. the Commission

There is a big difference between the call and the commission. (Lightstock)

Allow me to become extremely practical, if I may. I once preached about answering the call with urgency, and afterward someone came up to me and said, "God called me to the mission field, but you said I should obey now. Does this mean I should quit my job and move to another country right away?"

These particulars are where matters become very personal and highly customized. Ultimately, only you can know what God is saying to you, and only you will be accountable to God. But for most people, I think it's safe to say that when God calls you, He doesn't expect you to go to the airport immediately or sail with the next tide.

This may sound like a contradiction of what I have previously said, but if there is any confusion about this point, it is because of a failure to distinguish between the "call" and the "commission."

When Jesus called His disciples, He didn't call them to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. He simply called them to follow Him. And as they followed Him, Jesus promised that He would make them into "fishers of men." Now the disciples left their nets immediately to follow Jesus, but they were not made into fishers of men immediately. There was a season of training between when Jesus called them to follow Him and when He commissioned them to preach the gospel.

Obedience to the call of God is about following Jesus. If you have heard the call of Jesus and you think you need to be on the next plane to the mission field, then you probably misunderstood what He said when He called you. He probably didn't say, "Go and do." He most likely said, "Come and follow." Don't worry about the commission. It will come as you follow Jesus.

Daniel Kolenda is a missionary evangelist who has led more than 10 million people to Christ face to face through massive, open-air evangelistic campaigns in some of the most dangerous, difficult and remote locations on earth. He is president and CEO of Christ for All Nations and hosts an internationally syndicated television program.