Monday, September 30, 2013

Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers October 2013

Challenges of Church Growth
As the church grows the organizational structures need to be flexible in order to accommodate the growth (Matt.9:17). Recently we traveled to Swaziland and Ghana to help them think through the organizational changes they anticipate in order to accommodate current and future growth. 
We visited Swaziland at the time of their annual District Conference. The work in Swaziland is one of the older works and has been tied to South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of the Southern African Region. During their conference plans were put in motion to divide the District into three smaller Districts and then to separate Swaziland away from the Region to create a National Conference.

The next week found us in Ghana where Bob spent several days meeting with the District Board as they worked on their plans to become a National Conference in December. The work in Ghana is a much younger work, initially planted in the southern part of the country. Using the Jesus Film, they have seen rapid growth in the north as well as the opening of mission work in Burkina Faso. Creation of a national conference and dividing into separate Districts will help the church give the administrative oversight needed to help sustain the growth they currently are enjoying. (While in Ghana, Brenda was able to speak to a women's meeting for women from the southern churches and we enjoyed worship at Ashaley Botwe Wesleyan Church.)
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      Swaziland DS, Rev. Bheki Matsenwa                           Offering time - Ashaley Botwe, Ghana
Challenges of Medical Ministry
Medical ministries in Africa have changed significantly over the 50+ years since the Wesleyan Church started hospitals in Zambia and Sierra Leone. Recognizing the need to bring a fresh approach to how Global Partners supports medical ministries around the world, Global Partners Health Network (GPHN) was established under the direction of Dr. Diane Foley. This past month we traveled with Dr. Foley to both Sierra Leone and Zambia to assess the medical ministries, meet with leadership, and determine how best GPHN can help support and improve the delivery of medical ministry.

We visited Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital in Sierra Leone first. Because it was rainy season the road was in bad repair and so we arrived "all shook up" after a 4 and a half hour journey from Makeni. Our hospital is the only hospital in the northern part of the country - with the closest hospital found in Makeni. The needs of the hospital are significant, with the need for a doctor being the biggest. They have been functioning without a doctor since mid-August when David and Dahlia Dyer's three month term came to an end. The government has promised to supply an African doctor to serve for a year while the hospital and GP look for a longer term solution.

The hospital also struggles financially - it depends on nominal fees paid by patients to cover salaries, supplies and maintenance. The local population has difficulty in paying even the low fees and as a result the hospital has not managed to keep much of its equipment in good repair and cannot compete with salaries offered in government hospitals.

These challenges have led to stresses and conflict between the community, hospital staff, and national church. However, the reality is that the hospital and church are to be commended for the extent to which they have managed to offer medical services to the community given the massive challenges they face.
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Dr. Foley and Bob enter Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital
The next week found us at Zimba Mission Hospital in Zambia. Located on the main road between Livingstone and Choma, this hospital serves as the referral hospital for a large catchment area. Recent infra-structural improvements include a new Outpatient Department, expansion and refurbishment of the maternity ward, a backup generating system, and a new chapel. GP missionaries, Dan & Joan Jones, serve as the doctors for the hospital. The Zambian staff are all employees of the government which pays their salaries. The government also provides a small grant for operating costs. The government support is a mixed blessing: a) the hospital is required to offer its services for free, making it increasingly difficult to cover costs especially now that patient load has increased because of the improved facilities; and b) since staff is posted by the government, all staff members do not necessarily buy in to the ministry focus of the hospital. The church has a medical ministry board to oversee this work, but because of costs it has not been functioning effectively.
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Dr. Foley and Bob at Zimba Mission Hospital
These new days for medical ministry present daunting challenges, but the validity of such ministry is not in doubt. Please pray for Dr. Foley, the national church leadership, hospital administrators and staff as they chart the path forward in days to come. 
Getting ready
for school to open at the Nigerian Wesleyan High School
What's New?
  • The Wesleyan Church of Nigeria opened a new High School this past month.
  • The Wesleyan Church of Southern Africa recently launched work in Lesotho with the planting of the first Wesleyan Church in that country.
  • The Wesleyan Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo recently developed a strategy to start work in the neighboring country of Congo (Brazzaville). The new church plant is expected to launch in January.
  • The Wesleyan Church of Swaziland recently refurbished and reopened the clinic at Ebenezer Mission after being closed for at least 15 years.
Africa Area Prayer Calendar
The Africa Area Prayer Calendar for October - December, 2013 is available for download by clicking the button below:
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Praise Reports
  1. Praise God for the safe arrival of Randal & Candice Cheney and their family. They are serving at Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College in Swaziland while they wait for doors to open for them to go to Zimbabwe.
  2. Thank God for safety in travel as we crisscrossed across Africa over the past few weeks.
  3. Praise God for productive visits of Dr. Diane Foley, Director of Global Partners Health Network, to the Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital and Zimba Mission Hospital.
  4. Praise God for the growing missions vision within the African church to reaching neighboring countries with the gospel.

