WDA South America: A Cross-Cultural Missions Story

In 2021, WDA Brazil experienced incredible growth in local church partnerships. WDA Disciple Builder Fernando Frincu traveled the country sharing the importance of discipleship and worked on two online conferences in Brazil about discipleship and emotional restoration.

Fernando has also begun translating WDA materials into Portuguese so Portuguese speakers worldwide can disciple and be discipled using a Biblical step-by-step curriculum.

“I am Romanian and have lived in Brazil as a missionary for the last 18 years.

We planted a church (the Presbyterian church of Rio Tinto) in Northeast Brazil where I have been the lead pastor. In February, I preached about missions in some churches in Ceará (three weeks in a row) and we added three churches to our list of supporters. I’m also working on writing a book together with Mr. Jack Larson (WDA USA). We are serving God for the advancement of His Kingdom, preaching, teaching, discipling, and training others for the Lord’s service.”

Fernando is a WDA Disciple Builder in Brazil

 

WDA North America: A Next Gen Story

WDA’s Next Generation campus ministry got a big facelift in 2021, and a brand new internship program at DePauw University and Reinhardt University. Student ministry training is in full swing at Purdue University. The next generation of disciple makers is hungry for Jesus, and passionate about having a real impact on those around them!

“Our motto for our outreaches is: “A party with a purpose!” We want the kids to bring their friends, have fun, AND hear about how much God loves them and wants to free them from their sin.

We had a great turnout of kids for our November 2021 outreach. Kate, one of our college student leaders, gave a powerful message about trusting God during discouraging times. She used a combination of recent stories from her own life as well as scripture from the book of Job.

All eyes were focused on Kate as she shared some of her own hardships: discouragement with health issues, setbacks in her athletic career, as well as relationship struggles. This led to some deep discussions and prayers during the small group time.

We continue to see new faces at our monthly outreaches and pray that these students want to keep coming back to hear more.”

Shannon Hammond is WDA’s Next Gen Director at DePauw University.

 

 

WDA Asia: A RYH Story

In 2021, a group of leaders from Ikthus Bacolod Church in the Philippines asked WDA to take them through Restoring Your Heart groups so that they might grow, heal, and become trained to facilitate growth and healing in the Philippines.

“I have been a person who has carried a thick cloud of darkness with me.

Darkness I didn’t wish others to see or at least know. Darkness I wanted to rid myself of. Darkness I hoped, by all means, never crossed my path. Needless to say, it’s [been] one crooked journey full of tears, bitterness, countless questions, and demanding petitions.

I already have a couple of good, trusted people who so willingly shared my gloomy burdens and added a sparkle of sunshine into my life, but the decision to join Restoring Your Heart (RYH) was altogether different.

I wasn’t sure if I was ready to confront all of the pain again and lay my soul bare in front of women I barely knew. I found myself wrestling between the chasm of the awful darkness I was too ashamed to expose and the longing to resurface from the deep, and finally breathe. I wanted to be healed, but I had to prepare myself to go through the worst before I started to feel better. As the old adage goes, “Pain, no matter how unpleasant…demands to be felt.”

During the first couple of months of RYH sessions, I felt emotionally wrecked. I probably could have filled a bucket accumulating all of the tears shed. I felt like an onion being peeled layer by layer until I had laid every strip of myself at the feet of Jesus. As I confronted my ugly hurts, I also found myself stumbling into something beautiful; God’s saving Light. It shone so bright that it overcame all of the darkness within me! His forgiveness found me and taught me to release the same forgiveness to the person I find the hardest to forgive: myself.

You see, it’s hard to forgive someone who has gravely offended you, but even harder if you have not forgiven yourself, and hardest if you haven’t yet accepted the forgiveness bestowed upon you by Jesus.

I am Therese Faith Tanista. Flawed, Forgiven, Free.”

WDA Africa: A Leadership Institute Story

In September 2021, WDA Disciple Builders Akim Dalyop, Dr. Prince Oteng-Boateng, and Nate Harkness delivered leadership training to Ghana Evangelistic Committee (GEC), presenting WDA’s Leadership Institute platform and Christ’s disciple building approach. There were around 150 leaders at this conference from different denominations. GEC is now rolling out a multi-year approach via Leadership Institute cohort groups to systematically and progressively train their evangelical leaders across the country of Ghana and equip them to make disciples who disciple.

“I really want to thank God for using Worldwide Discipleship Association (WDA), my discipleship mentor, boss, and friend Nate Harkness, as well as the team in Ghana… as well as my dear friend and brother (the big kahuna) from Canada, Dr. Prince Charles Oteng-Boateng, for the support, opportunity, and encouragement to minister in Ghana.

