DNA’s work in Africa: Finalist for World Magazine award

Last week, World Magazine released this year’s finalists for its prestigious Hope Award for Effective Compassion, and we were so excited to see the work of Chris Ampadu, West Africa Coordinator for Samaritan Strategy Africa (SSA), selected as the only international ministry on the list!

Read the full article here.

Chris, a native of Ghana, was one of the first DNA trainers in Africa. After attending a Vision Conference in 1999, he walked away from a successful business career to be mentored by DNA co-founder Darrow Miller. He has been a highly effective trainer and mentor of church leaders in West Africa since. Today, Chris serves on staff with Harvest.

Chris (right) is on the leadership team of Samaritan Strategy Africa. SSA and DNA share the same mission: To encourage, prepare and equip local churches with a Christian worldview (mind-set) to carry out wholistic ministry in their communities.

Since 2005, Chris and his fellow SSA colleagues have worked to raise up indigenous training teams in every African nation. Since they began:

  • More than 400 African trainers have been certified
  • National training teams now exist in 26 African nations
  • More than 600 Vision Conferences have been conducted
  • Nearly 30,000 African pastors and church leaders have been trained
  • Thousands of Seed Projects have been implemented

These African leaders offer a shining example of DNA’s prayer to see local believers catch a vision for their communities and run with it in a way that multiplies impact.

The Hope Award began with 200 nominations, from which five finalists were selected. Each finalist received a $4,000 prize, and votes from the public will determine who wins the $21,000 grand prize.

World Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Marvin Olasky, and his wife saw Chris’ work first-hand earlier this year.

Click here to cast your vote by September 30!

SSA’s mission aligns perfectly with World Magazine’s criteria for the contest: “programs that are not just evangelical and not just economic, but unite body and soul.”

A full-length article in the September edition explains: “DNA sees Christian worldview teaching as the missing link between evangelism and economic development. Without that understanding, Africa’s Christianity takes a gnostic form, with extravagant worship on Sunday but no connection between that and their lives the rest of the week, or between the spiritual and the material.”

DNA is privileged to partner with Chris and SSA, acting as a behind-the-scenes catalyst and supporter for this movement which continues to gain speed. Just a few months ago, three new teams took root in Niger, Benin and Lesotho.

If you’d like to vote for Samaritan Strategy Africa to win this $21,000 prize, please do so here. To financially support the spread of a biblical worldview across Africa, give through our website (choose dropdown “DNA’s work in Africa”).

If you give $30 or more, we’ll send you a free copy of Against All Hope: Hope for Africa, written conjointly by the DNA and SSA.

Fukushima, Japan: being restored from the inside out

When you have just a bird’s-eye view of the catastrophes that laid siege to Japan about 16 months ago — earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster — it could seem impossible to find a loving, restorative God in the midst of it all. But if you get up close, on the inside, you will find incredible power and renewal — you will see Him working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Even in such destruction, He uses the local church to heal, restore, and build His Kingdom. Over the past year, DNA national organization Friends with the Voiceless, Intl. (FVI) has been instrumental in this work.

(From left) Midori and Eisuke from FVI spent time in Fukushima relief shelters, comforting the residents who left their homes behind. (photo from DNA partner Soohwan Park)

A 2006 Gallup poll found that Christianity is the fastest-growing faith among Japanese youth. Japan is thirsty for the gospel, and FVI is helping pave the way for its people to receive it.

As many doctors, nurses and pastors fled the district of Fukishima, the area most damaged by the nuclear disaster, a few stayed — one pastor explaining that he dreamed he saw Jesus walking with His cross toward the power plant.

Aside from physical destruction, in Fukushima, families have been torn apart as many husbands have gone to find work elsewhere. Divorce has skyrocketed. In this country where 29 percent of youth describe themselves as “very lonely” and suicide rates are high, FVI helps unite and equip the Church to bear the hope of Christ.

Since the nuclear disaster, FVI staff members have made 15 trips to the province, conducting “Fukushima Future Forums” with dozens of pastors in attendance. In March 2012, one of these Forums geared for young Japanese Christian leaders had 50 attendees — half from Fukushima. At these events, Christian leaders are invited to recommit their lives to the Lord and commit to rebuilding Fukushima from a biblical worldview.

The first Fukushima Future Forum ended with husbands washing their wives’ feet: a biblical but counter-cultural act in Japan. (photo from DNA partner Soohwan Park)

As a result, while many people continued to flee the province, one Forum participant moved in and planted a church. Another started an out-of-the box “listening ministry,” and a network of young participants formed to practically serve Fukushima residents.

