New Connections and a Bright Future for WDA Africa
Nairobi 2017 finished Friday with the commissioning of 5 new staff, including new country directors for Congo and Ethiopia. Yesterday, those who are still here drove through Nairobi National Park featuring giraffes, one flustered ostrich, and a big lion fresh off her kill.
The conference I think far exceeded everyone’s expectations. Our 13 African associates connected exceptionally well with each other and our 13 American staff and volunteers, promising to pray for each other and to work together whenever possible. I was thrilled to see them think more strategically about WDA and begin to see it as a truly continental movement.
A few fun highlights from the week!
I bought 13 kindle fires and uploaded ALL our WDA content (bible studies, books, articles, teaching outlines, workbooks, etc) plus a small library of kindle books for their training and personal reading. The response was very gratifying! And more than one of them stayed up til 2AM reading the rest of the week!*I bought 13 kindle fires and uploaded ALL our WDA content (bible studies, books, articles, teaching outlines, workbooks, etc) plus a small library of kindle books for their training and personal reading. The response was very gratifying! And more than one of them stayed up til 2AM reading the rest of the week!
We had a very honoring “roast” for Ken, who started the international ministry 20+ years ago. We shared funny Ken stories and had a time to pray for him as he begins to step back and I take on more leadership. He was also very affirming of me to the guys in my new role.
Having Dan Horne, the chairman of the board there was a godsend, especially as our teams broke into country groups and developed strategic plans for nationalizing their ministries. He brought a lot of good business sense as well as a deep pastoral heart for the men.
It was so fun to have my dad Paul Harkness with me getting to know the guys, sharing a short devotional Friday morning, and then traveling with our group to the safari on Saturday. Of course everyone loved him and it was gratifying to come back with him to Kenya, the first place in Africa I visited with him back when I was in high school!
Restoring Your Heart leader, Nancy Higgins put a fire in everyone’s belly for bringing emotional restoration to their countries. Tanzania, Congo, and Ethiopia are ready to roll as soon as possible! Kenya is planning go through the work books as a team immediately.
I heard literally dozens of testimonies about how God had changed the lives of our staff and the people they minister to through WDA and how this week represented a new page in the history of WDA for them. They are going back home with new materials, a fresh passion, and a clearer vision for how to develop disciple-making movements in their communities and nations.
There are SO many other fun and significant highlights. But the bottom line is this: We connected with God and with each other this week. That was my biggest goal and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Now its off to Zambia! More on that to come!
In August, 2012 Worldwide Discipleship Association partnered with AMC bible college in Lubumbashi, Congo to train over 200 pastors in and lay leaders in basic disciple-making methods. We found in the Congo a passionate group of believers deeply immersed in a spiritual battle with very little training. The task of intentionally creating a disciple-making culture was recognized by many leaders as one of the greatest need for the church in the Congo. As WDA continues to train Congolese leaders, we hope to see growing numbers of pastors and lay leaders equipped to disciple younger believers in grow to Christlike maturity.
As soon as I finished teaching the second seminar we hopped in a taxi for the twenty minute ride to my hotel just outside of Arusha. We got a place for me to stay and after dinner I crashed. Teaching six days in a row after flying 24 hours took the stuffing out of me. Dickson had me scheduled to teach in his church the next day, so I got up early to go over my message, then headed to the church. I was glad that after lunch at church I was able to go back to the room and rest for a bit.
I’ve had a lot of ugali (thick grits) and beef gravy while I’ve been here. It’s really good, but a little messy. You pull off part of the ugali and form it into a ball with a hole partially though it, then you dip it into the gravy and eat it. The pastors and I had a good laugh at Betty the first time she tried eating gravy with her hands. She had it dripping halfway to her elbow, but she got the hang of it really fast.
The pastors in the third seminar have had more schooling than the other two groups, so I didn’t have to do as much explaining and we were able to go a little faster. On the second day one of the men stood up and told the pastors he had been in my seminar in ’97 and how much it has meant in his life and ministry these past 15 years. He encouraged the pastors to listen carefully and take good notes, then to make sure they put it into practice.
The seminars are over, now I will be meeting with some of the men who were in my previous seminars and the man who will translate our material into Swahili. Thanks for praying me through this trip. I’ll hop on a plane on Saturday and arrive home on Sunday. Ken
Read the other Diary Entries
Please Continue to Pray for WDA, Ken and especially the people who have received training in Disciple Building. WDA is having an impact Worldwide through our staff and leaders around the world.
As soon as I finished teaching the first seminar we hopped on a bus and traveled to Maji Ya Chai. That means ‘Water Like Tea’ in Swahili. It’s a good name because the water is as brown as tea and the peoples’ teeth are stained the same color. You can always tell if someone is from this area, or if there is a stranger in their midst.
I spent quite a bit of time talking to Greggory MFinanga, a layman who attended the seminar. Greggory is a really huge guy who is in a wheelchair that’s like a tricycle. The pedals are up at shoulder height and he propels himself around using his arms (which are as big as my thighs). It would be hard enough to get around on paved roads, I don’t know how he does it in all this dirt.
Greggory was excited to find out that he has been discipling young men without even knowing it! He has a couple of small groups that meet regularly and he said they are growing in Christ-like character. Greggory can read English, so I gave him a CD with our Phase II Bible Studies on it. He is looking forward to teaching the Bible Studies and putting all his other material together in an organized way.
Charles’ pastors’ group has been a fun group to teach. I could spend the rest of my life in this area. They are so needy and eager to learn and they have really caught the vision. The problem is to get our Phase II Bible Studies translated into Swahili. Dickson knows a man who can do the translating for just $3 a page. I hope to meet with him when we’re in Arusha for the next seminar. Be praying with me that we can get the finances to help these pastors out.
At 2:00 on Saturday I’ll be on a plane, headed for Detroit and my final destination of Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. Pastor Nnko, our Associate staff in Tanzania for almost twenty years, was a prolific church planter before he died in 2012. Nnko began almost 25 churches and each one is pastored by one of his disciples. He named the churches all ‘Grace Evangelical Church’ because he thought that was a cool name!
Dickson Lazier is one of his disciples. Dickson pastors the church in Arusha, which was built by a group of men from our church here in Fayetteville. I’ll be teaching three seminars for Nnko’s disciples since they are like sheep without a shepherd since he died. I hope to re-focus their vision on helping their people to grow in Christ-like character.
Please be praying for Dickson and Pastor Charles Sengasu as they coordinate the seminars and for health and strength for me.