I took 15 days leave from my work in Nigeria to do what I love the most in the world: discipleship & leadership training for a team of wonderful national, interdenominational church leaders in Ghana. [This included] pastors, teachers, apostles, evangelists, and prophets. This perhaps is one of the greatest highlights of my year. Thanks to those I’m discipling; particularly Jonathan Simon for traveling all the way to Lagos to ship out thousands of our discipleship materials to Ghana. The Lord bless and keep you.”

Akim Dalyop is the Director of WDA Nigeria.

 

The Power of Discipleship: A Life in Prison to a Life in Christ

My name is Morgan Padgett. I am 35 years old, originally from Dalton GA.

I was raised in church and come from a long lineage of believers. At the age of 12, I had my first spiritual breakthrough – everyone in the youth group was going to the altar and praising God. Something made me want to go and join them (the Holy Spirit!), so I did. It was the first time I ever truly worshipped God wholeheartedly. But after this happened to me, the enemy really started filling my head with the whisper of his lies.

“You’re alone.” “You’re different.” “You don’t fit in with these people.” Eventually, I started believing it all.

By the age of 13, I began using drugs heavily. I had been suffering from the pain of my parents’ divorce from a young age. That hurt, coupled with the lies that the enemy loves to whisper, are the reasons why I started using drugs so early. I was trying to escape and be accepted by a new group of peers through social drug use. I wanted to be one of the cool kids, and I’m telling you – I was. I thought I had found the group that I belonged in, once again believing another one of the enemies lies. Eventually, the drug use turned into dealing. Which turned into a life of crime. And then prison. So much for being one of the cool kids.

I struggled with addiction for 20 years.

But they say that when a man comes to the end of himself, that’s where he meets Jesus. This applies to me.

The last time I went to prison, something changed. I was tired. I was broken. I finally wanted something different. I was sitting in my cell, and my bunkmate just started talking to me about God and how he believes in Jesus. All these old memories began flooding my mind, and I picked up a Bible, and I started reading about Jesus in the book of John. I read for the whole day. Sitting right there in that bunk in Jackson State Prison, I rededicated my life to Jesus. I finally felt like a new and happy life was attainable.

After a yearlong prison sentence, I began searching for a place to go where I wouldn’t be subjected to the things I had been involved in before. I decided to go to A Better Way Ministries, an 18-month men’s discipleship program for men with life-controlling issues. The perfect place for a man like me who was looking literally for “a better way”! ABW’s mission is to disciple men for the Kingdom of God, and they do an excellent job. The program is strictly based on the teachings of the Bible and the love of Jesus Christ.

Part of my journey through ABW included a men’s Restoring Your Heart group offered by WDA called ‘Processing Pain. The group helped me and the other men learn how to safely process a lot of the pain and trauma that we had experienced in our lifetime, and find the roots of our addictions. What I really liked about RYH was that everyone in our group had some sort of pain that they were trying to work through in a healthy way, and we were helping each other (whether we knew it or not) by honestly sharing our deepest hurts. It takes true courage to be vulnerable enough to let others in. But the way that the lessons progressed helped us unlock the trauma and be free. My old life is dead and gone, and I am a new creation in Christ!

Because of the freedom and joy I’ve experienced as I’ve learned how to think, feel, and act more like Jesus, it’s made me want to devote my life to discipling other men. Once imprisoned, now impassioned to set people free!

In January of 2022, I joined Worldwide Discipleship Association’s Disciple Builder Ministry Internship to continue maturing and become fully equipped as a disciple maker. Since coming on board with WDA, I have received a fresh wind of energy, confirming that I am on the path that God has for my life. I’ve also been under constant attack from the evil one, but now I am familiar with his tactics and I am up to the fight because I know the truth and whose side I’m on.

I am excited to become trained in WDA’s Life Coaching so that I can mentor men one on one and help them grow. I am currently in my second RYH men’s group, called ‘Understanding Emotions’ and I am excited to see even more layers of transformation in me and my brothers as we obediently walk this journey together. And eventually I will be trained by WDA to facilitate RYH groups as well. I am part of a one-year Developing New Leaders cohort group so I can become a healthy and effective leader and disciple maker.

It fills me with joy to know that I will be able to take what I learn at WDA back to the men in the A Better Way program and help them grow and transform in Jesus Christ, just as I have.

I’m praying that the Lord will use me to help build disciples for the Kingdom of God through everything that I will be learning from Sean and Buddy here at WDA. I not only want to go and make disciples but also teach them to obey the commands that He has given us (Matthew 28:19-20). I want the men whose lives I impact to do the same, as well, so that we can all fulfill Christ’s mission: the Great Commission!

WDA’s New Disciple Builder Internship

If you are interested in becoming trained like Morgan to impact your church or community through discipleship, contact WDA to inquire about the 2-year Disciple Builder Ministry Internship or other training opportunities.