Also at the Forum last March was a pastor from Ukraine who ministered to survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. He offered great encouragement and invited Fukushima pastors to come to Ukraine and meet other Christian leaders with similar experience. That visit is planned for October 2012.

(From left) Eisuke Kanda and Shun Jinnai co-lead Friends with the Voiceless, the DNA national network in Japan. To contact them, e-mail info@disciplenations.org.

In the DR Congo, cleaning up streets opens the door for the gospel

From Brother Serge, serving the Lord in Kinshasa, the DR Congo’s capital and largest city

For some time, I have been concerned with the physical cleanliness of our community. The streets were lined with litter. Drains were clogged up so much that they became breeding grounds for malaria-spreading mosquitoes — these would claim many lives every day, especially among infants and children.

It was during a training by Harvest (a partner of DNA) that I was challenged to do something about this.

Every Saturday, I took steps to care for this environment where I live. Soon, many neighbors joined me….

Today, you will find a whole group of men, women and even children working together to improve their community. We call ourselves the Wholistic Discipleship Club for Community Transformation.

As a result, we have been invited by many churches to share about this ministry — God’s desire for us to be healthy not just spiritually, but also physically, stewarding our resources and serving each other together.

What Was Behind Door 4

Rev. Meshak Okumu is Project Manager for Samaritan Strategy Africa and serves on the faculty of Carlile College in Nairobi. After declining three invitations (in 2000, 2001, and 2002) to attend Vision Conferences, he finally took a group of pastors to a 2003 training session … only to find out it was a DNA Vision Conference!

As Meshack says, “I think it was a good mistake for me to get to this whole idea of the DNA program!”

That Vision Conference, facilitated by Dennis Tongoi, was just the beginning. In this video, Meshak relates his journey from dualism into wholism.

From the Street to the Campus

Gizachew Ayka serves as director of Win Souls for God Evangelical Ministries, an organization seeking “to bring the street children of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia out of their misery into a stable life with well-being.” Gizachew also leads Hope for Children, a relief and development organization serving among extremely poor children of Ethiopia.

Gizachew was first exposed to the DNA over ten years ago at a vision conference, facilitated by Bob Moffitt and Darrow Miller, in Addis Ababa. He was invited to the conference by his Sunday School teacher, Demelash Lemma. Today Demelash is Horn of Africa coordinator for Samaritan Strategy Africa.

In this brief video, Gizachew shares the story of a dynamic work that started with two young men at a vision conference and since has grown explosively and is serving needs in multiple countries.  Listen as Gizachew tells the amazing story of a street kid who was nurtured by the love of Christ to become a college professor.

Out of the Mouth of a Muslim

In this video, we hear the story of a Muslim who learned Jesus’ message of forgiveness and then preached it to his community.

The speaker’s identity is obscured for security reasons.

The Message Which Can Change our Continent

Buingo Mateene was exposed to DNA in 2003 when he attended three vision conferences. One VC was in Ghana, facilitated by Darrow Miller and Chris Amapadu; the other two, in Togo and Benin, were facilitated by Chris and John Wood.

Buingo is country director for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here is the powerful story of DNA’s impact on Buingo’s own life and the difference between knowing it and doing it!

A Church Moves Out of Isolation

Rev. Dr. Clifton Charles is Senior Pastor of the Worldwide Church of God (known in the U.S. as Grace Communion International) congregations in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. He also teaches economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.

Clifton and his wife, Pearl, planned and hosted DNA vision conferences in Trinidad in 2009 and in Tobago in 2011 which were facilitated by Bob Moffitt and Darrow Miller.

In this brief video about the impact of DNA principles, Clifton Charles relates how a Caribbean church that was once isolated became recognized for its impact on the community.

An Unlikely Journey Toward Transformation

Steve Chia is a Consultant Civil Engineer in Jos, Nigeria, where he also works for Youth Leadership Development Forum (YLDF) and chairs the Biblical National Transformation Committee.

After serving in leadership in his local church for many years, Steve grew concerned about a trend in lives of the Christians around him.

“When I was growing up, Christians were pretty predictable … If they said something you could depend on them. … Not any more.”

During his search for answers, Steve found two DNA books: Against All Hope: Hope for Africa and Discipling Nations. He read both and started passing out copies to friends.

Although Steve was invited to several Vision Conferences, he was unable to attend any. He first met DNA co-founders Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt last March when he had the opportunity to attend a global forum in Pretoria.

In this video Steve shares his story about how the message of DNA changed his world, and what he is doing to spread that message in Nigeria.


A Call to Pray

Dr. Eisuke Kanda is executive director of Friends with the Voiceless International (FVI), the national DNA organization in Japan.

In this brief video, Dr. Kanda shares how Friends With the Voiceless was launched through a radical commitment to a neglected activity.