International Ministries

From Ministries in France to U-Turn Togo Mission

November 29, 2015 Journal
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Our missionary journey experience so far is nothing compared to Abraham and Sarah’s faith journey; but there are similarities. Abraham was called from his comfort zone to an unknown place with no GPS, but with a purpose to be a blessing to all nations. I bet sometimes Abraham would get lost, found himself confused; over and over again, he would have asked God for redirections. Whereas we were called out of our American dream to a well known destination with the direction of International Ministries (IM), your support, and now with God’s detour to be a blessing to churches and communities in Togo, Sub-Saharan Africa.

 Dear friends, family, and supporters,

Our anticipation to serve in France has shifted. It’s our understanding that the needs and expectations of our Evangelical Baptist Churches of France partners have changed, so much that our calling to serve in France is no longer needed at this time. As a result, four months ago, we faced a possible detour to Belgium, Ghana, Hungary, England, Haiti, and Togo. After prayers, discernment, and hard work from IM staff, the IM board of directors has redirected us to serve in Togo, west-Africa.

Although there are Abraham and Sarah-like U-Turns and detours in life, they are hard to accept and hard to understand till much later.  In God’s loving and gracious sovereignty, God uses detours and U-turns to place us all safely where we’re supposed to be, whether in ministry, career, relationship or much more… One example stands out to us in the book of Acts 16:6-9: the Holy Spirit prevented Paul and his team from preaching in the province of Asia and the town of Bithynia where they initially received the missionary call to preach; and instead the Spirit of God redirected them to Macedonia where they carried out outstanding ministries.

 In our case, this is not a detour, but divinely a permitted U-turn.

Our journey with International Ministries began in May 2013, when Awenam and I met Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, ABC Metro Chicago Executive Minister, to specifically discuss the need for ministry in Togo. He then made a special recommendation to IM, and in June 2013, we started an informal conversation with IM vocational development.  We were surprised when IM returned with the proposal to serve in France, but we turned from our missional call to Togo and accepted their direction.  Two Years later, God leads the way back to Togo. Do you see a pattern here?

 It was quite a challenge. But mission is about God, in the name of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit; it has been and is still God hands, feet, and voice in an unknown land called the mission field. Knowing the successful history of detours in the stories of many IM missionaries who go before us, we accepted the U-turn. We respond to the U-Turn call to Trust and Obey, just as we sing at church:

 When we walk with the Lord                                                  Not a shadow can rise,

In the light of His Word,                                                         Not a cloud in the skies,
What a glory He sheds on our way;                                       But His smile quickly drives it away;
While we do His good will,                                                     Not a doubt or a fear,
He abides with us still,                                                           Not a sigh or a tear,
And with all who will trust and obey.                                    Can abide while we trust and obey.

 Friends, here is the greatest news:

The mission location may change, but the calling and the work remains the same. We will work in partnership with the Baptist Convention of Togo, one of IM new partners. Our mission assignment are but not limited to:

-          Street children, children with HIH/AIDS, orphans, and girls exposed to trafficking and prostitution outreach.

-          Hospital and prison ministries development.

-          Biannual pastoral refresher training for all Togo Baptist Pastors.

-          Teaching at the Togo Baptist Theological Institute.

 It’s our desire to call this new assignment U-Turn Togo Mission for 3 reasons:

1-    The Lord caused us to leave our initial missionary call to Togo for France, then calls us back to Togo from France, a setting in which we are uniquely prepared to be effective.

2-    Together you (U) will enable us to bring our time, talent, and treasures to turn minds and souls to the love and grace of God, thus many lives and church ministries around for positive change in Togo.

3-    Perhaps, U-Turn Togo mission should read Your-Turn Togo Mission because you are in mission together with us to turn lives and ministries around in Togo for the better.

So please, pray that:

1-    The Lord prepares our hearts and minds and our supporters for the U-Turn Togo Mission

2-    For our December 02, 2015 security training in Idaho

3-    For a possible vision trip in early 2016.

 Note: remember to join our new U-Turn Togo Mission face-book group.

 For the U-Turn Togo Mission team

 Rev. Holale A.