Prayer Requests
  1. Please continue to pray for God's help in addressing the challenges of health care ministries in Africa. That the personnel and financial needs will be met and that the hospitals will have an increased passion to touch people spiritually as well as physically.
  2. Pray for God's help and direction as more African churches begin missionary outreach.
  3. Ask God to help Bob and Brenda as they lead a series of seminars at Xai Xai Bible College (Mozambique) October 8-11 on the subject of couples partnering in ministry.
  4. Pray for God's presence to be felt in Bible College graduations in Mozambique (October 13) and Swaziland (November 2).

Support Report
We continue to be deeply grateful for all of you who faithfully and sacrificially give so we can serve in the Africa Area. Thank you so much!

GP's financial year began on September 1. Your help in getting the year started on a good footing is greatly appreciated. If you'd like to donate to our support or make a monthly commitment please click below:
Donations or monthly commitments can be made online by clicking here
or sent by mail to: Global Partners, PO Box 50434, Indianapolis, 46250

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bits & Bytes July 2013

July 2013
Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers
West African Leadership Training
At the end of May Wesleyan leaders from five West African countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso) gathered for a training event in Makeni, Sierra Leone. The training came about because in several countries the church is growing to the extent that administrative structures will need to be expanded resulting in the need for a significant number of new leaders to fill the leadership positions that will be created. Most of the training sessions and discussions were led by past and present African leaders with additional input by Bob and Dr. Dennis Jackson, Executive Director of Global Partners. 
A highlight of the gathering was an invitation to visit with the president of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in his office to pray with him. Bob had the honor of sharing a brief devotional message during the meeting reflecting on the story of the feeding of the 5,000 that when God calls us to a task that exceeds our capacity He also can enable us to accomplish way beyond what we could imagine.
Koroma visit
West African Wesleyan leaders with Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone
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Sierra Leone National Conference
Immediately following the West African leadership training event, the Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone held its quadrennial national conference. The conference combined informative seminars with business sessions as the church laid plans for its ministry in the coming four years. The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone is the oldest and largest of Wesleyan national conference in Africa.

During the conference Rev. Dr. Usman J. Fornah was resoundingly re-elected to a second four-year term as National Superintendent.

Another highlight was the introduction of Dr. David and Dahlia Dyer, new missionary doctor at Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital, who had arrived in the country earlier that week. The Sierra Leone church welcomed them enthusiastically and prayed for God's blessing on them and their ministry.

Photos from the Sierra Leone national conference can be seen by clicking the button below:

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Bob helping to commission a missionary couple appointed to serve in a creative access country
USA Visit
This past month we made a quick three-week visit to the States for meetings.

First on our agenda was to teach new missionaries for a week at GP's Missionary Training Institute held at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN. What a joy to share the enthusiasm of new missionaries and try to offer advice from our years of service. It was also a joy to participate in the final commissioning service.

The following week Bob was involved in a meeting of GP's Leadership Council - consisting of the seven Area Directors from around the world as well as the home office leadership team.

It was great to visit three of our supporting churches while we were there: Forest Hills Wesleyan (IN), Wheaton Wesleyan (IL), and Alive Wesleyan (SC). Forest Hills and Alive had both recently moved into new facilities and it was exciting for us to worship in them for the first time.

Getting back to the States also gave us a chance to reconnect with some of our family. We spent a weekend, including a day at the zoo with our son Joshua, his wife Jamie, and our three grandchildren. We joined members of Brenda's family to celebrate her parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary. Finally, we celebrated July 4th with our daughter Mary Beth in a picnic shelter in pouring rain!
Africa Area Prayer Calendar
The Africa Area Prayer Calendar for July - September, 2013 is available for download by clicking the button below:
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Praise Reports
  1. Praise God for a highly successful and profitable leadership training event for West African church leaders held in Sierra Leone at the end of May.
  2. Thank God for His help in the Sierra Leone National Conference and for the vision and enthusiasm evident in church leaders.
  3. Praise God for the safe arrival of the Dyer family in Sierra Leone to fill the desperate need for a doctor at Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital.
  4. Praise God for new missionaries who have responded to God's call, have received training, and now are being deployed in various places around the world.

Prayer Requests
  1. Please continue to pray for Randal and Candice Cheney and their family as they arrive in South Africa on August 9th. Since they have not yet received work permits for Zimbabwe the plan is to assign them to the Bible College in Swaziland while efforts continue to be made to get them into Zimbabwe.
  2. Pray for God's presence and direction to be felt in District Conferences to be held in Limpopo District (South Africa) August 2-4, Zimbabwe August 8-11, and Swaziland August 23-25.
  3. Ask God to help Bob as he works with the church in Ghana and the church in Swaziland as they make plans for significant organizational changes to accommodate continued growth.
  4. Pray for God's help and strength for the Dr. David and Dahlia Dyer family as they continue to adjust to the challenges of serving in a rural African hospital.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Freedom in the New Testament-Freedom Sunday Series

“Freedom in the Bible”-From the New Testament
First Sunday-Freedom Sunday Series
By Media Pastor  Rev. Keith Kiper
Galatians 3:28
Common English Bible (CEB)
There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
God the Creator placed in man and woman the capacity for free choice at the very beginning when He placed them in Eden. God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose between good and evil. We have recorded in our Bibles the results of both good and bad choices over the centuries. As created beings, we possess that same freedom to choose today. During  the next few Sundays in July, we will take a closer look at slavery in the past, and at the scourge of modern human trafficking.
Today let us look at what it means to have freedom in Christ. Sin can be the greatest master when we become enslaved to sin. We are all born into sin, we have no control over aspect. Christ’s death and resurrection offers  freedom to live again through the new birth. We celebrate this every year especially on Resurrection Sunday. Did you know that as Christians we can still become enslaved. We can be enslaved to religious customs, to focusing on how things used to be. History should be a guiding post, not a hitching post as someone well said. We can even become a slave to the law.
Galatians 5:1 tells us: “ Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.”
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in Mark Chapter 7. The Pharisees had a form of ritualistic washing where they would wash from the hands to the elbows. I always think of Norton from the Honeymooners when I read this. Listen to what Jesus tells them when they criticized His disciples:
 You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” Jesus continued, “Clearly, you are experts at rejecting God’s commandment in order to establish these rules. 10  Moses said, Honor your father and your mother,[b] andThe person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death.[c] 11  But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you iscorban (that is, a gift I’m giving to God),” 12  then you are no longer required to care for your father or mother.’ 13  In this way you do away with God’s word in favor of the rules handed down to you, which you pass on to others. And you do a lot of other things just like that.”
Freedom in Christ means we are to be salt and light, and not just within the four walls of the church building.
John Wesley said; "When I speak of building an house for our great God, let none think I mean to comprehend God [contained] within it, for He is infinite." (Notes, 2,6)
Galatians 5:13-14
Common English Bible (CEB)
13 You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. 14 All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.[a]
There are many ways we can love our neighbor as ourself. Who is our neighbor? The parable of the good Samaritan should answer that question for all of us. Would not the enslaved children of the world be our neighbor? Wouldn’t the immigrant coming to our country hungry and looking for opportunity be our neighbor? Would the good Samaritan care how he got here? Remember our families were all immigrants from a foreign land . Maybe God is providing us with the greatest opportunity for evangelism in our lifetime. Please pray about this. Go to or our website where you can read the Wesleyan Position statement on this. Don’t let the us or them politics influence what God wants to do. Finally, Acts tells us:
Acts 13:38-39
Common English Bible (CEB)

38 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, know this: Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn’t be put in right relationship with God through Moses’ Law, 39 through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mission News from April Hershberger

News from April

Dear Family and Friends,
It has been a little while since my last update, so there is a lot of news to share.  There are many children who have come and gone (pictured below) who could use your prayers. Would you commit to praying for a new child each day or once a week?

     Taking care of young children has its ups and down, good days and bad days, as I am sure a lot of you can relate to. No day has been tougher then the day we got word that our little Ruth had gone home to be with the Lord on March 7, 2013 after a short illness.  She was a sweet little girl who brought smiles and joy to everyone who met her.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

I have been working very hard for quite a few weeks in the closets in each of the wings. Being a person who likes things organized and in their place, I guess it made me the perfect person for this job. I went through each of the wings looking at all of the clothes and sorting out things that had become worn out and needed to be replaced. I then labeled the closets to try and make it easier on the caregivers to dress the children. Once the closets were organized, I then filled in whatever clothes they needed from our storeroom. When the closets were finished I then started on the task of reorganizing and sorting the storeroom. This will also help in the future for people wanting to donate clothing to know what our immediate needs are.
I have also put out a sign-up sheet in the wings asking what ladies would be interested in doing a Bible study during their lunch hour. I have gotten a very positive response (28 ladies), and I am in the process of finding relevant materials for the ladies to dive into. Please pray as I look for the materials that God would want me to use, for the ladies who are going to be involved to be encouraged and to grow stronger in their walks with the Lord as well as be an accountability to each other for studying the word of God. I will share more details as things unfold. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The AGC Baby Centre is in the process of beginning a children’s home, the name of which is going to be AGC Nyumbani ya Tumaini, or Africa Gospel Church Home of Hope. This home will be for our older/un-adoptable children. The Africa Gospel Church has sent missionaries Pius and Evelyn to be the parents of this home. Please pray for not only Pius and Evelyn but also for all of the details of the home to fall into place and for the children who will be a part of this family. For right now it will be located in one of the duplex homes on the Baby Centre compound. The plan for the future is to build a home in Salgaa.
I want to thank each of you for being such an important part of this ministry. I could not be here without the sacrifices that each of you have made in praying and giving of your time and resources. My part here at the AGC Baby Centre entails a variety of things from helping feed kids, reading to them, working with them on crawling/sitting/walking, playing games, helping with homework, helping the kids to learn Bible verses, teaching them how to use a hula hoop, working in the closets, doing what I can to help wherever I am needed. It is a joy to watch as the kids show their creativity in turning a hula hoop into a car, and a cardboard box into a house. I was even told the other day that one of the kids was watching one of the grounds guys and the child began pretending their hula hoop was a lawn mower and he was walking back and forth as though he was cutting the grass. I feel blessed that God asked me to come here and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Are you interested in being a part of this ministry? Feel free to contact me or you can go to the following website to give online:  Do you feel God calling you to serve Him? Check out and find opportunities for you to serve all over the world to all the different nations. Would you like more frequent updates? Check out the links below for my Facebook and blog accounts.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WBS Update from Dr. John Neihof

Dear Friends,
 "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!" 
Mark Twain
   The accelerator is on the floor! The clock is ticking fast! Wesley Biblical Seminary is moving forward.
      The few weeks that I have spent on the ground at WBS have been eventful. My energies have been targeted toward filling vacant positions with dedicated people who will advance the mission of WBS within the budgetary constraints of the institution.
     The Board of Trustees of Wesley Biblical Seminary appointed me to serve as President elect of WBS on May 18, 2013.  Since then, I have commuted from my home in Jackson, Kentucky to Jackson, Mississippi for 3 round trips to assemble faculty, staff, and administrative team. On June 28, my wife, Beth, and I will move to Jackson, Mississippi. July 1, 2013, I will assume the Presidency.  
     The Trustees have been very helpful and supportive to me as I am learning to do my job here!  That faculty and staff have been incredibly supportive. God is performing miracles.  We are having spontaneous prayer and praise moments with frequent shouts of "Hallelujah!" We celebrate every miracle-small and great-and we are seeing them daily!
     Provost Tommy McKnight is saving WBS money on one hand, and raising money through sales of capital assets on the other. Karl and Becky Luman are heroically serving as right and left arm to me! Abby Purkey and Pam Thornton are keeping my schedule straight and helping me to communicate with you! Leigh Thomas is teaching us the financial ropes.  Matt Friedeman, Steve Blakemore, and Gary Cockerill are encouraging me daily with visits, prayers, and optimism for our future!
     We are contacting prospective students, and hearing back from them. At least 8 returning students have verbally committed to returning to WBS for the Fall term. We are promoting a on-line scholarshipped Masters of Arts for national pastors in the two-thirds world! This on-line MA will reach from Jackson, MS to Kenya and even Papua New Guinea. More information will be forthcoming! Be certain, we will need your help to fund this program! WBS is investing in Kingdom Business-the Biggest Business of ALL!
John & Beth at their Quiet Place in KY
John & Beth at their 
Quiet Place in Kentucky
     Faculty, staff, and administration are embracing what some thought to be  impossible. But GOD! Pray for us. Decisions are coming at us hard and fast. Our team needs wisdom. The seminary needs God's anointing and blessing. The world needs the message of holiness as it is lived out in a heart beating in time with the Divine.
     Thank you for loving and supporting Wesley Biblical Seminary!
In Christ,
JNeihof sig
Dr. John E. Neihof, Jr.
President Elect   
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